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Try the winter vitality diet

smiling woman with mug - The winter vitality diet - Diets & weight loss - Diet & wellbeing -

See page 2 for your seven-day winter vitality diet eating plan

Winter can wreak havoc with your energy levels, skin and waistline, but the right foods can restore your natural glow and vitality - and help you drop a dress size.

We all know that feeling in winter, when you lack the energy to do anything; your skin is so dry that no amount of rich moisturiser seems to be enough - and your waistband feels increasingly tighter. Well, help is at hand from nutritionist Karen Fischer, author of 'The Healthy Skin Diet' (Rodale, £12.99), who has compiled this seven-day healthy eating plan, which promotes not only greater energy and glowing skin, but also helps you lose up to 5lb in a week. What more could you want?!

"A winter diet often causes a build-up of acid in the body, and when this happens your red blood cells alter in shape, clump together and can die prematurely," says Karen. "Your skin can be the first thing to be affected, but you'll also feel lethargic as your blood isn't supplying enough oxygen around your body. In time this can lead to chronic metabolic acidosis - a condition that eventually causes bone and muscle loss, general fatigue, Candida albicans, hard-to-shift weight, frequent colds, low immunity, bad breath and premature ageing."

Karen believes that to maintain a healthy acid/alkaline balance, it's essential to eat fruit and veg daily, up your intake of alkaline foods and decrease the amounts of sugar and white flour products that you consume. Karen adds: "In the winter, cold weather can also contribute to wrinkles and dry skin. But the good news is that this healthy plan can help restore hydration and glowing skin, while also delivering more energy and better immunity."

According to Karen's research, people with extensive skin wrinkling and premature ageing regularly consume sugary products - biscuits, soft drinks and ice cream - along with processed meats, cow's milk, butter and margarine. "So that ham and cheese sandwich, washed down with a sweet latte or soft drink, could be sabotaging your skin and your health right now," she says.

And if you feel generally rundown and lacking in energy the last thing you should be doing is reaching for the sugar and carbs. "In fact, research has found that people with greater energy and younger-looking skin consume more fish, olive oil, vegetables and legumes.

Our Winter Vitality Diet begins with a three-day alkalising cleanse to promote a healthier pH balance. These alkaline-forming foods not only help to keep your blood and tissue pH healthy, they also bind to - and help safely remove - a range of toxins from your body. The eating plan then goes on to incorporate quality protein foods that supply amino acids for firmer skin and which are also converted into hormones (such as adrenaline) or used as an energy source. Protein is also an appetite suppressant.

Alkalising food

Cider vinegar
Dark leafy greens
Green beans
Sweet potatoes
Vegetable juices (freshly made)
Plus supplements, including liquid chlorophyll, barley grass and wheatgrass, and green drinks. Although lemons, grapefruit and cider vinegar are acidic, once they're digested and broken down by your body, they become alkaline.

Eat yourself younger

An important anti-ageing antioxidant that's created by your body is glutathione, which helps to protect you from the free radicals produced when you breathe oxygen. Boost your glutathione levels by eating flavonoid-rich fruits, such as blueberries, red grapes and oranges, and pile your plate with at least five servings of vegetables daily.

Seven healthy eating rules

1. Consume alkalising foods and drinks, including Green Water (1 glass filtered water mixed with 1-2tsp low-strength liquid chlorophyll). And look after your gut health with foods that promote ‘friendly' bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, such as green apples, leafy greens and garlic.

2. Drink 2 litres of filtered water daily, including Green Water, and herbal teas such as dandelion root and ginger with lemon.

3. Eat ‘moisturising' foods. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that flaxseed oil can help boost skin hydration and decrease skin roughness and fine lines. Flaxseed oil and seeds, walnuts and fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, so include two servings of fish each week plus a daily dose of flaxseed oil. Try the Omega Salad Dressing (3tbsp flaxseed oil, 3tbsp mild cider vinegar, ½tsp minced garlic and 2tbsp real maple syrup or honey). Use 1tbsp daily on salads.

4. Eat less. Consuming less boosts your melatonin levels, which stimulates the production of the anti-ageing substance glutathione. But you don't have to count calories. The easiest way to reduce your calorie intake is to use a standard size dinner plate and fill half of it with salad or cooked vegetables. The other half of your plate is for a small serving of protein (about the size and thickness as the palm of your hand) as well as a small serving of wholegrain carbohydrates. Avoid second helpings and skip dessert. If you're yearning for a shot of sugar, eat a piece of potassium-rich fruit such as a banana, mango or papaya.

5. Be a sleeping beauty. When you sleep, your body releases hormones, including anti-ageing melatonin, so aim for eight to nine hours every night. Try to get an early night, as skin repair most commonly occurs between 10pm and 2am.

6. Work up a sweat for 15 minutes each day. Exercise increases your energy levels, while perspiration contains lysozyme, an enzyme that helps fight bacteria and flushes microbes from the surface of your skin.

7. Avoid health saboteurs. For the next seven days, avoid junk food, tea, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, processed meats, dairy products and artificial additives. You'll see enough difference in your skin to make the changes permanently. 

See page 2 for your seven-day winter vitality diet eating plan

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