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A Nutritionist's Guide To: Spring Cleansing

Spring has officially arrived. With brighter, warmer days ahead, now is the perfect time to prioritise self-care and focus on giving your mind and body a spruce ahead of summer. From nutrition to intermittent fasting and healing herbs, read on to explore five evidence-based tips for revitalising your health this season, all backed by a nutritionist.

1. Increasing your intake of whole, plant-based foods

One of the easiest tricks in the book for kickstarting your health journey is consuming more plants, which contain a wealth of fibre, water, micronutrients and phytonutrients such as polyphenols and flavonoids.

Plant-based foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and healthy oils like olive oil and coconut oil. Diets rich in plant-based foods may be linked with positive health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, reducing the risk of diabetes and facilitating health weight management, all of which contribute towards lowering your risk of heart disease.

On the flip side, paying attention to food labels and minimising your intake of heavily processed foods, such as foods with added sugar, refined grains and additives is equally important. Avoiding additives or ingredients that you are unable to pronounce is the easiest way of knowing what to avoid. If it contains high amounts of added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial colours and flavours – it is best to leave it on the supermarket shelf.

Cooking more at home and adding nourishing meals to your weekly menu like vegetable-based stir-fries and soups will help you to consume more veggies and more fruit, more often. Juicing can also be a convenient way to increase your daily intake of key nutrients, and our juice plans are the perfect place to start.

2. Incorporating intermittent fasting

The incredibly popular intermittent fasting (IF), also known as limiting your food intake to a specific time window, is not to be overlooked if you are on a mission to revamp the health of your mind and body.

From a physiological standpoint, IF makes a lot of sense – giving your body a break from eating between meals enables blood sugar levels to stabilise. Subsequently, insulin levels decrease, which triggers fat cells to release stored sugar as an energy source.

IF may be linked with a range of health benefits such as supporting weight management, reducing inflammation, lowering risk of developing chronic diseases and enhancing cognitive health. The latter benefit is thought to be due to its ability to slow down the onset of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which typically takes place as we get older and involves increased memory or thinking problems.

Popular forms of intermittent fasting include 16:8, eating during an eight-hour window and fasting for 16 hours, and 5:2 diets, where one only consumes 500 to 600 calories for two days each week and consumes a healthy, balanced diet at the appropriate calorie intake on the other days. For busy, on-the-go lifestyles, our 5:2 fasting programme is a no-brainer option to weave IF into your weekly routine. Get started here.

3. Antioxidants, antioxidants, and more antioxidants

Antioxidants are often deemed as a marketing buzzword. So, what do they actually do in our body and how can they benefit our health?

Antioxidants protect the trillion or so cells in our body from damaging free radicals, which may be capable of harming bodily cells and genetic material when present in excessive amounts. Consistently, high levels of free radicals in the body may also contribute towards oxidative stress, a process that may be associated with the onset of a multitude of chronic diseases.

Antioxidants exist in various shapes and sizes, and the most familiar forms include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and minerals such as selenium and manganese. Polyphenols, flavonoids and phenols are other compounds that act as antioxidants.

In terms of health benefits, antioxidant-rich foods may be connected to lowering risk of developing chronic diseases, boosting cognitive function and warding off age-related ailments. Including a broad range of colourful fruits and vegetables is a good starting point for increasing your daily antioxidant intake. For a flavourful and fiery shot containing 100% of your daily dose of vitamin C, give Ginger Immunity a go.

4. Supporting detoxification with herbs & spices

Toxins are ever present in our environment. Supporting the function of our liver is helpful for feeling your best as it is responsible for detoxification and neutralising toxins. Although our bodies have the built-in capacity to detoxify, there are a plethora of steps that we can incorporate on a daily basis to support strong liver function and effective detoxification.

Milk thistle is a well-renowned herb for its liver-cleansing properties owing to it being a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory qualities, and is typically available in capsule or tincture form. Turmeric is another popular herb known for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties. This is because it contains the biologically active compound, Curcumin, which gives the spice its vibrant yellow colour. Reap the health benefits of this spice on the daily with our Turmeric Defence Juice Shot.

5. Diversifying your gut microbiome

Increasing the diversity of your gut microbiome, which is composed of trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes, may lead to a range of health benefits such as supporting digestion, boosting innate immunity, and improving brain and heart health. Gut dysbiosis, or an imbalance of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microbes in the intestines, may be attributed to a wide range of diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), obesity and allergic disorders.

Promoting a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut is therefore essential for maintaining optimal health, and incorporating probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods may be one of the most effective ways to achieve this.

Probiotics, a name that literally means “for life”, may help to offset bacterial imbalances caused by environmental factors such as taking certain medications (antibiotics) and smoking. Plant-based sources of probiotic foods include sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, tempeh, kimchi and sourdough bread. For a hassle-free option, try our Gut Health Juice Shot, containing millions of live cultures to support your microbiome.

Incorporating prebiotic fibre is also key for broadening your microbiome as it serves as the fuel for beneficial bacteria to flourish. Plant-based sources of prebiotic foods include chicory, artichokes, plantain, onions, leeks and asparagus.

 

Author: Plenish Nutritionist, Katie Morley

DipNT, mBANT, mANP, CNHC

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.holsome.uk