A favourite health hack of mine is to drink a glass of warm water and lemon juice first thing every morning before I eat or drink anything else. My mum taught me this many years ago, and I’ve been doing it ever since!
Lemons are thought to help to improve your digestion, boost your liver’s bile secretion and improve the abilities of your liver’s detox enzymes. Supporting the liver is important for clear skin and overall good health.
The vitamin C in lemons act as an antioxidant to fight against free radical damage to cells, which may contribute to the ageing process.
While they can taste sour and acidic, lemons contain the alkaline minerals magnesium, potassium and calcium.
Fresh lemon juice works very well squeezed on salads and blended into smoothies and salad dressings.
One of the most tasty tropical fruits, and an important ingredient in the Green Goddess Smoothie for its sweet juiciness and health benefits. While it’s hard to beat munching on a piece of pineapple in the tropics, we’re so lucky in Ireland that they’re easily available.
The main reason that I consume pineapple regularly is for its digestive benefits. Pineapple contains a special enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down protein. Found mainly in the fruit’s stem, it’s good to eat the tougher middle part of a pineapple to reap the most benefits, and this is why is works so well blended into a smoothie. Bromelain helps to break down the protein in the food you eat, supporting the digestive process. A healthy digestive system is associated with healthier, clearer skin.
Fresh pineapple also helps to stimulate your digestive enzymes, which is why eating a few pieces of pineapple before a meal can help to boost digestion.
Studies also show that pineapple is anti-inflammatory, making it a great snack to ease post-workout muscle pain, plus it supports your immune system.
The high vitamin C content of pineapple supports your production of collagen to help produce healthy skin, and two slices contain approximately 100mg of vitamin C.
They may be only little, but berries such as strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries and raspberries, boast serious skin-boosting levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants called anthocyanins and quercetin. Together, they help to keep your skin strong, smooth and youthful, are are also thought to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
I love them on their own as a snack, as a porridge topper or look out for good-quality frozen berries when fresh aren’t as easily available, as they’re a brilliant addition to smoothies.
Apples may be a common lunchbox and fruit bowl favourite, but they also contain plentiful nutrients for healthy skin. Their high content of vitamin C help to build collagen, and their levels of copper (60 mcg in a large apple) help you to produce melanin, the pigment responsible for colour in your skin. This helps to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Melanin also helps to build healthy tissues, hair and eyes.
Small amounts of skin-brightening vitamins are also found in apples, in the form of retinoids, which help to build healthy skin.
A single apple can contribute about 5% of a woman’s daily requirements for vitamin A, which is considered by many to be the most important vitamin for healthy, youthful and clear skin. The high king of skin vitamins!
They make a healthy quick snack when chopped, sprinkled with cinnamon and spread with almond butter, and are a delicious addition to sweet and savoury dishes. Try my Apple and Blueberry Crumble for your apple fix!