Taking up hula hooping in 2013 was the catalyst for a number of beneficial changes to my lifestyle. The physical changes that that making healthy choices has had has been astounding. My energy levels have rocketed. My skin which was previously tired, dull, and prone to rashes and spots is glowing and clear.
In addition to a sensible, realistic and balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep, I have found 5 healthy superstar products that have become essential parts of my day. I recommend them to anyone who needs to support their body to help cope with the rigours and demands of hula hooping!
Fresh lemon squeezed into warm water
If you can make your first drink in the morning 1/2 a lemon squeezed into a glass of warm water, you are doing an amazing thing for your body. Firstly, after 8 hours without any hydration, drinking water is replenishing in itself. Adding lemon gives you the following health benefits:
- Lemon juice stimulates your liver to help flush toxins out of your body
- It contains pectin fibre, which can help you lose weight by fighting hunger cravings
- Lemons are an excellent source of potassium, which supports you brain and nerve functions, as well as supports a healthy heart.
- They are full of vitamin C, which supports your immune system. This can be one of the first things to take a hit when you are under stress, so take care of yourself.
- Lemon water first thing in the morning can help to cut your caffeine intake, as the energy boost and mood lift from a fresh lemon drink can lift you as much or more than a caffeine hit, but without a caffeine crash later on.
Try mixing it with freshly grated ginger, honey, or cayenne, or a handful or fresh mint! As lemon juice is highly acidic, brush your teeth before drinking, otherwise wait 30mins - 1hr afterwards to brush your teeth to help prevent acid erosion.
Spirulena is a blue-green algae powder you can find in health food shops. It provides a concentrated source of protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. And it smells and tastes like pond scum! However, a table spoon mixed in a smoothie is a great way to get the benefits without having to taste it.
- Spirulea is an excellent and rich source of nutrients and antioxidants such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, selium, zinc, and vitamins C, E and B-Complex.
- It is 65-70% complete protein!
- it contains 18 essential amino, nucleic and essential fatty acids, chlorophyll, and a full spectrum of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- It has no cellulose wall, which means it is highly digestible.
- Nucleic acids support cell renewal and anti-ageing
- High levels of protein and amino acids, spirulina help the body to fight infection, and support growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Some studies have indicated that spirulena may not be suitable for people with autoimmune diseases as it can aggravate symptoms.
Both fresh and powdered turmeric have the main component curcumin which is said to have healing properties, but it is important to note that although preliminary studies have indicated health benefits, it is no magic cure, and most of these are preliminary studies performed in a laboratory, and not in humans. Much more research is needed into the possible benefits.
Tumeric has been found to attack oespohagal cancer cells in a 2009 study in Ireland, it could delay the onset of cirrhosis,and has been the subject of numerous studies which suggest it can block the formation of the beta-amyloid plaques that get in the way of brain function in Alzheimer's disease.Researchers in Nottingham and Munich in 2011 found that curcumin could be helpful in treating painful inflammatory conditions, such as tendonitis and arthritis.
Coconut water is the liquid you find inside young, green coconuts. Widely available in supermarket, although not cheap at £2.50 -£3.50 per litre!
It is low in calories, low in fat and contains high doses of important vitamins and minerals - although it is worth noting that the calories it does have - around 20kcal
per 100ml - come fom sugar.
Coconut water contains high levels of potassium (190mg to 250mg per 100ml), which is vital for keeping the brain, nerves, heart and muscles in tip top condition.
After a hooping session or a workout, it is perfect for rehydration as it replenishes the electrolytes (sodium ad potassium) lost through sweating. And it tastes great! It is even better with fersk lemon or pineapple juice.
Epsom Salt baths
I take a bath with Epsom salts 2-3 times a week. A mug of salts in a hot bath, sometimes with a splash of cider vinegar, and it relaxes my aching muscles so much, and leaves my skin so soft. Ithey are something i now make time for every week. Why Epsom salts?
Epsom is different than traditional salts in that it is a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. They have amazing detoxifying properties, and as your body draws in the magnesium from the salts, the toxins and excess fluids are drawn out from your body. They are said to help reduce water retention tummy bloating. I just know that when I am aching after a long day hooping, and epsom salt bath makes me feel floaty and rejuvenated.
To boost the detoxifying effect, you can brush you skin with a body rush before taking the bath. Stay in for at least 20 minutes for the best effect.
They can also be used as a salt scrub for your face and body, mixed with a little olive or coconut oil.
It might seem like a lot to build into an already busy day, but you soon get into a routine and start to crave it! I do it like this:
- Warm lemon with water in the morning (although I cheat! I love proper tea so much, I always have a mug of tea first thing - sometimes two! - and my lemon in water when I start work)
- A Nutribullet smoothie mid morning which contains turmeric and spirulena (along with spinach, banana, kiwi/cranberries/strawberries/hazelnuts/linseeds/water)
- I take coconut water with me to the gym or hooping events, to rehydrate me if hooping or working out
- Every other night I take an Epsom salts bath if it fits in with home life and studying - if I leave it 3 or 4 days before having one, I can really feel the stiffness in my muscles build up and start to really look forward to it!
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