There’s no denying that celebrities’ health habits influence our lives. When Hollywood A-listers endorse diets or health products, it’s easy to assume they’re kosher. But celebs don’t always get it right!
Hollywood actress Halle Berry mixes coffee granules into her shower gel to help with exfoliation and to tackle cellulite. Caffeine is a common ingredient in anti-cellulite treatments, so Halle’s homemade solution is a cheap and imaginative alternative.
The benefit of massage combined with the caffeine-filled coffee grinds could be enough to stimulate blood supply to dreaded orange peel, says British beauty expert Jennifer Young (jenniferyoung.co.uk). ‘The jury is split on the impact of caffeine on cellulite,’ adds Young. ‘A study published in the Journal of Cosmetics and Toiletries reports that while applying caffeine to the skin led to weight loss, levels of cellulite remained constant. However, another research study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found a reduction in cellulite when using caffeine creams.’ Test the theory yourself by adding a teaspoon of coffee grinds to your body wash. Rub this into dry skin before you hit the shower.
WHO DOES IT: GERI HALLIWELL, MADONNA
Madonna is a fan of vitamin B12 injections, and uses them to give her an energy boost while on tour. Other celebrity fans include Prince, Robbie Williams, Geri Halliwell and Charlize Theron, who use vitamin B12 to counter the effects of a demanding schedule and to avoid taking vitamin pills. Signs you could be low on vitamin B12 include anaemia, fatigue, palpitations and tingly hands and feet, but deficiency is rare.
You can get sufficient vitamin B12 through your diet via fish, meat, chicken and eggs, plus fortified cereals, says Evelyn Toner, specialist dietician at London Bridge Hospital (londonbridgehospital.com). Those most at risk of B12 deficiency are the elderly, strict vegetarians and people with pernicious anaemia and gastrointestinal disorders – such as Coeliac disease – which hinder absorption, says Toner. In Madonna’s case, it’s likely she’s experiencing a placebo effect from the injections, as they don’t have any benefit unless there’s a pre-existing nutritional deficiency. ‘If you think you’re at risk, you may benefit from including vitamin B12-rich or fortified foods in your diet or taking an oral vitamin B12 supplement,’ says Toner. ‘Injections should only be taken on the recommendation of your doctor.’
While everyone’s sleep requirements are different, seven to eight hours a night is the average recommendation, says Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council (sleepcouncil.org.uk). A 2010 study by the University of California found that only one person in 20 needs more than nine hours’ sleep per night, while an earlier, 2002, study by the same university linked more than eight hours sleep with heart disease and higher mortality rates. Another of Ms Carey’s bedtime habits is to surround her bed with up to 20 humidifiers to create a steam room effect! Central heating can cause humidity in your home to drop to 10 per cent, but the healthy range is 30-40 per cent. ‘Humidifiers increase moisture in a room’, says James Wilson, sleep expert and founder of We Love Sleep (welovesleep.co.uk), ‘If the air in your bedroom is dry, a humidifier can help prevent sore throats or treat respiratory problems such as asthma.’ We recommend the Iris Aroma Diffuser by MadeByZen. which emits a scented mist from essential oils and behaves like a mini humidifier and air purifier (£49.99; madebyzen.com).
BIRD POO FACIALS
WHO DOES IT: VICTORIA BECKHAM
Celebrities have bad skin days too you know! Even the queen of style Victoria Beckham had acne as a child and now goes to extreme lengths to keep her skin pimple free and youthful. Nightingale poo is her secret weapon of choice, and the mother of four treats herself to facials and moisturising creams containing this strange ingredient.
‘Nightingale poo has been used as a beauty product for centuries,’ says Young. ‘It’s said to rejuvenate and remove dead skin cells, resulting in glowing skin.’ Nightingale poo has high levels of nitrogen-rich urea (a solid derived from urine), which is used for its natural moisturising benefits, and guanine, an amino acid that gives skin shimmer and shine, explains Young. These are common ingredients used in anti-ageing skincare and can be derived from more appealing sources (for example, La Roche Posay ISO Urea Pump, £19.25 for 400ml; thehealthcounter.com) than animal faeces.
The Black Eyed Peas singer swears by the folk remedy of taking a couple of tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar a day to treat bloating and aid digestion.
In ancient Greece, it was believed vinegar had healing properties and it was used to treat heartburn, skin rashes and to detoxify skin. However, there’s limited research available to suggest apple cider vinegar has any health or slimming benefits, says Toner. ‘There are some suggestions that apple cider vinegar may improve glycaemic control for diabetics, but more research is needed before it can be recommended,’ she says. A few changes to your diet might be all you need to beat the bloat. Toner recommends avoiding foods high in fermentable carbohydrates or fructans (such as wheat, onions, garlic), brassicas (such as cabbage), and pulses, which contain gassy galactooligosaccharides. ‘A registered dietician can help you identify triggers and ensure your diet remains balanced and nutritionally complete.’