Q.I’ve heard drinking a glass of hot water with a bit of lemon every morning is good for the skin. Have you tried this and how is it supposed to benefit you?
A.This is a piece of advice that’s been knocking around for decades, and we do know quite a few people who swear by it (not least our friend Lulu…) The idea is to wake your system gently with water, rather than a caffeinated beverage. Hot water helps the digestive system to start moving, and encourages the removal of waste products from the body. (We’ll leave the rest to your imagination.) It stimulates the liver and kidneys, and the lemon itself adds a little calcium, magnesium and potassium to the water. According to experts, lemon has an ‘alkalising’ effect on the system, which is good for overall health. However, just one caveat: we do have another friend who’s drunk lemon juice and hot water for years and years, and was recently advised by her dentist to give up, as he felt it was affecting her tooth enamel. Might sound strange, but if you’re going to take up a hot-lemon-and-water habit in the morning, you might try a straw.
Q.Drinking water is said to be vital for my skin’s health. How much do I need to drink – and can I substitute with fruit juice?
A.Super beauties swear by drinking water to keep their skins clear. And according to leading nutritionist Vicki Edgson, ‘I can tell which of my patients have been drinking enough water the minute they walk through the door – because their skin’s translucent and clear.’ The target? ‘At least 2.5 litres, filtered or bottled, drunk steadily throughout the day.’ (Vicki’s tip: always keep a glass – or bottle – of water on your desk.) The occasional glass of fruit juice can count as part of that total – ‘but remember that fruit juice interferes with blood sugar levels, so it’s best not to substitute. Herbal teas can be included in that 2.5 litre total – but not caffeinated beverages. In fact, for every caffeinated drink, you need to drink the equivalent of double that in water. Same goes for alcohol.’
Q.Does chocolate give you spots?
A.According to top nutritionist Jane Clarke, it’s good news for chocolate lovers. ‘No’ she says. ‘There’s no direct link. However, some women notice their skin clears up when they cut down or cut out chocolate – which may show a mild intolerance to something within the chocolate, such as sugar or milk. Also if you have an underlying skin condition, chocolate can increase your sensitivity to bacterial conditions, making you more spot-prone.’ It’s also important, she adds, not to substitute chocolate for beneficial foods like fruit, veg and wholegrains. ‘Chocolate is not a meal!’