Are you looking and feeling your best? Dull hair and lifeless skin? Feeling sluggish, or lacking energy to get out of bed in the morning? It couldn’t be a better time to sort yourself out. Check out our advice to help you look your best, feel great and be on top form.
Most of us would agree that looking good is something we like to do, whether it’s just everyday or you want to look your best for a special occasion. And believe it or not, being healthy and fit can have an effect on the way you look.
Eating fatty and greasy food doesn’t automatically make your skin greasy or give you spots, but skin does need looking after. Follow our five point plan to looking good:
- First step to a healthy skin is to drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself well hydrated.
- Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods such as wholemeal bread, pasta and brown rice. These foods contain lots of vitamins and minerals which are important in helping to keep your skin looking healthy day in, day out.
- Keeping active and doing plenty of exercise keeps your skin looking fresh, healthy and and gives a rosy glow. It works by boosting your circulation ensuring lots of oxygen and nutrients get to the skin, so keeping it healthy.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and drugs. Not only are they seriously bad for you they also can cause damage and dehydrate your skin. If you are of legal age then it’s OK to drink in moderation but watch how much you have and make sure you keep hydrated by having water and low-calorie soft drinks alongside.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. If it’s hot, make sure that you have the right level of protection. It might look good to have a tanned body but strong sunlight is the quickest way to age your skin and puts you at risk of skin cancer.
Check out these skin supporting nutrients: Are you getting what you need?
Helps wounds to heal and is essential for making skin tissues like collagen. It is also an antioxidant vitamin which helps to protect the cells in your body. Found in a range of fruits and vegetables. Richest sources are citrus fruit such as oranges and grapefruit, berries, melon and blackcurrants.
Another antioxidant vitamin which helps protect your body’s cells including your skill cells. Found in wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds vegetables oils and green leafy vegetables.
These help to protect skin and eyes from the effects of sunlight. Found in brightly coloured vegetables and fruits. Carotenoids are a plants equivalent of sun-tan lotion.
Needed for the normal structure and functioning of the skin and to help with the healing of cuts, bruises and spots. Found in seafood, meats, eggs, wholegrain cereals, dairy products and green vegetables.
B vitamins such as Riboflavin and Niacin
Needed for skin to grow and work properly. Found in wholegrain and fortified breakfast cereals, meat, milk, cheese, fish and eggs.
No one food can make you smarter, trendier, more attractive or help you succeed in your chosen career but it might surprise you to know that what you eat and how often you get active can seriously affect how you feel.
It’s a fact that many overweight teenagers are bullied. Being bullied can make you feel lonely and you might think you haven’t any friends. You’re not alone.
What to do if you are being bullied
- Tell someone. You might feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about this but afterwards you will feel better. Talk to a friend you can trust, your parents or a teacher. If you can’t tell them face-to-face write them a note explaining how you feel. If you find this difficult, or they don’t believe you, confide in someone outside your immediate family such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle or a youth leader.
- Try and stay in safe areas during breaks and lunchtimes where there are plenty of other people.
- If you have a mobile phone be careful who you give your number to. If you receive threatening phone calls or e-mails then tell your parents. It is a criminal offence to send offensive or threatening phone messages.
- Also if you use social networking sites be careful about who you have as a ‘friend’ or ‘follower’. If you receive threatening or upsetting calls or messages then tell your parent or carer.
- If you are new to the school, college or a new worker try to make friends by starting a conversation about anything, schoolwork, music, sport, your favourite TV program. Find out what they like and if you have any similar interests – this could be the start of a great friendship.
- Get more advice from Need2Know or Young Minds.
Even if your friends are all supportive of you and there isn’t a bully in sight, being overweight can still get you down. Tipping the balance between the energy (calories) you get from food and the energy (calories) you use up everyday will help you achieve a healthier body shape and size. If you want to find out more about what you can do to manage your weight there are lots of helpful pages on this site. Start by checking out the Making Changes and Being Active pages.
It doesn’t have to up a upward battle. Just a few simple changes can make a big difference over time especially if you are still growing.
Boost your Mood and Confidence
Being a teenager can be a tough time. So many things in your life seem to be always changing. As you grow up and become a young adult you’re expected to do more stuff at school/college as well as take more responsibility at home. If you’ve left home for the first time or are starting your first job that’s challenging too.
Getting plenty of exercise can help with feeling more confident and more in control. Why? Because being active can boost your mood and help you feel great. It works like this: Exercise has been shown to result in a change in the levels of different chemicals in the brain. These chemicals promote a feeling of well being. Exercise also has the effect of eating up stress chemicals and can give that relaxed feel-good factor.
Have Plenty of Energy
A good intake of vitamins and minerals
As a young adult you need plenty of energy (calories) for growth and to keep up with the pace of life around you. But did you know that certain vitamins and minerals help your body to unlock that energy and release it? Many of these nutrients are water-soluble vitamins which means they can’t be stored in the body. In other words you need a daily supply from the foods you eat each day.
Make sure you eat three meals a day
Your body needs fuel to make it run smoothly just like a car needs petrol, oil, brake fluid and water. Carbohydrates and fats are the main fuels that the human body runs on. During the night stores of carbohydrate (glycogen) run low. Having a good breakfast is an important way to replace these stores.
And it’s a well-known fact that those who miss meals tend to have poorer diets than those that eat three meals a day.
With new experiences around every corner you need to have your wits about you. Being thirsty or hungry, may mean that your ability to concentrate on the simplest of things is reduced. So it’s important to eat and drink regularly.
To make best use of your brain power and always perform at your best try not to skip meals, especially breakfast. If you snack between meals, choose healthy options whenever you can. It’s also important to make sure you drink regularly throughout the day, especially in hot weather. Why not carry a water bottle with you. Make sure you have a drink at breaks and lunchtimes and after sports. Try not to rely on sugary drinks from vending machines and shops.
Fluids – What Counts?
Water, fruit smoothies, pure fruit juice, milk, sugar-free squashes and flavoured waters. Or tea (regular or fruit), coffee, low-fat chocolate or malted drinks if you want something hot.
So What’s The Best Brain Food?
Now for the scientific stuff. The brain relies almost entirely on the body’s carbohydrate stores to work properly. Because we use up carbohydrate stores quickly, it’s important to keep refuelling every few hours. Especially during exams. But there are smarter choices. Foods high in sugar can raise the body’s sugar levels, but only temporarily. It’s much better to have foods which gently raise sugar levels over a longer period. These are usually more traditional foods, eaten as part of regular meals like new potatoes, pasta, beans, porridge and muesli. These foods often have a low glycaemic index (low Gi) foods.
Top Tips For Exam Times
When preparing for exams it may feel like there’s no time to prepare a proper meal. It might seem easier to snack on biscuits, crisps or chocolate or even to skip a meal and keep going.
But skipping meals and eating badly won’t allow your body to perform at its best. It’s just not a good recipe for success. Try these tips for healthier exam planning:
- Make sure you include meals and meal breaks on your revision timetable.
- Give yourself a head start by having breakfast.
- Balance your meals – you need to have enough energy to get you through.
- Keep hydrated – take your water bottle with you to revision sessions and exams.
- Try to include 5 fruit and vegetables each day, they make handy snacks.
- Take a break every couple of hours, go for a walk or do something active, it will help you feel good.
- Plan your snacks, try not to grab just anything.
Check out healthier snacks and meals in our healthy recipe section.
Middle age might seem a long way away now. But it’s a fact that what we do now, and the habits we form, can affect our long term health.
Being healthy is all about having a healthy lifestyle.
Some of the elements that can make up a healthy lifestyle include:
- Healthy eating and being a healthy weight.
- Reducing contact with strong sunlight, cigarette smoke and other pollutants.
- Coping with stress.
- Sexual health.
- Sensible drinking.
There are several areas of health that you need to think carefully about as you mature into adulthood. You have probably already discussed many of these in PHSE lessons at school. If not, you soon will.
Eating healthily and being a healthy weight is an important part of being healthy overall. However, it’s only one of the things you can do to ensure you keep healthy. Each of the other areas is just as important a part of adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Where To Get More Advice
Although this website can’t advise you about all these areas there are many good websites that can help. Many of these sites are either dedicated to teenagers or have their own teenage section:
For information on sexual health and activity.
For healthy eating recipes and activity ideas.
For general health advice and support.
For advice on healthy eating.
For advice on heart health.
For advice on drinking and alcohol.
Resources for schools and teachers
The Department of Education’s Healthy Schools toolkit is designed to help schools to ‘plan, do and review’ health and wellbeing improvements for their children and young people and to identify and select activities and interventions effectively. This approach will ensure schools put in place the most appropriate services and meet the needs of children and young people.
Health and Medical Games is a collection of on-line games for health and nutrition education. This page has some worthwhile resources, but the site also has links to conventional games most of which have to be purchased.