Lily Soutter from organic tea brand Heath & Heather on exercise, the benefits of herbal tea and improving sleep quality
Talk us through a day in the life of a nutritionist.
Each day can vary which keeps my job exciting! I usually start my day with a big bowl of porridge and a cup of Heath & Heather’s Morning Time tea. This tea is my go-to as it’s refreshing but also includes a hint of guarana for a natural pick me up.
I will then spend the day either seeing clients for nutrition consultations at my clinic in Chelsea or alternatively, I could be hosting a workplace wellness presentation to enhance employee well being.
I will also manage to fit some sort of exercise into my day, whether that’s walking or enjoying my favourite spin class. Exercise is crucial to keep my energy high and stay at the top of my game. Finally, I will cook an evening meal, which is nourishing but simple. I often stick to 5-6 ingredient recipes and place leftovers in a Tupperware ready for lunch the next day.
Are there any additional benefits to drinking your nutrients in a tea, rather than consuming them in food?
Herbal teas are a tasty way of staying hydrated. Each tea will also come with unique benefits due to a blend of fruits and herbs and can be a delicious way of including natural remedies into our diet. It’s highly unlikely that we would munch on nettle leaves or liquorice root, however it’s much easier to obtain the benefits from these unusual herbs via a warming cup of tea.
What are the biggest health concerns among Londoners and how can we work towards fighting them?
I see many clients both in and out of the workplace, and lack of energy is a topic which comes up time and time again. Often this can be down to stress, lack of sleep and even poor dietary choices. By switching our stress-inducing afternoon coffee for a calming chamomile tea we can reduce stress and aid with better sleep. Ultimately this should increase our energy.
Digestion is another common concern, particularly bloating. Opt for a fennel tea after lunch to ease bloating or peppermint tea to soothe the stomach.
Do you have any advice on implementing a nighttime regime or additional evening practices that will improve sleep quality?
Have a balanced evening meal which includes both protein and carbohydrate. Protein such as meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and seeds are a source of tryptophan which is the precursor to our sleep hormone melatonin. By combining tryptophan with carbohydrate you can further increase melatonin production. Try an evening meal of a turkey and brown rice stir fry or a chickpea and butternut squash curry for a more restful nights sleep.
I stop drinking coffee by 11am to ensure that caffeine is well out of my system come the evening. I usually opt for Heath & Heathers Night Time tea which includes valerian root and is the herb of choice when it comes to sleep. It also combines calming herbs such as chamomile and passionflower.
Lastly, steer clear of blue light. Avoid the TV, laptop and even your phone 1-2 hours before bed.
Gut health is a popular topic at the moment, what can we do to ensure optimal digestive health?
Fibre is the key ingredient to maintaining a healthy gut. On average, most people in the UK are currently only consuming 18g of fibre per day, when the guidelines are set at 30g per day. Fibre also provides a food source for good bacteria helping them to flourish and grow. This good bacteria will also produce substances which are thought to protect the gut wall such as short-chain fatty acids. Fibre is found in all whole grain carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, pasta, rice but also in fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
What are your nutritional non-negotiables?
When it comes to nutrition it is important to avoid black and white thinking. Food is there for enjoyment as much as it’s needed for nourishment and having a balanced diet and healthy relationship with food is key for optimal health.
Do you have a daily mantra/ritual/practise you live by to make you feel your best?
Exercise! Daily exercise whether that’s simply walking or taking part in a gym class is critical to keeping me energised and happy. It helps me to de-stress and keeps my brain sharp by breaking up my day.
For more information and to shop the Heath & Heather range, visit heathandheather.co.uk