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Let’s Talk - Ignite your Inner Sparkle

When I think of igniting my inner sparkle, I immediately conjure up images of glistening,, red strawberries, probably because red is my favourite colour, I love their flavour and texture, a because they conjure happy memories or picking them when I was child.

I suspect that we all have our own, favourite ‘happy’ foods, which you may be recalling as you read. They are the foods that make you smile, brighten you day, and give you a little lift and glow from the inside out.  

These aside, it is worth knowing about the less likely candidates that can help us to maintain an inner twinkle, by supporting our overall mental wellbeing, and positive energy flow. And what better place to start, than wholegrains. It is true that linking wholemeal bread and wholegrain pasta to happiness does not at first, feel like an intuitive fit, but roll with me on this one. Along with wholemeal pitta and wraps, brown rice, oats, and barley, they are great for fibre which travels to our gut (also known as our large intestine or colon), virtually undigested.

Waiting to greet it are billions of beneficial and probiotic bacteria. These friendly bugs get to work right away, gobbling up fibrous remains and producing, in turn, biologically active compounds, which, among other things, ramp up production of the mood-booster, serotonin and hormones that help to control appetite and hunger.  

Some of the fibre in fruits, vegetables and even seaweeds, have similar effects and when combined with lean protein from pulses, soy and eggs, fish, lower fat diary and even a little lean red meat, have been linked with improving low mood and even depression as well as evening out blood sugar and energy. Combined, these factors can help us to feel more in control, and confident in ourselves, helping our inner sparkle to shine.

Investing in the power of herbs can help this feeling grow. You may, for instance, want to benefit from the natural serotonin enhancers in St John’s Wort, or in the stress lowering compounds in Holy Basil, also known as tulsi, which Ayurvedic and Siddha medical systems have used for centuries to help lower stress. Contemporary experts in botanicals also suggest extracts from ashwagandha, to help normalise levels of anxiety hormones like cortisol to calm us down and help us to feel good.

We can build further on these natural sparkle enhancers by taking time to pamper ourselves and invest in a little self-care. Weather this takes the form of yoga, meditation, or sports, booking a massage, improving our skincare, seeing a friend, or listening to some beautiful music, all can also help to nurture our inner glow.  

What becomes clear is that with some thought and dedication to the cause, we can all take steps, starting right away, to re-ignite our inner dazzle, allowing us to shine more brightly than ever.  

Written by:  
Amanda Ursell
BSc Nutrition
Registered Nutritionist AFN
PG Dip Dietetics,  
Associateship King's College (AKC)

Twitter: @AmandaUrsell
Web: amandaursell.com

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