So I’ve decided to have a new category on the blog – Inside Out Beauty. Don’t worry I’m not going to start posting green smoothies – there are way to many people doing this well already. However I do think what you eat is so important and so closely related to beauty. My journey into green beauty came from an extension of the healthy lifestyle I’ve always tried to lead so including this on the blog makes sense. My healthy lifestyle unfortunately seems to have gone out of the window the last few years – I put this down to having a young child and juggling a busy lifestyle – as we all do. My health seems to have gone to the bottom of the pile – I don’t eat enough veg or exercise enough. Where I could quite often get away with looking younger, my age (38 last week) is definitely creeping up on me and the lines are starting to show – lack of sleep, lack of vitamins – whatever it is, it is there and I need to address it!!
I’d love to have a green juice everyday, but it just doesn’t happen so I’m looking for quick easy ways to get my healthy glow back… This time I’m talking hot water and lemon and tea!!
(milk and tea illustration from the Soil Association, lemon from free stock photos)
I’m sure many of us know that a mug of warm water and lemon is the best start to the day. I try and do this however it tends to go in phases. I do it all week and then get to Sunday so think I’ll ‘treat’ myself with a cup of builder’s tea, which then leads onto monday and tuesday with the same treat; or during the week if I’ve had a sleepless night with my daughter, hot water and lemon just doesn’t cut it!! I thought I’d look into why lemon and water is so good for you and is builder’s tea really that bad for you? One of my favourite reads at the moment is Neal’s Yard Remedies’ Eat Beautiful, so I asked Tipper Lewis, Neal’s Yard Remedies Naturopathic Herbalist for her slant on things. Tipper says that..
“Warm hot water with a generous squeeze of lemon is a great way to start the day for radiant skin, it helps the body to eliminate toxins from whilst you were sleeping, if you’re feeling brave a small pinch of cayenne added helps to improve the circulation.”
Lemon it seems is a saviour for our skin. It is very high in Vitamin C and “has astringent and antiseptic properties that can help counter the negative effects of a diet high in processed meats and saturated fats, which dull skin.” “Lemon attacks harmful gut bacteria. It aids the absorption of minerals, detoxifies and supports the liver”**
Lemons are indeed an acidic fruit due to their citric acid content, however they also contain high levels of potassium, magnesium and sodium. These minerals are actually very strongly alkaline and once inside the body they have a very alkalising effect. Our bodies like to be in an alkaline state of around PH 7.365 *** but modern diets tend to be very acidic. To try and keep in an alkaline state, our bodies will draw minerals from our reserves which can lead to deficiencies and lacklustre skin. Also overnight, our bodies have been doing all kinds of miraculous things. Our liver for example has been busy restoring, regenerating and cleansing our system, so giving it a helping hand first thing to flush all the rubbish away makes sense. We also haven’t had any hydration through the night, so a mug of warm water is the best thing to top up levels.
But tea is a mug of warm water right?! Mmm, unfortunately it is just not the same. If we’re talking English Breakfast or as it is lovingly known builder’s tea, then it will contain caffeine, which can actually have a diuretic effect i.e make you pee. If this fluid is not replaced than you can become more dehydrated. Dehydration is definitely not a good thing if it is radiant skin we’re after. Both caffeine and dairy (if you drink your tea with milk) are also considered acidic, which first thing in the morning is going to add to the body’s toxins rather than help flush away.
“Caffeine can increase the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases inflammation in the body, exacerbating skin conditions such as acne and increasing signs of premature ageing.” ** Another very valid reason to maybe not start the day with a brew. However it is that caffeine kick that sometimes we all need… or think we need first thing in the morning… I’m going to print this quote out and stick it on my teabags!!
So caffeine is coming out as a bit of a culprit, but is tea actually bad for us? Tipper says..
“All tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant, which is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. The degree of processing and fermentation of the leaves after picking affects the antioxidant levels found within the tea leaves, teas like green tea and matcha are more plentiful in these powerful antioxidants than builder’s tea, making them more potent for wellness.”
If you google tea and its health benefits, loads of things will come up. Immunity boosting, supporting the cardiovascular system, cancer fighting, free radical fighting, the list goes on.. However like Tipper says, those green teas – which do still contain caffeine to some level – are going to better for our skin health. Green tea can help improve blood flow to the skin and can also help protect against UV rays thanks to the antioxidant catechin. Matcha takes it to a higher level as it contains “10 times the antioxidant value of green tea and the highest antioxidant value of all known foods, making it supremely anti-ageing and protective against UV light.” **
I’ve just finished writing this with a builder’s tea in tow.. (after my hot water and lemon first thing this morning) but I think our days our numbered. It just makes WAY more sense to sit here with a green tea!! If I’m at home, I can drink 2 or 3 cups of ‘normal’ tea and I know I don’t then compensate with extra water – makes sense why I’m dehydrated. I like tea. I enjoy tea – although not so much now maybe. However I used to drink nothing but green tea and herbal teas, therefore I can do it again. Radiant skin here I come…
** Extra quotes taken from Eat Beautiful – such a great read if you haven’t seen it. The book tackles all kinds of skin conditions and concerns by showing and explaining what foods are great for what. It is presented in such a brilliant way too – easy to read and inspiring.
*** Source – Ross Bridgeford Alkaline diet recipe book Volume II.
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