Top 10 tips for healthy living

New and unusual ways to stay healthy


1 Drink herbal water
Gabriele Kurz, German, resort wellbeing chef at Madinat Jumeirah ‘Herbal or fruit waters are very good for cooling, hydrating and for cleansing. Fresh herbs are full of chlorophyll, vitamins and minerals which help our cells absorb oxygen. To make herbal water, add 10 to 15 sprigs of fresh aromatic herbs or fruit (from the list below), washed and cleaned, to two litres of cold, still spring water in a bottle or carafe. Keep the bottle or carafe closed for at least six hours or a maximum of 48 hours in the fridge, and serve cold.’

Basil: An antioxidant and stimulant.
Rosemary: This helps to wake up the system.
Lemongrass: Has an anti-ageing effect, as well as promoting good digestion and cooling the body.
Mint: Cooling, aids digestion and breathing. This was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach aches and chest pains.
Geranium: Has antioxidant properties.
Raspberries: Contain significant amounts of polyphenol antioxidants – chemicals linked to promoting endothelial and cardiovascular health.
Lime leaf: Helps tension headaches and has a stimulating effect on the lymphatic and digestive system.
Thyme: Anti-bactericide, cleansing for the skin. Also supports digestion.
Sage: Energising, boosts detoxification.
Honey: A calming anti-bactericide.
Lavender: Calming, supports relaxation and good sleep, rejuvenating for the skin.
Blackcurrant: Rejuvenating, as well as anti-ageing.
Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road (04 406 8999)

2 Read the labels
Leena Al Abbas, Emirati, founder of Zen Beauty Lounge, the UAE’s first eco-friendly organic salon
‘From coal tar in hair dyes to formaldehyde in nail varnishes, the average woman absorbs about 60 per cent of what she puts on her skin and is exposed to as many as 175 chemicals from her beauty products every day, which can cause conditions as mild as skin irritation or as serious as cancer. Always read the ingredients on product labels and opt for natural toxic-free organic products. Better still, mix your own products at home. There are thousands of natural home-made recipes online. The same applies to products used in homes. Go green for your family’s health and for the environment.’
Zen Beauty Lounge, Discovery Gardens (04 434 3017)

3 All-natural tips
Dr Deepa Dhavjekar, ayurvedic health expert at Thai Privilege Spa
‘Here are my green tips to solve many common ailments as well as beautify.’
Indigestion: Dissolve a couple of small pieces of asafetida (an Indian and Iranian herb) in a half cup of water and drink to find relief from gas and for better digestion.
Complexion: Drink white radish and carrot juice at least twice a week to ensure a blemish-free complexion. They contain vitamin A and also act as diuretics, flushing out toxins from the system.
Coughs: Even long-standing coughs can be helped by constantly chewing cloves. Adding clove oil to a glass of hot milk will also help.
Dandruff: Take two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds and soak them overnight in water, then grind the softened seeds. Leave the paste on the scalp for 30 minutes.
Headaches: Chase away joint and headache pain with cherries. Enjoy 20 cherries (fresh or frozen) daily and you will find your pain disappearing. Anthocyanins, the compounds that gives cherries their bright red colour, carry anti-inflammatory properties that are stronger than ibuprofen and aspirin.
Thai Privilege Spa, Umm Suqeim (04 348 9679)

4 Enjoy healthy treats
Annie Schwick, British, Fitness supervisor at Dubai Ladies Club
‘For a sweet low-calorie treat, put six grapes in the freezer. They are mainly comprised of water, so they freeze and taste like sorbet. Also, 10 minutes of skipping burns the same amount of calories as a 30-minute jog.’
Dubai Ladies Club, Jumeirah (04 349 9922)

5 Stop ageing
Kavisara Boontrakarn, Thai, therapist at The Westin
Heavenly Spa

‘At the first signs of your skin ageing, use products containing vitamin C (for an exfoliating action and to help stimulate collagen and elastin), and vitamin E (a powerful anti-oxidant that moisturises the skin). Products that contain anti-oxidants such as these will help to fight off those free radicals that cause these changes in the dermis of your skin. Turmeric spice is also an anti-oxidant, so add a little to your dinner or put a little in your moisturiser.’
Heavenly Spa, The Westin Dubai (04 511 7901)

6 Unusual hair care
Rhey, Filipino, spa therapist at Saray Spa
‘Instead of using a commercial conditioner, use mayonnaise or aloe-vera gel.’
Saray Spa, Marriott Harbour Hotel, Dubai Marina (04 319 4000)

7 Apply carefully
Emy Cortez, Filipino, spa supervisor at The Ritz Carlton Spa
‘When you (men and women!) apply eye cream or eye gel, always use your ring finger and move from the outside to the inside of your eye. This will promote a lymphatic drainage effect. The ring finger also has the lightest pressure, so you won’t cause unwanted lines on the delicate skin.’
The Ritz Carlton Spa, Dubai Marina (04 318 6184)

8 Meditate
Alex Hurt, British, director of operations at SensAsia Urban Spa
‘With summer gone, the busy working day returns. Need to train your brain to relax and take your mind off whatever it’s preoccupied with? Lie down comfortably in a quiet room (that means away from kids, husbands, flatmates or pets). Lie on your back and elevate your knees by putting a pillow underneath. Take three deep breaths (in through the nose and out through the mouth). It’s really important you breathe
from your tummy. Now contract and relax each muscle of your body three times (I’m not kidding), starting from your little toe all the way up the right side of the body up to the head, then down the left-hand side. While you do this, concentrate on your breathing. I guarantee that when you’ve completed this ‘meditation marvel’, you’ll feel a million miles away and your thoughts will become clearer.’
SensAsia Urban Spas, various locations including The Palm Jumeirah (04 422 7115)

9 One workout, total fitness
Jonathan Clayton, 29, British, personal trainer

‘If I had to choose one tool for training, I’d take a kettlebell. All you need is a single kettlebell to get a fantastic workout – their versatility never ceases to amaze me. Start by incorporating the basics into your workout: the kettlebell swing (which involves squatting, bringing the kettlebell under your legs and then standing up and bringing your arms out straight in front of you, then repeating). This is probably one of the finest posterior chain exercises: it works the hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae and core better than any exercise out there, and it provides a high-quality level of cardio fitness. It can be argued that, considering all its health and performance benefits, the kettlebell swing could be the only exercise you need do at all.’
Jonathan’s classes run in Safa Park at 5.30pm and 6.30pm on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Dhs800 for 12 sessions. (050 285 8346)

10 Banish your pot belly
Lily Mueller, Dutch, nutritionist and colon hydrotherapist at Dubai Herbal & Treatment Centre
‘A pot belly (bloating) is not the result of overeating, but is actually caused by an inflamed small intestine. This could be due to hidden food intolerances – you can get this checked out by doing a food intolerance test. Also, have a tummy massage (massage of the small and large intestine) on a regular basis to encourage better digestion, easier elimination, a reduction of constipation, and toning of the muscles of the abdominal wall. Many of your emotions are stored in the small intestine, so massaging of these organs also enhances concentration and reduces emotional stress, as well as helping to banish fatigue and depression.’
For food allergy tests, try Dubai Herbal & Treatment Centre, Oud Metha (04 335 1200)

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