Body: Full Body MOT (Part I)

   Health and wellbeing consists not just of eating well and getting the balance between rest and activity- it also involves taking care of our bodies. To use the analogy of car maintenance- the better we maintain our car- the better the car will perform. If we make sure our car is regularly cleaned- inside and out; the oil is changed regularly; the windscreens are clear, they are filled with fuel and are serviced regularly; we repair all the bumps, scrapes and scratches before rust sets in; we will improve the chances of its optimum performance. Let?s make a whistle stop tour of our bodies: this month we will focus on top to toe health: considering ways we can better care for our hair, skin and eyes. April?s article will complete the MOT by focusing on the care of our teeth, hand, nails and feet.

It goes without saying that good nutrition will be evident in the condition and outward appearance of our bodies. Our skin, hair and nails are made up of strong fibrous proteins: keratin and collagen which need to be replenished with supplies of the essential nutrients. Antioxidants particularly Vitamin C and zinc can improve the condition and strength of skin, hair, nails and gums. Protein has been essential in improving immune system health; preventing premature ageing and strengthening skin, hair and nails.

Essential fatty acids, particularly omega 3 are important nutrients in improving the circulation. Vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, eyes, skin and growth. Avoid taking excess Vitamin A as it is stored in the liver, causing serious side effects and damage. Vitamin D, made by the action of sunlight on the skin, is important for absorbing phosphorus and calcium in the body and the formation of strong teeth and healthy bones. B Vitamins, iron and zinc are all critical to the health of body cells, circulation, nerves and immune system. An improvement in the intake of water will provide overall health benefits to the body by hydrating the skin and improving the metabolism.

Hair care
We have an average of 100,000 hair follicles which go through cycles of growth and rest during the course of their lifespan. We shed approximately 50-100 hairs every day. During the summer, hair growth increases by 10% as the circulation improves the blood supply to our scalp. Almost one quarter of the hair strand consists of water, ensuring that that it is supple.

A routine for washing, conditioning and maintaining the hair is dependent on the genetic make up colour, length, thickness and texture of hair. Tips for optimum hair care include: washing it regularly to keep it clean and reduce the build up of hair products which can impact on scalp health; avoid over processing with heat, chemicals used for dyes and perms; over handling of the hair through excessive brushing, combing and tugging the strands can damage follicles. Drinking plenty of water will improve the circulation to follicles and rehydrate the scalp.

Skin care
The skin is the largest organ of the body with important functions of the protection and removal of waste and toxic products from the body. Our skin is also responsible for regulating our body temperature and providing essential information on touch and pain.

Keep the skin clean by following a good daily skincare regime for face and body of washing, showers and baths to remove the effects of sweat, environmental factors and general wear and tear. Our skin type will influence the cleansing products we use, however it is important that the skin is nourished and moisturised to minimise any damage. Sensitive skins will benefit from hypoallergenic and perfume free products.

Contrary to popular myths which suggest that dark skins are immune from sun damage, it is important that the skin is protected from the sun damage. Avoid contact with smoking as it ages the skin. The skin benefits from any food which has demonstrable benefits on the heart and major organs. A balanced diet with adequate water, protein, nutrients and minerals will keep the skin health and protect it from ageing prematurely.

Eye care
Our eyes are considered to be the windows of the soul and caring for them as essential parts of the body which are also delicate, is important. Eyes can be affected by the stresses of modern life such as: pollution, dust, pollen, fumes from cleaning products and the use vdu screens, can take a toll on our health. If left unchecked, such environmental factors cause eyestrain and irritation.

Minimise the risk of irritation and infection by not sharing facecloths, handkerchiefs and cosmetics with others. Ensure all makeup is removed before bedtime. Leaving eye make up on overnight can lead to soreness and irritation. Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke: smokers have a higher risk of eye disease which can lead to permanent eye damage as tobacco damages the blood vessels behind the eye.

Avoid accidents to the eyes by protecting them whilst undertaking DIY activities. Ensure that you have an eye test every two years as this will identify problems associated with vision or health. Ensure that you wear appropriate glasses/lenses to improve vision and protect your eyes from sun damage.

(source: ©

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