With healthy living on many people’s minds now that spring has sprung and the time for wearing a bikini is rapidly approaching, lots of us will be considering making changes to our diet.

According to herbalist and nutritional therapist Andrew Johnson, the best way to start is to boost the immune system to stave off illnesses, and there are herbal supplements available to help get good results.

"[A] good one would be to consider turmeric. It’s pretty safe for most people, though if anyone’s on prescription medicine they need to check with their doctor to make sure it’s alright," he commented.

The herb has been used for more than 4,000 years to treat all sorts of ailments, from stomach problems to skin diseases and wounds.

Under Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine, the bright yellow foodstuff is thought to be an effective anti-inflammatory, so is often used to combat digestive and liver conditions.

"Turmeric is something of a panacea for the immune system, detox and stuff like that. It’s a pretty amazing thing, so that’s another one I’d recommend people consider," Mr Johnson said.

"People will probably get a better effect if they take it in capsules rather than cooked, but it also works in cooking. Add it to the end of cooking if you like, so it’s not heated so much."

The active ingredient curcumin, which is found in the roots and bulbs of the turmeric plant, is also known to have antioxidant properties and these fight free radicals in the body.

Turmeric can also be used as a natural beauty product, as actress Thandie Newton has shown.

Speaking last week, the former ER star explained that she adds the spice to her moisturiser to help match her skin tone.

"That’s a great trick for all women who find that foundations are too ashy or too pink for their skin. And it’s anti-inflammatory as well. It really is my secret beauty weapon," she said.

Posted by Matilda Jones