spa hotel break in london best spas

8 best spas in London

From tranquil massages to detoxifying body wraps, Healthista has found the best spas in London (and just outside) that are worth a visit this year

Through the hustle and bustle of working in any metropolitan city, London at times can be rather overwhelming. The sound of car horns never stop beeping and the social clocks never stop ticking.

Yet the city boasts hundreds of luxury spas in and around London that will transport you from the stress of the office to a serene state of mind.

We rounded up the best spas, from day breaks to overnight stays, to help you find the best places to get some much needed R&R this year.

#1 The Spa at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel

spa hotels london spa retreat

Around the corner from Imperial Wharf station lies the 5-star Chelsea Harbour Hotel, which overlooks the beautiful marina and is situated along the River Thames.

With a 17-metre indoor swimming pool and saunas in every changing room, the spa gives their guests every opportunity for ultimate relaxation.

the ‘City Living’ treatment will make you feel like you have escaped the London smog

Written in the name, the ‘City Living’ treatment will make you feel like you have escaped the London smog for the day.

This treatment combines a soothing back massage followed by a facial that is customised to your skin type, all in 50-minutes.

We also opted for the afternoon tea and fizz option to optimise a full day of pampering and unwinding.

#2 Sofitel SPA at London St James

This glamorous old bank turned hotel sits in the centre of central London, just down the road from Piccadilly Circus.

Not only was the interior of the hotel stunning, but the staff were exceptionally on top of things by offering a calming herbal tea before the treatment began.

do not skip out on having the deep relaxation full body massage

As for the treatment, do not skip out on having the deep relaxation full body massage. With tranquil music in a relatively dark room, the therapist worked out all the knots and tension using warm oil from a luxury French brand – so you know its A-list quality.

Post massage, the spa allows you to take full advantage of their “relaxation room”, where you can lay out on one of their giant beds with another herbal tea and biscuit in peace.

Needless to say – relaxed is an understatement.

#3 The Athenaeum Spa Mayfair

spa hotels london spa retreat

With a quaint jacuzzi and sauna room, The Athenaeum Hotel spa offers a wide range of treatments which promote revitalisation and detoxifying elements – the Exalt Wrap treatment being one of them.

This body wrap consisted of a detoxifying gel that heats up under a sheet that is placed from shoulders down to your toes.

For someone who is mildly claustrophobic, this treatment was actually quite relaxing and is supposed to help promote the removal of toxins from your body.

able to to mix and match treatments together

This package that can be purchased on Buy A Gift includes an afternoon tea and scone, post-treatment of your choice.

The best thing about this spa was being able to to mix and match treatments together to get the best of both worlds, meaning a facial and body treatment in one.

#4 Beauty and Melody Spa at the Montcalm Royal London House

spa hotels london spa retreat

In the heart of the banker and tech city lies the Beauty and Melody Spa at the Montcalm Hotel.

This spa boasts a contemporary feel, with the interior of the spa rooms and facilities giving a luxurious feel with a welcoming glass of champagne.

the perfect treatment to cure any sore muscles

After a long week of rigorous fitness classes, the hour long deep tissue massage was the perfect treatment to cure any sore muscles.

Some spas like this one require you to request the preferred gender for your therapist before you come for a treatment, so be sure to do this as it was something we were not aware of before arriving.

#5 The Ardencote Hotel and Spa

spa hotel spa breaks in london

This luxury 4-star hotel in Warwickshire is just a two hour drive outside of north London. This is more than a day-break spa, as staying for one night here was not enough to enjoy everything it had to offer.

The rustic building settled on a golf course in the countryside has been there for decades, yet has a very classy feel to it. With both an indoor and outdoor pool, guests are able to utilise the spa pools no matter what time of the year it is.

They had a full range gym equipped with every machine you would need for a workout, and also offer guests fitness classes, a tennis court, squash rooms, and a golf course. Point in case – endless activities to take advantage of.

The beautiful acre of land has places to sit and read a book near the pond or stroll along a leisurely path in the sunshine.

a full body massage which left me feeling completely at ease to the point of catching some z’s

After a quick workout, I popped over to the spa facilities to enjoy a full body massage which left me feeling completely at ease to the point of catching some z’s. That’s how you know it’s a good treatment.

Lunch consisted of a crispy chicken kimchi that was light enough to hold me over until dinner time, where we enjoyed a course of a creamy Hake filet and roasted veg over a bottle of red. There’s also a bar where you can grab a drink and head to the outdoor spa (which I did of course).

It’s safe to say that one night here is not enough.

#6 The Glass House Retreat

spa hotels london spa retreat

If you’re looking for a full detox – and I mean so far as to lock your phone in a safe – then hit up the Glass House Retreat in Upminster.

This contemporary built hotel spa might be hard to get to if you don’t have a car, but it is worth the trek regardless because of the amenities the hotel has to offer – such as pilates classes, outdoor meditation rooms, and a naturally tempered plunge pool.

the deliciously constructed vegan menu will leave you stuffed

Be aware that this is a full detox resort down to the food, but the deliciously constructed vegan menu will leave you stuffed and wanting to come back for seconds.

What impressed me the most about this hotel is the treatments they offer, including a skin scan that analyses the deep layers up to 2mm, so that the therapist may tailor a specific treatment to your facial plus recommend products to implement into your skin routines.

Guests can book the Glass House Retreat as a one day or overnight stay, to unwind with your besties or significant other.

#7 Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa

spa hotels london spa retreat

If we were to rate this beautiful 4-star spa hotel based solely on the staff and the food – it would easily be an 11/10.

After having a nightmare of getting out of London on a Friday afternoon (IYKYK), the staff were incredibly accommodating about making sure our treatments were still ready to go.

I opted for the scalp massage because of time, but Donnington offers a wide variety of treatments, ranging from candle-oil full body massages to warm stone de-stress facials.

beautiful 18-hole golf course that can be accompanied by a post-tee time hot tub and sauna

The interior of the building offers an old English feel, which sets the tone for throwing on a classy outfit for a pre-dinner aperitif. But the main course is the real highlight, as the food was cooked to perfection and contributed to the overall perfect experience of this spa retreat.

If you or your partner are golf lovers, the hotel is situated against a beautiful 18-hole golf course that can be accompanied by a post-tee time hot tub and sauna.

Whether you’re looking for a quick overnight getaway or weekend retreat that is easily accessible from London, then Donnington Valley is the best choice.

#8 The Picadilly London West End Hotel Spa

picadilly west end hotel spa

In the heart of the theatre centre, you will find this glamourous hotel right across from China Town.

Whether you’re a local or staying from out of town, the Picadilly London West End Hotel has the perfect selection of spa treatments that will revitalise your sore muscles from sight seeing in central London.

relaxing start to our Saturday afternoon over a glass of bucks fizz

From facials to spa rituals, we opted for the Swedish massage which worked deep in the tissues without being too abrasive like other deep tissue massages.

Following our treatment we hit up the jacuzzi and sauna for a relaxing start to our Saturday afternoon over a glass of bucks fizz.

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Lioness Alex Greenwood shares her top healthy living tips

English footballer and Lioness Alex Greenwood shares her tips for living a healthy lifestyle ahead of tournaments like the FIFA Women’s World Cup

The Women’s World Cup consisted of 32 qualifying teams for the first time in history this year, consisting of players at the top of their league, such as English footballer Alex Greenwood.

The Manchester City defender participated in the Women’s World Cup as part of the English national football team the Lionesses this summer. Although the team lost to Spain 1-0, the game broke a new UK record for a women’s soccer game, as it was watched by an estimated 14.8 million.

So naturally, we wanted to know how exactly how the Lioness prepared for the tournament that inspired women and girls all over the world.


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Here’s what Alex had to say…

‘Train smarter and listen to your body’

Trying to break into the male-dominated sport of football still proves to be a challenging task for women, yet there has been a significant increase in the amount of women and girls playing football worldwide, at an estimated 29 million according to FIFA.

Although challenging, it is certainly not impossible as proven by Alex Greenwood, 30, whose stellar football career has saw her play on the World Cup stage alongside her fellow teammates on England’s Lionesses national team.

According to an article published by England Football, Greenwood says that she initially found her way in the sport through gaining the respect of her male counterparts on the field – or as Greenwood states, on the streets of Liverpool.

The game has evolved, so I had to evolve

‘I started playing football from the moment I could walk. I played more often with the boys whenever and wherever we could, from the moment I woke up until I was called in’, she told Healthista.

Since then, Greenwood says that her fitness routine has significantly evolved, as she has had to train smarter and listen to her body over the years.

‘The game has evolved, so I had to evolve. That is why now with my experience, my diet and training has become the most crucial part of my preparations.’


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A post shared by Alex Greenwood (@alexgreenwood5)

‘Preparation and planning ahead is key’

The football defender says her routine varies throughout the football season, from high-intensity running to power sessions. In general, Greenwood says that planning ahead and implementing small changes in her daily habits are key to staying healthy and active ahead of game days.

being apart of a special group of players is what made the entire World Cup that much more rewarding

‘There are moments of the season when you have to push your body to the limit to be available for every game, from international fixtures and training in between’, says the now 30 year old.

The Lioness made it clear that when it came to getting ready for the World Cup, her training and eating habits remained relatively the same, as she diligently prepares through the week until game day.

‘The most important thing for me is feeling prepared. I focus on my nutrition and my training sessions so that when the match day comes, I’m completely relaxed knowing I’ve done everything to be able to play to perform at my best and win.’



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A post shared by Alex Greenwood (@alexgreenwood5)

‘Be comfortable in your own skin’

Although the loss of the World Cup final is still a hurdle the Lioness football players are trying to overcome, Greenwood says that being apart of a special group of players is what made the entire World Cup that much more rewarding.

Greenwood shares that as far as her diet goes, she has struggled in the past with both over-eating and under-eating, resulting in feelings of self consciousness when striving to feel comfortable in her body on and off the pitch.

I have had times when I have felt body conscious

‘As a woman, our bodies develop differently. I have had times when I have felt body conscious and didn’t feel like myself on the pitch.’

With increasingly more fans watching women’s football, the Lioness’s have become apart of the spotlight, which Greenwood says can sometimes affect the way she views herself.

‘Being pictured more, sometimes you can look at those pictures and not like them, or people have a comment or opinion on a picture that you don’t like.’

Another Lioness, Lucy Bronze, also expressed her views on the scrutiny women in football have received, commenting on the criticism that has increased since the World Cup tournament this last summer.

Despite outside attention, Greenwood told Healthista that she has learned to know what works best for her body and what will fuel her performance so that she feels comfortable in her skin.


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A post shared by Alex Greenwood (@alexgreenwood5)

‘Nutrition is just as important as training’

Greenwood says that focusing on nutrition is just as important as training or going to the gym. But the non-negotiable is making sure she tracks her macros – so carbs, fats and most importantly protein is what the football star puts emphasis on.

‘Of course I switch off sometimes and allow myself to eat what I want, and I think that’s important in moderation, but in between I focus on my nutrition intake by incorporating plenty of protein and carbs into my diet.’

I believe that everyone, regardless of gender, deserves access to top-quality nutrition

Greenwood has recently founded her own supplements brand, Boast Elite, which she says she incorporates into her daily routine in addition to a balanced diet.

‘We created Boast Elite to support [everyone] with the right nutritional requirements to help you meet your own health and fitness goals. Our range of supplements contains nutrients that will nourish and hydrate your body to help achieve peak performance as a result’, says Greenwood.

‘I believe that everyone, regardless of gender, deserves access to top-quality nutrition and products to fuel their performance. Boast Elite is aimed at empowering [everyone] i their fitness journeys, whether that be athletes, fitness enthusiasts, or just health-conscious people in general.’

Boast Elite is set to become available later this year. Check out their Instagram for more updates and release date at @boast_elite


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5 family favourite comfort food recipes perfect for autumn

Sunday Times Best Selling Author of What Mummy Makes, Rebecca Wilson, shares her top 5 comfort food recipes that the whole family will love this Autumn

With picky eaters or ‘feed the food to the dog under the table’ kiddos, it can be quite difficult to find the perfect meal that keeps the whole family happy.

In fact, even when you find a meal everyone loves, putting the same one on repeat might feel a bit like groundhog day.

We asked Rebecca Wilson to share her favourite recipes from her books Family Comforts and Fast Family Food that will be perfect for the colder months that are quickly approaching.

Here are her top picks…

Recipe #1 Chickpea and Butternut Squash Dahl


A hearty vegan meal, creamy in texture and full of protein and goodness from the lentils and chickpeas, making it well balanced and nutritious for all the family.

The dahl will keep for 3 days in the fridge, or freeze for 3 months. Reheat in a saucepan or in the microwave until bubbling and piping hot throughout.

Serves 2 adults, 3 littles
Prep 5 mins
Slow Cook 3- 8 hours, freezable

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm (¾in) dice
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) can chickpeas in water
  • 300g (10½oz) dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 low-salt vegetable stock cubes* (gluten-free, if necessary)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • 2 heaped tsp driedmixed herbs
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated

1. Put all of the ingredients, including the water from the can of chickpeas, into the slow cooker, along with 350ml (12fl oz) of boiling water. Give it a really good stir and put the lid on.

2. Cook on HIGH for 3–4 hours or LOW for 6–8 hours.

3. Once done, use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to give the dahl a really good stir and mash the soft butternut squash into the sauce a little.

4. Serve the dahl with rice or naan breads, or even as a pasta sauce. Adults, you may want to season your portion with a little salt or even a dash of chilli sauce, if you like.

Recipe #2 Bolognese Polenta Bake


A cosy warming dish to huddle around on a cold autumnal day. Rich Bolognese ragu is topped with a firm, cheesy polenta topping.

Leftovers will keep for 2 days in the fridge, or 3 months in the freezer. Reheat in the oven until piping hot.

Serves 2 adults, 3 littles
Prep 25 mins
Bake 25 mins, freezable

  • 1 tsp garlic-infused oil
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) lean beef or lamb mince
  • 1 brown onion, grated or finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) tomato passata (strained tomatoes)
  • 1 low-salt beef stock cube*
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce* (optional)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper
For the polenta topping:
  • 1 low-salt chicken stock cube*
  • 1 litre (35fl oz) milk*
  • 180g (6¼oz) fine polenta (cornmeal)
  • 30g (1oz) unsalted butter*
  • 100g (3½oz) smoked Cheddar cheese*, grated
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs*

*can substitute depending on dietary requirements


1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC fan (220ºC/425ºF/Gas 7).

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the mince and fry for 3 minutes, breaking it into small pieces with a spatula as you go.

3. Add the onion and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Once the meat has browned all over, add the garlic and tomato passata.

4. Fill the empty passata tin or carton a quarter full and swill the water around to catch as much tomato as you can, then add that to the pan too.

5. Crumble in the beef stock cube and add the mixed herbs, Worcestershire sauce, if using, smoked paprika, sugar, if using, and a little black pepper. Stir and allow the sauce to bubble away while you make the polenta.

6. Crumble the chicken stock cube into a large saucepan, add the milk and allow it to come up to a simmer. Meanwhile, measure the polenta into a mug.

7. Once the milk is just starting to show little bubbles, with a whisk in one hand and the polenta in another, sprinkle in the polenta while whisking continuously to avoid lumps forming. Allow it to cook for around 5 minutes, stirring often, until it thickens to a very thick creamy porridge.

8. Remove the polenta from the heat, add the butter and two thirds of the cheese and stir to melt them into the polenta. You can now serve this alongside your mince Bolognese, but it’s even tastier if you combine the two and bake it in the oven.

9. Pour the Bolognese into a large baking dish large enough to fit it all in with a little space left above for the polenta. Dollop spoonfuls of the polenta on top, leaving some little gaps between each spoonful to let the sauce come up and bubble around it.

10. Place the dish on a large baking tray to catch any tomato splatters, sprinkle over the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs, and finish with another good grinding of black pepper. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes until the polenta has set and there is a delicious golden crust.

11. Serve with steamed or boiled green veg.

Recipe #3 Cinnamon Apple Toast


This tastes like a delicious cinnamon Danish pastry, but one that you can make in 10 minutes. If you have a big family, make a double batch – you won’t regret it.

These toasts are best served fresh, however leftovers will keep for up to 24 hours. Enjoy cold or reheat in a hot oven for 5 minutes until piping hot throughout.

Makes 4 pieces
Prep 5 mins
Cook 5-6 minutes

  • 4 thick slices of fresh soft bread*
  • 60g (1 ⁄4 cup) unsalted butter, softened*
  • 1 x 90g (31 ⁄4oz) pouch of apple purée (see note)
  • 1 tbsp light soft brown sugar (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Note: If you can’t find apple purée pouches, any fruit flavour will work. Just ensure it is unsweetened 100% fruit, definitely with no added cereals. Alternatively, a small mashed banana also works.

1. Preheat the grill to high.

2. Meanwhile, make the topping. Place the butter in a small bowl, ensuring it is soft enough to mix with the other ingredients. In winter, my kitchen stays too cold for butter to soften at room temperature, so I like to cube it, put it in a bowl, cover and heat on LOW for 30–40 seconds in the microwave until just soft – just be careful not to let it melt completely.

3. Add the apple purée, sugar, if using, and cinnamon. Stir well to combine using a tablespoon. Don’t worry if the mixture looks slightly separated right now, it will be completely fine.

4. Once the toast is done, spread a quarter of the butter mixture over each slice, using the back of your tablespoon to ensure you have an even layer and the mixture reaches right to the edges.

5. Place all the toast on a large baking tray and heat under the preheated grill for around 5 minutes, until the exposed bread edges have browned, and the cinnamon butter is bubbling on top.

6. It will be hot when it first comes out of the grill, so wait a few moments for the toast to slightly cool, then cut into quarters, or finger strips for little ones to enjoy.

Recipe #4 Lamb and Tomato Hot Pot


With succulent lamb and tender veg in a rich tomato sauce topped with crispy scalloped potatoes, this is a real one-pot wonder! The minimal washing up is such a bonus.

Leftovers will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge. Reheat in a hot oven for approx. 15–20 minutes or in a microwave on HIGH for a few minutes or until piping hot.

You can also freeze cooled leftovers in an airtight container, defrosting them thoroughly before reheating as above.

Serves 2 adults, 3 littles
Prep 10 mins
Bake 1 hour, freezable

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) lean minced (ground) lamb
  • 1 brown onion
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 low-salt beef or chicken stock cubes*
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce*
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) passata (strained tomatoes)
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 3–4 large all-rounder potatoes, washed
  • 2 tsp garlic-infused oil, plus extra if needed

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (200°C/400°F/Gas 6) and put the kettle on to boil.

2. Place a large casserole pot on the hob over a high heat to heat up. Add the lamb mince and let it cook for 1 minute without touching while you dice the onion. Now, break up the mince using a wooden spoon and add the onion, stirring it in. If your mince is very lean and looks like it is sticking, then add a drizzle of garlic oil.

3. Let the meat cook while you peel the carrots and cut them into chunks. Turn your attention back to the pot and crumble in the stock cubes, add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée, garlic paste and cornflour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add the chopped carrots, passata and mixed herbs.

4. Stir well, then top the pot up with boiling water out of the kettle to reach about 1–2cm (1 ⁄2–3 ⁄4in) over everything. The amount of water you need really depends on the size of your pot, so play it by ear. Try not to add too much water, though, as the potatoes on top will sink down below the sauce once baked, which is not a bad thing taste-wise, but it won’t look as pretty.

5. Stir well and allow it to bubble while you slice the potatoes into 0.5cm (1 ⁄4in) thick rounds – don’t worry about peeling them to save time. Scrape the bottom of the pot with your wooden spoon to loosen any stuck-on bits, then take the pot off the heat to add the potatoes.

6. Layer the sliced potatoes over the top of the pot carefully, as the sauce will be hot. Try to overlap them a little to give a pretty design, then drizzle over a little garlic oil to help the potatoes crisp up. If you’re using a narrow, deep pot, your potatoes may sink into the sauce, so in this case just add an extra layer or two of sliced potatoes on top.

7. Pop the dish in the preheated oven, uncovered, for 1 hour to bake. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving, and take care as it will be really hot! If there’s a little bit of lamb fat sitting on the top of the potatoes or around the edge of the pot, use a spoon to gently skim this away before serving.

8. Serve as is, with a little veg on the side – savoy cabbage works perfectly.

Recipe #5 Tomato and Spinach Fish Stew


When I think of slow cooker meals, fish doesn’t usually come to mind. However, this dish gives you soft and flaky delicate fish in a rich, flavourful tomato and spinach sauce.

As a bonus, this recipe calls for frozen fish cooked straight from the freezer, which is such an easy and economical way of adding fish to our diet.

This dish is best served fresh, however, if you have any leftovers, these will keep for up to 24 hours in the fridge. To reheat, place in an ovenproof dish, cover with foil and heat in a hot oven for 10–15 minutes until piping hot throughout.

You can also freeze any leftovers for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge and then reheat as above.

No slow cooker? Cook the tomato sauce in a large, high-sided frying pan with a lid on for at least 30 minutes over a medium heat on the hob – the longer the better really.

When the sauce is done, add the fish and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the fish is piping hot throughout.

Serves 2 adults, 2 littles
Prep 5 mins
Cook 3- 7 hours, freezable

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) crushed tomatoes or passata (strained tomatoes)
  • 8 cubes of chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) can of coconut milk
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tsp garlic granules OR 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 low-salt chicken or vegetable stock cube*, crumbled
  • 4–6 frozen skinless and boneless large white fish fillets, e.g. haddock, bass, pollock or cod

1. Add the crushed tomatoes or passata to the slow cooker pot along with the frozen spinach, coconut milk, sweet and smoked paprika, dried herbs, garlic granules or fresh garlic, tomato purée, sugar, if using, and crumbled stock cube. Give it all a really good stir so that there are no lumps apart from the frozen spinach, which will defrost as it cooks. Pop the lid on and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 5–6 hours.

2. Give the sauce another good stir so that any small lumps of stock cube that have melted during cooking are distributed evenly through the sauce.

3. Take the fish out of the freezer and add the frozen fillets to the sauce. Stir and make sure each fillet is submerged in the sauce, then put the lid back on and cook for a further 30–40 minutes on HIGH or 50–60 minutes on LOW, or until the fish flakes easily, as this will tell you that it’s done. To double check, lift up one fish fillet gently using a fish slice, then gently flake it in half at its thickest point. Place your finger on the white fish flesh inside, if it’s too hot to keep your finger there for a few seconds, then it’s done. If it feels just lukewarm, you need to cook it for another 10–20 minutes until piping hot.

4. Serve alongside some rice to soak up the sauce or crusty bread for dipping.

Both Family Comforts and Fast Family Foods with more recipes like these can be purchased for £18.99 at or are available on Amazon. 

Follow Rebecca Wilson on Instagram at @RebeccaWilsonFood or find more recipes online at

7 reasons your skin pigmentation might change colour FEATURED

7 reasons your skin pigmentation might change colour

Got skin patches or discoloured spots? GP Deyo Famuboni gives us an insight into why your skin pigmentation might change colour

Focusing mainly on our face and hands, we often have a wash and go policy for the rest of our skin. The skin is the largest organ in our bodies and therefore deserves to be well looked after.

skin is also fantastic at giving warning signs that something is wrong with our bodies

This not only prevents premature ageing and maintains a young, supple appearance, it is also a protective barrier from a lot of environmental toxins – higher than usual in London thanks to our air quality.

The skin is also fantastic at giving warning signs that something is wrong with our bodies. Darker spots on the skin can often occur as a result of internal changes or when we aren’t functioning optimally.

Here are common causes of this and what to do about it….

deyo skin pigmentation birth control

Cause #1 You are on the combined hormone contraceptive

A great invention which has transformed our lives, the pill has so many benefits including regulating periods, preventing the breakout of acne and protection from some cancers.

The hormones in contraception however, can trigger a condition called melasma, a chronic skin problem that causes brownish and blotchy facial pigmentations.

These hormones appear to contribute to the increase in production of melanin- the pigment that darkens skin.

hormones in contraception however, can trigger a condition called melasma

Unfortunately, both hormones in contraception- oestrogen and progesterone- are associated with this and it tends to persist as long as you are on the medication. It can take several years to fully resolve once it is stopped.

This is also because, the cause of melasma tends to be multifactorial- it runs in families and is more common in those with a thyroid problem – hypothyroidism.

We can sometimes be distressed by this so it is worth speaking to your health care professional about treatment options available to prevent new ones from forming. It is worth noting that it can respond very slowly to treatment.

READ MORE: Sunscreen, redness & vitamin D – 12 surprising facts about the sun and your skin

deyo skin pigmentation pregnancy

Cause #2 You are pregnant

Hormones change with pregnancy and most women find they experience a change in their complexion and skin. Previously known as ‘the mask of pregnancy’,  melasma is also more common during this time and tends to resolve with one year of giving birth.

Skin tags, soft non-worrying skin growths, can also come up for the first time around the neck, armpits and groin. Because blood circulation is increased during pregnancy, you can also develop very small blood vessels within the skin that look like red spots.

Acne and its associated post inflammation darker pigment changes can initially worsen and then improve as you progress.

you can also develop very small blood vessels within the skin that look like red spots

Though best to avoid drugs in pregnancy, some topical treatments have been deemed safe to use to treat acne and include the fruit acids and azelaic acid.

Having touched on some of the skin changes during pregnancy, most tend to resolve post delivery.

Cause #3 Your alcohol intake is often above the limit

The effects of alcohol on the skin is broad- ranging, from its immediate effects such as making blood vessels on the skin (such as due to rosacea) more prominent to changes that suggest chronic damage to the internal organs from alcohol to skin cancer.

can cause our palms to go red and also darken the skin around the eyes, mouth and leg

With its effects on our livers, chronically drinking above the recommended allowance can increase the number of spider blood vessels (called spider angiomas), mainly around the upper part of our bodies. It can cause our palms to go red and also darken the skin around the eyes, mouth and legs.

We can also become deficient in vitamins and nutrients resulting in dry skin ad well as prominent hair follicles on the skin which can appear darker and rough.

Vitamin A, B, C and zinc are vital to maintaining healthy looking skin and  if our digestion and  liver  isn’t working properly, we may not absorb them properly.

READ MORE: Melasma, freckles & SPF – 6 ways to care for your skin in time for Summer

deyo skin pigmentation tanning

Cause #4 You sun bathe or use tanning salons often

When the sun is out in London, we cannot hide our excitement and forget sunscreen. Our faces, in particular are at risk and can age faster than it should. This is known as photo-ageing and is due to damage from three types of radiation from the sun- UVA, UVB and infrared-A.

Not only does it cause fine lines and wrinkles, it also causes increased pigment in the skin because the tanning cells (melanocytes) in the skin become over active.

This leads to freckles, lentigo (age spots), brown warty lesions (seborrheoic keratosis) which do no harm and lighter spots known as  hypomelanosis (once the cells are damaged).

It is important to regularly check your skin for spots especially if you are fair skinned

If the hair follicles get affected, they can become blocked with dead skin cells and damaged protein and result in black and whiteheads (comedones) and bumps.

Skin cancer is one we worry about and as sun ages the skin, it also affects its immune system. It is important to regularly check your skin for spots especially if you are fair skinned, over 40, work outdoors or been badly sunburned before.

See your doctor if you have any growing lumps, sores that don’t heal, new spots or for a general check. Sun protection, sun screen, moisturising, eating a healthy diet and regular exercise is vital. Active people look younger!

Cause #5 You’re on medication

With its numerous benefits on pain, fever and inflammation, a common medication which is available over the counter, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are one of the commonest drug to cause skin side effects.

Topical preparations can cause inflammation and as it heals, pigment changes,  when skin it has been applied to is exposed to the sun. Taken orally, it can also cause a widespread rash, hives, skin  photosensitivity and allergies, to name a few.

Other medications including antimalarials, anti-epileptics and antipsychotics can also contribute to increased pigmentation in parts of the skin.

These changes are often harmless and usually settle over time once the medication is stopped. If you are concerned about any medication contributing to this, it is worth discussing it with your doctor prior to discontinuing the medication.

READ MORE:10 ways to protect yourself against pollution 

deyo skin pigmentation polution

Cause #6 You’re exposed to environmental toxins

Just as the sun contributes to premature ageing, research suggests that air pollution also has an impact on how the skin ages.

Particles in smog, smoke and air pollution are thought to create the same reaction on the skin as ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Once they get onto the skin, the end result is accelerated skin aging with wrinkles, and pigment changes on the skin.

This is particularly important in big cities such as London as the air quality tends to be worse than the countryside. Research suggests that there is more facial dyspigmentation in individuals who dwell in cities in comparison to those who live in rural areas.

A way of combating this premature agEing is to wash your face regularly and have a diet rich in antioxidants.

READ MORE: Could the new collagen diet help you lose weight and get glowing skin?


Cause #7 You’re handling aggravating food (really)

Some food and plants have certain substances in them that when we touch them and then expose ourselves to the sun, can cause a skin reaction and inflammation known as phytophotodermatitis hyperpigmentation.

This tends to occur only on the affected skin. The area can feel like a sunburn and then eventually turn brown.

The main chemical in the plant is called furoocoumarin and is found in plants such as celery, parsnips, parsley some citrus fruits such as lime and figs.

To prevent this from happening, it is best to wash your hands after handling these foods.


Deyo Famuboni is a London GP.

Fasting for weight loss - the nutritionist's guide FEATURED

Fasting for weight loss – the nutritionist’s guide

Fasting for weight loss is now a well-known fact in the world of nutrition. But fasting has more than just weight loss benefits – Nutritionist May Simpkin shares a guide on intermittent fasting

We’re always told breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

But is it really? There’s actually plenty of research pointing to the benefits of skipping breakfast and following an intermittent fasting regime.

Fasting has been used for thousands of years

This isn’t news to nutritionist May Simpkin, who says the benefits of restricting calories on health and extending life span are well established.

‘Fasting has been used for thousands of years for spiritual and health benefits and has become popular in recent times due to the celebrity endorsement of intermittent fasting, aka the 5:2 diet,’ explains Simpkin.

‘Although dietary advice has long focused on eating regular low-fat meals, Intermittent Fasting (IF) and the 5:2’s counterintuitive approach to weight loss has attracted thousands of women and men.’

May Simpkin outlines the different benefits…

Benefit #1 It helps aid weight loss

Weight loss tends to be the most common reason for intermittent fasting. This fasting approach works on the notion of restricting your energy intake to certain times and in doing so, the research suggests it to be an effective way to lose body fat.

After a meal, the digestive system processes the food you have just eaten; digesting and absorbing, so that the body can use the nutrients the food has provided.

This process takes around four to five hours, during which time the body will prioritise using the carbohydrates provided as part of this meal as its preferred energy source, rather than rely on fat stored in the body.

Following a meal, insulin levels will be high and when insulin levels are high, the body is less likely to use fat as fuel. However, after this point, the body will need to use its fat stores as a source of energy, which will result in weight loss.

READ MORE: I lost over two stone on the fasting-mimicking diet

weight loss, why fasting works if you're looking to lose weight by healthista

Benefit #2 It can improve glucose tolerance

Insulin resistance is generally caused as a result of the body’s reduced ability to remove excess glucose from the blood either because insufficient insulin is released or the glucose receptors have become less sensitive.

Excess glucose will be converted to fat and stored in tissues not suitable for fat storage. As the body uses fat as a fuel during intermittent fasting, fat stores will reduce allowing the cells to regain insulin function and glucose sensitivity.

Having a regular routine, with strict eating times, can simplify your day to day life

Studies show that IF can improve many health parameters especially in pre-diabetic and insulin resistant people, where a caloric restriction can avoid the need to use medication.

Further findings also suggest that short term intermittent fasting may be a safe and tolerable dietary intervention for those already diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and may improve body weight and fasting glucose levels.

Benefit #3 It can help you look younger

Researcher Dr Rozalyn Anderson made the bold claim that people are often unaware of the ‘amazing fact’ that wrinkles are inevitable in the most recent edition of The Journal of Gerontology. And it only comes down to calorie restriction, according to growing evidence.

One landmark study earlier this year that showed adults age 0.6 years slower if they eat 25 per cent less calories each day – roughly 1875 for men and 1,500 for women.

adults age 0.6 years slower if they eat 25 per cent less calories each day

‘One of the things that people sometimes miss is the amazing fact that aging can be altered; caloric restriction research proves this’, said Dr Anderson, who was also behind promising research in January that revealed fasting in middle age can help people to live longer.

‘By reducing calories, the body is able to use energy from food differently, become more resilient, and ‘instead of fighting cancer or cardiovascular disease individually, target the full spectrum of disease simultaneously’.

Benefit #4 It helps to establish a routine

Although it can be difficult to establish a new way of eating in conjunction with family or work commitments at the outset, once you’ve developed a plan that works, tweaking and adjusting to suit your lifestyle, it’ll soon simply become the way you eat, in terms of timings and good quality meal choices.

Understanding your body’s genuine hunger signals and not confusing them with cravings often associated with the consumption of too many processed foods will give you greater understanding of your body and improve your confidence to maintain healthy habits.

Having a regular routine, with strict eating times, can simplify your day to day life especially if you’re feeling good for it.

READ MORE: ‘Ditch FAD diets’ says Dr Michael Mosley – plus 7 healthy recipes for the New Year

clock vegetables, why fasting works for weight loss by healthista

Benefit #5 It improves your skin health

Many skin conditions can be alleviated by eating a good quality diet, high in vegetables and fibre and avoiding processed foods.

To ensure adequate nutrients with IF, you will need to avoid these pro-inflammatory foods that offer little nutritive value and in doing so, you will reduce inflammation, often associated with skin conditions such as acne and eczema.

Many skin conditions can be alleviated by eating a good quality diet

Furthermore, if you suspect your skin condition is exacerbated by a specific food sensitivity or intolerance, eliminating this food during a fast will offer you the opportunity to re-introduce a food one at a time afterwards, to establish if it is the culprit.

Benefit #6 It makes you more resistance to health conditions

Intermittent Fasting’s ability to reduce weight will result in lower body fat. This has further benefits to many health outcomes including improving heart function, helping to prevent cancer and generally improved immune health.

Benefit #7 It will help you focus

Being in control of regulating your food intake also makes you more aware of your body. This deepened sense of understanding and connection can help reduce stress and anxiety and allow you to have a clear mind to focus.

READ MORE: Boost immunity in just 10 minutes with these 5 simple breathing exercises

heart function doctor, why fasting works for weight loss by healthista

How to fast for weight loss

Around 12 hours after the meal, when the meal has been completely processed and absorbed and assuming no further food has been eaten, the body has a chance to rebalance when it will then need to rely on its fat stores for energy to keep the body natural processes working efficiently. It is only at this stage that the body will start to release fat for use as fuel.

With modern eating patterns relying on not only three meals a day but often with snacks in between, it is easy to see how this fasting state is rarely achieved.

This therefore also means that insulin levels are invariably high as a result of this regular eating pattern, increasing the burden on the pancreas, which is the organ that releases insulin, as well as putting increased pressure on the insulin receptors that are bombarded with insulin throughout the day.

These reasons, amongst others, have contributed to the rise in the development of Type 2 Diabetes in recent years.

Intermittent Fasting should be viewed as a long term lifestyle choice rather than a crash diet

Thus a simple shift in our eating patterns can result in not only a reduction in the number of calories consumed, which helps our ‘calories in vs calories out’ energy balance equation, but also provides the body with a chance to recuperate and rebalance without having to focus on the digestive process and therefore reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Working fasting into your life

Intermittent Fasting should be viewed as a long term lifestyle choice rather than a crash diet. Otherwise, it is likely that you will regain any weight lost if you resume your original eating habits.

It is also essential that you make healthy food choices; ensuring good nutrition is vital when fasting to ensure the body’s processes are taking place efficiently and effectively. Thus, planning your meals to make sure you are getting adequate nutrients is very important.

READ MORE: 12 weight loss tips this nutritionist has heard that ACTUALLY work

nutritious food, why fasting works for weight loss by healthista

There are 2 ways to successfully achieve this pattern of eating:

#1 The daily approach

The simple concept is to aim to fast every day for 16 to 18 hours a day and only consume your food in the remaining 6 to 8 hours.

For example, if you eat your evening meal at 6:00pm, then you would not eat your next meal until at least 12:00pm the following day, allowing an 18 hour fast in between.

#2 The weekly approach

This suggests that you eat normally five days a week and fast for two days, preferably consecutive days a week, reducing your calorie intake for those two days to a ¼ of their normal level (500 calories for women, 600 for men).

As long as you avoid bingeing for five days and starving for the other two, evidence suggests this can be effective as part of a longer-term weight management strategy.

READ MORE: Calorie Deficit – how to gradually reduce calories for weight loss

eating fruit, why fasting works for weight loss by healthista

Putting it into practice

To start with, increase the gap between dinner and breakfast. If you’re not hungry you could skip breakfast altogether; going from dinner to lunch works best.

Consider the ideal ratio of 16:8 hours, this means you’d be eating a lower-calorie but nutrient dense diet within the eight-hour window. Typically, this would be from midday until eight o’clock at night. Spread this over two meals and then fast until lunch the following day.

Factoring in a daily brisk walk will help to speed up your metabolism and maintain muscle mass

Repeat this routine at least two to three times per week. If you feel hungry any time outside of the eight-hour window, distract yourself with an activity or task so that you’re not so aware of the hunger pangs. Factoring in a daily brisk walk will help to speed up your metabolism and maintain muscle mass.

If you’re opting for the weekly approach, do not fast for longer than three days in a row to avoid a significant reduction in your metabolism and to protect against muscle loss. If you’ve embarked on this approach on a long-term basis, including a cheat day every now and again is not a problem!

READ MORE: Walking as therapy – 5 reasons Britain’s favourite nature presenter loves it

brisk walk, why fasting works for weight loss by healthista

5 ways to fast smart

There are a number of ways to make sure your meal provides the balance of nutrients whilst ensuring you are satiated.

  • Try a protein shake as a healthy option as a convenient meal alternative.
  • Include at least two to three portions of vegetables with each meal and two to three portions of fruit per day.
  • Include protein with every meal – this means meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, pulses – will help you stay full and avoid cravings.
  • Include more healthy fats in your diet – foods such as olive oil, butter, avocado, nuts and seeds are a great place to start.
  • Reduce your intake of carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, potatoes and rice as well as those naughty sugary foods that we love like cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolates and desserts.
  • In an ideal world, you should completely avoid alcohol but making a significant reduction of your intake is also great.

On the topic of drinks, make sure you have plenty of fluids that don’t contain (or have very few) calories including water and herbal teas during your fasting periods.

Steer clear of fizzy drinks and fruit juices and instead opt for energising Matcha tea or refreshing green tea with mint instead. Coffee and a builders brew shouldn’t necessarily be avoided but they should definitely be drank in moderation.

READ MORE: 8 best-tasting green teas for people who don’t actually like green tea

green tea, why fasting works for weight loss by healthista

Who shouldn’t fast?

  • People who are underweight; restricting calories may result in further weight loss
  • Children – their nutrient and energy requirements are different to adults and fasting may not allow a child to thrive
  • Pregnant or breast feeding mothers – pregnancy is a time to ensure good nutrients and adequate calories for a growing baby.
  • If you have an eating disorder, this is not for you. Even if you have struggled with an eating disorder in the past, you may find adopting an eating pattern that restricts food may trigger a relapse.
  • If you’re recovering from surgery. Restricting nutrient intake and energy production may impair repair after surgery
  • If you are feeling unwell or have a fever; it is important to listen to your body and avoid fasting if your body is not in optimal health
  • If you are taking any prescribed medications, Type 1 diabetics and diabetics on insulin; it is essential to consult with your GP before embarking on any weight loss programme

may-simpkin-headshot-6-lunch-mistakes-that-are-making-you-fat-by-healthista-comMay Simpkin is a UK registered practitioner with a Masters Science degree in Personalised Nutrition. She is an experienced clinician, practicing functional medicine from an evidence base, providing the latest research into nutrition.

She is bound by the code of ethics in clinical practice and has met the strict criteria required for BANT, the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy and the CNHCComplementary and Natural Healthcare Council, which is the council recommended by the UK Department of Health for complementary and natural healthcare services.

For more information on how to lose weight, nutrient-rich recipes, and ideas visit or Follow May on Instagram: @maysimpkinnutrition or Twitter @MaySimpkin or Facebook 


5 symptoms of vitamin D deficiency that are ruining your wellbeing

From recurring colds to constant fatigue – symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are those common, pesky niggles most of us live with every day.  But a simple test and supplement could help

It’s often called the sunshine vitamin because unlike other nutrients, vitamin D is not provided by food but made when our skin is exposed to the sun.

But, even with the summer we’re had, Brits are dangerously deficient in this crucial vitamin. In fact, it’s estimated that a staggering one in five adults and one in six children do not have adequate levels of vitamin D.

Children no longer play outside like they used to and so many of us work inside, so we’re seeing a rising problem of vitamin D deficiency

‘Not only have we got the British weather to deal with but we’re living an increasingly indoor life,’ says nutritionist Kim Pearson.

‘Children no longer play outside like they used to, opting for iPads and games indoors and so many of us work inside all day, so we’re seeing a rising problem of vitamin D deficiency.’

Those at risk, she explains, include anyone with darker skin types, as the darker your skin, the harder you will find it to synthesise vitamin D. Others at risk include pregnant and breastfeeding women and those who cover their skin for religious purposes.

‘I regularly test my client’s vitamin D levels and of the last 20 clients that I have tested, six were deficient, six had suboptimal levels and just eight had optimal levels. Those with optimal levels were usually either supplementing, or spent a significant amount of time abroad in sunnier places’.

This is a serious public health issue as a lack of vitamin D long-term has been found to increase risk of cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.  On a more everyday level, many of the symptoms that confound doctors could be signs of vitamin D deficiency.

Here are the key signs and symptoms…

#1 You get frequent infections

Vitamin D is vital to the health of the immune system. ‘Without sufficient amounts, our immune cells are unable to react appropriately leaving us more susceptible to infection,’ says Pearson.

‘Vitamin D is essential to the function of two essential parts of the immune system, adaptive and innate immunity.’

Adaptive immunity is that which remembers viruses you have had – for example, chicken pox – and ensures you don’t get them again. Your innate immune system is present in places like inside your nose and is there to guard against everyday infections. Both are essential and both need adequate levels of vitamin D to function, says Pearson.

If you feel like you’re always catching any infection going and/or it takes you longer than most to shake it, get tested.

Now, scientists are studying the role played by vitamin D deficiency in an increased risk of cancer, in particular colorectal, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers.

#2 You get depressed

‘Vitamin D is understood to play a key role in maintaining healthy levels of serotonin in the brain,’ says Pearson.

‘These are neurotransmitters in the brain that are essential to mood and deficiencies have been associated with depression.’

In 2014, researched published in the journal Medical Hypotheses looked at 100 scientific papers on vitamin D and found a specific link between vitamin D deficiency and Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD which happens when people experience low mood during the winter months, thanks to a lack of light and sunshine.

‘Vitamin D levels fluctuate in the body seasonally, in direct relation to seasonally available sunlight,’ said research Alan Stewart of the University of Georgia College of Education.

‘For example, studies show there is a lag of about eight weeks between the peak in intensity of ultraviolet radiation and the onset of SAD, and this correlates with the time it takes for UV radiation to be processed by the body into vitamin D’.

READ MORE: 5 signs of vitamin D deficiency affecting your wellbeing
If you’re always tired, you might benefit from a vitamin D test

#3 You’re literally ALWAYS tired

‘Vitamin D is essential for converting food into energy,’ says Pearson. ‘If you’re always tired, a lack of this vitamin could mean you’re not assimilating nutrients from your food and your body’s cellular ability to make energy from what you eat is compromised thanks to a lack of vitamin D’.

This vitamin she explains, is essential to the functioning  and the efficiency of mitochondria (known as cell batteries) within the muscles.

The good news is, this can be quickly remedied by supplementation. A double-blind placebo controlled randomized clinical trial published last year in the journal Medicine found that vitamin D supplementation significantly improved fatigue levels.

#4 You have joint pains or weak bones

Vitamin D is essential to help regulate calcium and phosphate levels in the body, giving it a key role in the functioning of joints, muscles and teeth and adequate levels help ward off osteomalacia (soft bones) and osteoporosis (loss of bone density) in later life.

‘When you’re running low on vitamin D, your bones can weaken increasing your risk of stress fractures,’ says Pearson.

‘This is related to vitamin D’s essential role in regulating calcium uptake. People often think about calcium for bones, but they’re rarely aware that vitamin D is essential to calcium’s absorption.’

One study in 2014 predicted that adults with a vitamin D deficiency who are older than 50 are more likely to develop pain in their hip and knee joints and also noted that the pain is more likely to get worse if the deficiency isn’t treated with supplementation.

READ MORE: 5 natural fixes for joint pain proven by science

woman running legs, symptoms of vitamin D deficiency by Healthista
Aches and pains in the joints and muscles are tell tale signs of a deficiency

#5 Your muscles hurt

Vitamin D supports muscle function because receptors for it are located all over the body, including in the muscles.  ‘Having lots of general muscle aches is often the first tell tale sign of a deficiency’, says Pearson.

Vitamin D enters muscle cells when it is metabolized, enhancing muscle contractions, which is vital for preventing falls and for building muscle strength and bones through exercise.

In fact, researchers have found links between chronic pain that doesn’t respond to treatment and vitamin D deficiency and supplementation has been shown to help.

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?

Having optimal vitamin D levels depends on your skin’s ability to produce enough when you’re exposed to the sun.

Those with darker skins naturally produce less vitamin D, as the melanin in their skin naturally provides more protection against UV rays.

This means those with lighter skins must spend more time in the sun than those with lighter skins to get adequate amounts. Others at risk of deficiency include:

  • Elderly people who are housebound and in care homes
  • Office workers who spend most of their days inside
  • People who cover up for religious purposes
  • People who work night shifts and sleep during the day
  • Anyone whose lifestyle prevents them from getting outside regularly

One study showed that nurses who had worked night shifts for over 20 years had a higher incidence of wrist and hip fractures over an 8-year follow up period.

The overwhelming evidence prompted the researchers to link the nurses’ lack of sun exposure and therefore vitamin D levels with a reduction in bone and muscle strength.

READ MORE: Sunscreen, redness & vitamin D – 12 surprising facts about the sun and your skin

vitamin D testing kit

Getting tested

Your GP can test your vitamin D levels.

But if that’s too much hassle, a simple at-home test can also do the trick. Reputable vitamin company BetterYou distributes a Vitamin D at home test kit on behalf of the NHS which can help you determine your vitamin D levels and provide advice on how best to optimise your levels, based on your results.

They also offer a complimentary vitamin D daily oral spray product to everyone who uses the home test kit. Buy the BetterYou Vitamin D Testing Service £34.95 from the BetterYou website.

How to increase your vitamin D levels

Most people can make enough vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for short periods of about 20 minutes at a time with their forearms, hands or lower legs uncovered and without sunscreen from late March or early April to the end of September, especially from 11am to 3pm, says Pearson.

People with dark skin, such as those of African, African-Caribbean or south Asian origin, will need to spend longer in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D as someone with lighter skin.

Some foods are rich in vitamin D – though they won’t provide anywhere near what you get from sunlight –   and these include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna as well as egg yolks, cheese, liver and foods fortified with vitamin D such as some cereals, dairy products, soy milks and cereals.

What about supplements?

BetterYou DLux3000 oral vitamin D spray is a high dose vitamin D supplement which is efficiently absorbed through the inner cheek and doesn’t need food or water to take. (Also available to buy on Amazon in the US).

A study published in The Nutritional Journal showed that vitamin absorption via an oral spray was 2.5 times more effective than vitamin capsules.

Moreover, in 2012 researchers at Cardiff University, when testing BetterYou’s DLux vitamin D oral sprays, found that absorption within the inner cheek was far superior to the more traditional digestive route of tablets and capsules.