Eat your greens, work your body and have a good laugh: in part two of our 100 New Year health tips, our panel of experts offers Barbara Stainer more advice on how to stay fit, look better and live longer

FITNESS TIPS

Matt Roberts, personal trainer to celebrities

1. Know your core strengths. Concentrate on your lower back and abdominals during all activities. Work them at the end of your routine to ensure they are fresh and able to perform their supportive role.

2. Set goals. Make them clear and achievable, whether they're short- or long-term. Short-term goals can be as simple as drinking only one cup of tea per day or two litres of water.

3. Break it up. Integrate interval training into your routine. The combination of high-intensity work followed by lower-intensity "recovery intervals" will train your cardiovascular system to recover faster, and work more effectively. From a fat-loss perspective, your average heart-rate profile for an interval session will be higher than for a similar length constant steady state session, and you'll shift more calories.

4. Drink more water. At least 1.5 litres per day. It enables the body to function more efficiently, and can aid weight loss as it helps detoxify your system. It can also help flush out retained fluids and some toxins.

5. Cut your caffeine. Drink no coffee, and no more than two cups of tea per day. Both drinks dehydrate your body. Try to replace them with herbal teas or, even better, water.

6. And your alcohol. Females should limit alcohol intake to 10 units per week; males, 12 units per week. Try giving up for six weeks; it helps the body to detox. Red wine is slightly better than white as it is less acidic, and is more likely to have antioxidant properties because of the tannins in red grapes.

7. Wheat watching. Eat only one meal per day that contains wheat products (bread and pasta). Your body can develop an intolerance for wheat, as it is eaten too often. This can cause it to produce extra toxins by way of a reaction.

8. It's better than nothing. A small amount of exercise, that is. Aside from lifestyle changes, such as walking up stairs or getting off the tube one stop early, three 30-minute-plus bouts of low intensity exercise will improve your health profile. Build up slowly: a good guideline is no more than a 10 per cent increase in intensity or volume per week. Exercise on consecutive days, work different body parts or systems, and have at least one day of rest a week.

9. Work the big bits. Focus on exercises that use large muscle groups rather than small ones as these burn more calories, such as quads, hamstrings, chest and back.

10. And stretch. Spend 10 minutes stretching at the end of a session, for better flexibility and posture. It will also help to prevent muscle pain after exercise, and create longer, leaner muscles.

Matt Roberts Fitness for Life Manual (£15.99), Matt Roberts Fat Loss Plan (VHS £12.99, DVD £16.99), Matt Roberts Home Gym (£44.99)

LONGEVITY TIPS

Bradley J Willcox MD MSc, Harvard Medical School

1. Don't overeat. Practise "Hara Hachi Bu" or "eat until 80 per cent full". Studies over the past 50 years have shown that the most important mechanism to extend lifespan has been calorific restriction.

2. Fresh and fruity. Eat at least seven vegetables/fruits daily to decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure and obesity. It may also keep you looking younger. Eat a largely plant-based diet rich in antioxidants – tofu, carrots, onions, bean sprouts, sweet potatoes – to build a strong defence system against free radicals.

3. Try wholegrain. Diets that are high in fibre can help decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer and diverticulosis (outpouchings of the colon that can get inflamed), all causes of premature mortality. Choose foods such as barley, oats, brown rice, rye, wheat, millet, buckwheat or bulgar.

4. Calcium rich. Eat three calcium foods daily to help strengthen your bones, prevent osteoporosis, and guard against colon cancer, high blood pressure and PMS. Good vegetarian sources are green leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli, fortified orange juice and soy.

5. Learn about flavonoids. These oestrogen-like plant compounds act as hormone blockers at places where excess hormones might cause cancer, such as the breast. They are also powerful antioxidants, and the best sources include soy products, beans and, to a lesser extent, tea, onions, broccoli and apples.

6. Good fats, bad fats. Good fats are polyunsaturated (vegetable oils) or monounsatured (canola oil, olive oil). The former consist of Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6, and help maintain optimal performance of your brain, cardiovascular system and immune system. Fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel have the highest content of Omega-3 fats.

7. Drink green tea. Green tea helps to metabolize fat, ease digestion and add healthy flavonoids to diet. As tea is a mild diuretic, regard one cup as half a cup of water.

8. Exercise. Okinawans, who have the best known longevity, are active in a way that improves cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility and balance. Hard martial arts like karate keep them fit. Also popular is traditional dance, which resembles Tai Chi, walking and gardening.

9. Learn to be calm. Too much stress can be deadly. Learn some healthy coping styles to deal with it. Meditate by breathing deeply and counting each breath up to 10. Try healing affirmations and positive self-talk. Optimists recover from illness more quickly.

10. Think globally, act locally. People with large social networks have been shown to be at lower risk from dying young, and are generally healthier. Feeling needed and having a sense of larger purpose is important. Nurture friends, family and someone you've lost contact with. Join a club. Help the environment.

Bradley J Willcox MD MSc is author of The Okinawa Program: How the World's Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health – and How You Can Too. Published 2002.

HEALTHY HEART TIPS

Julie Foxton, nurse consultant to the Family Heart Association

1. Don't smoke. Smoking causes many diseases and illnesses, but is directly responsible for causing heart disease. It helps the furring up of the arteries, reducing the amount of blood available to the heart to do its job properly. Stop now!

2. Help your heart. Eat a healthy balanced diet. A varied diet, with more fresh fruit, vegetables, oily fish, nuts and pulses, has been shown to be of importance in maintaining a healthy heart.

3. Skimp on sodium. Reduce your salt consumption. Sodium retention helps increase your blood pressure. We should reduce the amount of salt by cutting down on processed foods, and on the amount we add during cooking and at the table. This should help reduce your blood pressure.

4. Regular exercise. Recommendations highlight a need for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. This can be broken up into chunks, such as three 10-minute walks. It needn't be at the gym. Walking at a brisk pace should do it!

5. Weight watching. Try to keep to the correct weight for your height. Obese people are twice as likely to die from heart disease as people of a healthy weight. It has been shown that even modest reductions of weight can increase life expectancy.

6. Drink in moderation. The benefits of regular, moderate amounts of alcohol have been shown in studies. However, excessive alcohol intake can lead to severe heart problems. Your blood pressure can be increased and one of the fats in your blood – triglycerides – can be raised excessively. This is a risk factor for developing heart disease.

7. Limit stress. Some stress is good for us, as the adrenaline can help us to react quickly under pressure. But stress in large doses will cause too much adrenaline, leaving you mentally and physically exhausted. It can also lead to raised pulse and blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people who have a compromised circulation.

8. Know your family history. Often, this will provide some warning if there is a serious problem within the family. Not all conditions are inherited, but there may be instances where knowing your history can indicatewhether you are at risk from heart disease.

9. Listen to your heart. Know your risk for developing heart disease. Have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked if: there is a risk of heart disease in your family; you are overweight, diabetic or a smoker; you suffer from high blood pressure; or you are sedentary.

10. Laugh! Regularly! Having a good chuckle makes you feel better. Maybe you relax more. Who knows? Anyway, it is a good idea to have a hearty laugh now and again.

Family Heart Association, 7 North Road, Maidenhead, SL6 1PE (www.familyheart.org, md@ familyheart.org, 01628 628638). For a small diet sheet please send an SAE to the above address

SKIN TIPS

Dr Nicholas Perricone, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine

1. Reduce inflammation. Dark circles and puffiness under the eyes are common. One good treatment is a mixture of vitamin C ester and alpha-lipoic acid eye therapy. These anti-inflammatories work to reduce the inflammation responsible.

2. A pox on pores. Treatments such as peels, scrubs, prescription medication like Retin-A and invasive procedures like lasers have proven to be disappointing. Using a topical alpha lipoic acid can make a dramatic difference in just two weeks.

3. Good skin tone. Wrinkling, sagging and loss of tone characterize an ageing face. Most topical treatments have just addressed wrinkling. Now there is a treatment called DMAE, a cognitive enhancer found in fish. It can increase tone in minutes, when applied in a topical lotion. The effects are cumulative. Eating fish, especially salmon, helps increase skin tone.

4. Decrease dimples. Dimpling tends to occur in the thigh or upper arm area. Use alpha-lipoic acid and DMAE in a penetrating base.

5. Watch your diet. You can help improve radiance, increase facial contours and minimise fine lines without applying endless ointments, creams and gels. Eat a diet rich in salmon, green salad and fresh berries. You will see a decrease in the inflammation of the skin.

6. Moisturise. Dryness is characterized by the factor of inflammation. Use a moisturiser containing a natural anti-inflammatory such as DMAE or vitamin C ester to help improve tone.

7. Skin deep. Thinning skin is characteristic of ageing skin or sun damage. Try applying a treatment rich in vitamin C ester, morning and night. This will help replenish the collagen and elastin that the skin lacks.

8. Prevention, not cure. Look after your skin. Avoid harsh soaps, scrubs, and abrasive cleansers that strip your skin of natural oils. Use a soap-free cleanser or superfatted cleansing bar.

9. Choose the right products. If you are prone to dry skin, choose make-up that will not strip the skin of its necessary oils. Choose an oil-based foundation to nourish and hydrate dry skin.

10 Choose crème. Pick a crème blusher instead of a powder one. Powder blushers will emphasise fine lines and wrinkles. A crème blusher will enhance the contours of the face, rather than the creases!

Nicholas Perricone is the author of 'The Wrinkle Cure', Vermillion, £8.99

SUPPLEMENT TIPS

Maryon Stewart, founder of the Women's Nutritional Advisory Service

1. Eat your greens. To help curb food cravings, boost your intake of chromium, magnesium and B vitamins, which are needed for normal blood glucose control. Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, chicken, rye and black pepper.

2. Mix and match. Tea, coffee, alcohol and tobacco can reduce the absorption of nutrients. A cup of tea with a meal will more than halve the iron available to us, whereas a glass of orange juice with the meal will more than double it. Alcohol knocks most nutrients sideways; bran blocks the absorption of minerals like zinc, iron and magnesium.

3. Mind your magnesium. Women with PMS and those with fatigue often have low levels of magnesium. Concentrate on good sources such as green leafy vegetables. Optivite and Gynovite will also boost magnesium levels.

4. Craving control. To stave off sugar cravings, normalise blood glucose levels with Normoglycaemia, which is rich in chromium, magnesium and B vitamins. For breast tenderness, Evening Primrose Oil is ideal.

5. Stay fresh. The shelf-life of the vitamins and minerals in fruit, vegetables and salad is short. Shop for fresh produce at least twice a week and store them somewhere cool.

6. Zap-free food. Convenience foods will not deliver the nutrients that freshly prepared food will. Microwaving zaps nutrients and changes the composition of the food, which will reduce levels of vital vitamins and minerals.

7. Fight flu. To boost your immune system this winter and stave off colds and flu, take Echinacea with vitamin C and zinc supplements as soon as you feel the symptoms.

8. Don't be SAD. St John's Wort is as effective as an anti-depressant, yet without the side effects. It can help improve a woman's libido at the time of the menopause.

9. Ginger remedy. Ginger is good for relieving indigestion, headaches and nausea. Munch on raw ginger, or add 3/4 tsp of lazy ginger into Rooibosch tea (without milk). This looks like ordinary tea, but has no caffeine and little tannin.

10. Mineral boost. Women experiencing the menopause may lack important vitamins and minerals. The mineral and vitamin supplement Gynovite replaces what time and nature take from the body. Taking Promensil, an isoflavone rich red clover product, with the regular consumption of soya products, will help to restore the body's oestrogen levels while helping to maintain a healthy heart and strong bones.

The Natural Health Bible, by Maryon & Dr Alan Stewart and the supplements mentioned, are available from the Women's Nutritional Advisory Service Mail Order Service (01273 487366) or www.wnas.org.uk

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