Top Tips For Runners—beginners, marathoners, and everyone in between!

Last Thursday I donned my brand new Asics trainers and headed out to the Blanchardstown indoor arena with over 100 other runners to meet and run with the gorgeous Paula Radcliffe. My goodness she really is a superstar. Lovely and open, she posed beside each and every one of us would-be marathon runners for a picture and seemed very happy to do so.  She then answered our questions in an informal Q&A session bestowing upon us her in depth knowledge of the sport that is endurance running.

laura 2

Her main take home points were:

  • Quality not quantity running- obviously putting in the miles is important but what is more important is varying the route, surface and pace at which you run.
  • Eating very soon after a long run is a must- prepare a meal before you go out for your run so that you just have to reheat it. Paula said she always eats within 5 minutes of returning home from a run. She advises not to forget to include protein in this meal for muscle recovery- even if this only involves a handful of nuts.
  • Ice baths are great for reducing inflammation in the limbs after a run and allow the muscles and joints to recover much quicker. Paula said that at the height of her training she would get into an ice bath as soon as possible after a run with a nice cup of hot tea!

Paula has had ongoing problems with arthritis in her foot for many years but since she started taking Revive Active Joint Complex she has felt a considerable reduction in the pain that this causes her.

I myself have run long distances on and off over many years. I tend to pick it up a bit more during the spring and summer months and retire my trainers to the wardrobe during the winter due to the shorter daylight hours. I do try to muster a 10k every couple of weeks though as I absolutely adore the freedom of running.  The endorphins that flood my body after a long run are like no other exercise. I also practice yoga to keep my ligaments and muscles long, lean and strong and swim for cardio. I find that both of these activities compliment my running, particularly yoga as one definitely needs a weight bearing exercise (says Queen Paula!) and yoga provides me with this. I also take Revive Active everyday as it gives me the energy that I need to work, be a Mum and do the occasional 5k run with Paula Radcliffe!

It is very important if you are a newbie to running that you take it easy at first and build your distances up gradually. There is no point over doing it at the start as you are highly likely to injure yourself. Start with one, two then three kilometer distances every couple of days. You will be surprised how quickly your stamina and fitness will build (the downside of this of course is that your fitness reduces quickly too if you miss a couple of weeks-you have been warned!) Make sure you get plenty of sleep. A nap in the middle of the day is ideal, but you would probably not be considered an ideal employee if you were doing this regularly! Of course you also need to fuel your body with the right nutrients- a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meat is perfect. A high quality Vitamin and Mineral supplement can only compliment this. Finally, enjoy it! Running can help you to look AND feel great. It’s the perfect exercise for your mind, body and soul!

Written by Laura Dowling, Pharmacist in LloydsPharmacy Stillorgan S.C

Advertisements

Supporting Irish National Breastfeeding Week – Planning to Breastfeed?

If you are planning to breastfeed your baby, you are providing nature’s own immunisation protecting baby against a wide variety of illness and conditions. It’s designed perfectly to meet your baby’s every need. It’s ready when baby needs it at the perfect temperature and comes neatly packaged with no need to sterilise!

Your breastmilk contains essential enzymes, hormones and immunoglobulins vital for your baby’s normal growth, development and good health. And despite decades of research by formula companies, science still cannot replicate the wonders of your own breastmilk.

Breastfeeding is the ideal start for your baby. The goodness of breastfeeding will last you both a lifetime, it’s probably one of the single most important things you can do for you and your baby’s health. Breastmilk gives your baby all the food and drink they need for the first six months of life, and continues to be an important part of their diet, as other foods are given, for up to two years of age and beyond.

(Source: The benefits of Breastfeeding: a DOH initiative.)

BREASTFEEDING-facebook

While breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, it is a skill that you and your baby develop over the first days and weeks.  One way to help you prepare is to go to breastfeeding classes held by lactation consultants and midwives.  Ensure that you pack your hospital bag with Multi Mam Compresses to relieve soreness immediately and help prevent the occurrence of mastitis.  Also have Multi Mam Lanolin and Balm to help condition your nipples to prevent soreness and irritation.

multi mam group image

Your must do’s to avoid catching the FLU!

blog 3

Rebecca, Pharmacist Castletroy

It’s that time of year again, kids are gone back to school, the days are becoming colder, the evenings shorter and we’ve the winter season of illnesses ahead. Whether it’s the (slightly suspicious) man-flu or the extremely more serious swine and bird flu’s seen in recent years, nobody wants to contract the flu, whatever strains are in circulation. So what exactly is flu and can we do anything to avoid it?

Flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus that affects all age groups. Flu symptoms can range in severity from mild/moderate to severe and even fatal. They can include sudden fever, chills, cough, headache, tiredness, aching muscles and joint pain, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhoea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. For most, it leads to 3-4 days miserable in bed and up to a further week recovering. Unfortunately some more at-risk patients can develop bacterial chest infection complications leading to pneumonia that can occasionally be fatal. Between 200 to 500 people, mainly elderly, die from the flu and flu-related illnesses in Ireland each year.

How can we avoid it or reduce the spread of it?

  1. Get ourselves vaccinated every year in our local pharmacy or GP surgery (keep reading for more on this).
  2. Wash our hands vigorously for 15 seconds with soap and warm water or alcohol based hand cleaners.
  3. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze ideally using a disposable tissue.
  4. Avoid close contact especially in crowded public places or wear a mask!
  5. Get regular exercise. Research has shown that those who exercise 4 to 5 times per week are less likely to contract the flu.

The flu virus changes and mutates rapidly and so, a new version of the flu vaccine is offered in Ireland every year. Each version normally protects against the three strains of flu predicted to be most prevalent in the forthcoming winter season. The HSE and Healthcare professionals urge people in at-risk groups to get vaccinated each year. This includes:

  •  people aged 65 and older
  •  patients with long-term medical conditions a such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, liver, kidney or neurological disease
  •  people with a body mass index (BMI) over 40
  •  those with an impaired immune system due to disease or medication including all cancer patients
  •  pregnant women at any stage in pregnancy
  •  those residing in nursing homes and other long stay institutions
  •  health care workers and carers
  •  people with regular close contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs.

The vaccine works by stimulating our immune system to produce antibodies to the flu virus. If exposed to the flu, these antibodies attack the virus. Because it takes time for our immune system to produce these antibodies, it is generally two weeks before the vaccine starts to work. The vaccine cannot cause the flu as it contains killed or inactivated viruses. The most common side effects of the vaccine are mild and can include soreness, redness or swelling where the injection was given. Headache, fever, aches and tiredness may occur.

The vaccine is free to all those in the at-risk groups. The consultation by the pharmacist or doctor is free for those with a medical card or GP visit card. Pharmacists and doctors charge a consultation fee to those without a medical or GP visit card.

Many LloydsPharmacies up and down the country from Donegal to Cork offer the flu vaccination to anyone over the age of 18 wishing to avail of it. Please phone or call in to your local LloydsPharmacy for any information on the flu vaccine or to make an appointment in a participating store to be vaccinated by one of our expert LloydsPharmacy Pharmacists.

The ins and outs of Ireland’s 2 most prolific STIs

With 6 out of 10 Irish people admitting they have never had a sexual health check-up, LetsGetChecked convenient and confidential sexual health testing service is available through LloydsPharmacy Ireland to provide you with greater access to getting tested.  Due to our hesitation in getting tested, below you will find more information on two of Ireland’s most prolific STIs, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, symptoms, and why you need to get tested!

Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs in Ireland and according to LetsGetChecked Medical Director, Dr Dominic Rowley, chlamydia is rapidly on the rise. It is incredibly easy to transmit and can be transmitted through oral, anal and vaginal sex; as well as by skin to skin contact.

Chlamydia is often referred to as the “silent STI” as it often does not cause any symptoms whatsoever, which increases the chances of it spreading to a new sexual partner. The lack of symptoms can often lead to a false sense of security and lead to complications if the infection is not detected. Symptoms for chlamydia are different for men and women, for men symptoms can be painful urination, unusual discharge, pain in the testicles, or anal discharge.

For women, it is important to know that 80% of women infected with chlamydia experience no symptoms at all. The only way to know for sure if they are infected is to get tested. However, if they do experience symptoms, these are some symptoms are painful urination, cloudy urine, abnormal vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding during intercourse or between periods, and pain during sex.

Chlamydia is very simple and easy to treat. The treatment is a once off course of antibiotics. If the infection is a more complex, for example, if a woman has pelvic pain or if the infection is found in the throat or the anal region, a more extensive course of antibiotics may be required.

Chlamydia diagnosis relies upon a laboratory test, all of LetsGetChecked sexual health tests are designed to test for chlamydia.

Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is a STI that can infect both men and women, which causes infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. Gonorrhoea is spread by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the STI. As with most STIs, it is incredibly easy to transmit and often presents no symptoms in women and men.

Some men show these symptoms, a burning sensation when urinating, a white/green discharge from the penis, or painful or swollen testicles. Most women who have gonorrhoea do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. If left untreated, gonorrhoea can develop into serious complications in women, such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and long-term pelvic pain. Symptoms for women to look out for include pain when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, and vaginal bleeding between periods.

Gonorrhoea can easily be treated when detected; however, it is important that you take all of your prescribed medication. To test for gonorrhoea you can purchase any of the LetsGetChecked sexual health tests from LloydsPharmacy Ireland or you can visit your local clinic.

1

How to Practice Safe Sex?

There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of contracting an STI, safer sex is all about protecting yourself and your partners from STIs. STIs are extremely infectious, anybody who has oral, anal, or vaginal sex, or genital skin-to-skin contact with another person can get an STI.

First, as many STIs present no symptoms, it is important to go for regular tests. We recommend that you should get tested every time you enter and leave a new sexual relationship. Condoms are still considered one of the best ways to practice safe sex. When worn correctly, a condom is extremely effective in preventing the transmission of STIs. The wonderful thing about condoms is that they are cheap, and are readily available.

STIs can be easily transmitted through the sharing of sex toys, sterilising toys after each use and using condoms with them will result in safer sex for you. Open communication between yourself and your partner will assess your risk of STIs, when was the last time either of you were tested?

LetsGetChecked sexual health tests are available in LloydsPharmacy Ireland and your results are available within 2-5 working days from when your sample is received in the laboratory. Visit LloydsPharmacy.ie/LetsGetChecked to purchase your convenient and confidential at-home test today.

Trying for a Baby? – How you can give you and your partner the best chance to conceive.

If you and your partner are in good health, you will improve your chances of getting pregnant and of having a healthy pregnancy.  You can also help yourselves by taking fertility supplements.

76% of Irish women who are trying to conceive believe taking a fertility supplement can help them conceive*.

What factors can affect the chance of having a baby?

Medical issues

Medical issues such as diabetes, asthma and being overweight can affect your pregnancy.

Diet and Exercise

Being overweight – For women if your body mass index (BMI) is between 20 and 25 you have a healthy weight.  Women whose BMI is more than 30 or under 19 may find their fertility levels suffer.  If a men’s BMI is more than 30, his fertility may be lower than normal.

It is important to be active for general feeling of wellness.  Being active and fitter helps with stamina and ability to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life.

Alcohol and smoking

Excessive alcohol drinking may affect the quality of a man’s sperm and smoking may reduce fertility in women.

Age can be a factor

For women, the most fertile period is in their mid –twenties and fertility starts to decrease after the age of 35.

For men, sperm is strongest in their mid-twenties and starts to decrease after the age of 40.

The importance of taking a good quality fertility supplement with the right ingredients and dosage levels.

While it is so important to do the best you can by eating well and exercising moderately, you can also help yourself and your partner by taking a high quality fertility supplement when trying for a baby.   It is very difficult, in today’s environment to get all the nutrients we need from food.

Indeed, the latest research amongst Irish women trying for a baby show that 76% of them believe in the importance of taking a nutritional supplement to aid conception*.

PROCEIVE is the new Irish Fertility Supplement specially made for men and women who wish to have a baby. It contains 33 nutrients, vitamins and minerals, at high quality dosage levels.  Each nutrient performs a role in maximising the quality of the eggs (for women) and the quality of the sperm (for men).

proceive range

Talk to your LloydsPharmacy teams – we are trained extensively in the value of nutrition and can give you helpful advice, recommend the correct fertility supplement to take in a safe, discreet and caring manner.

Don’t miss our Fabulous Pharmacist Laura Dowling who will be part of a panel discussing Fertility on Ireland AM on Monday 24th July at 9.20am.

*Source Mummy Pages July 2017/ http://www.proceive.ie

Strawberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt Terrine

Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries etc) are by far the most nutrient dense of all fruits, and there is now solid evidence that the plant compounds and antioxidants found in berries may protect the brain from age-related disease. Strawberries are an exceptionally rich source of antioxidants associated with numerous health benefits from heart health, lowering blood sugar and helping to prevent cancer. Strawberries are particularly high in vitamin C (a potent antioxidant), manganese (important for multiple biological processes), folate (essential for cell function and tissue growth) and potassium (regulates blood pressure).  I use non-fat Greek yogurt for this recipe as fat is added-back using hazelnuts (hazelnuts, like olive oil, contain healthier monounsaturated fatty acids). Dark chocolate is of course a delicious, nutrient dense add-on but feel free to leave it out if you prefer.  The terrine can be prepared up to 1 week in advance and stored in the freezer.

Serves 8 | Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes + 8hrs to set | Rating: Moderate

You Will Need:

  • 1x 8-by-4-inch loaf tin
  • Plastic wrap
  • 2x 500g tubs of 0% fat Greek yogurt (or shop bought plain frozen yogurt, softened slightly)
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 250g fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 60g chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 50g 85% cacao dark chocolate

Method:

  1. Line an 8-by-4 inch loaf tin with plastic wrap, leaving a few inches of overhang all around.
  2. In a bowl combine the yogurt (or softened frozen yogurt), honey and vanilla and set aside (*see recipe notes).
  3. Blend the strawberries with a splash of water until pureed.
  4. Fold the strawberry puree gently into the yogurt to create a marble effect (don’t stir through completely).
  5. Pour half of the yogurt & strawberry mixture into the loaf tin. Tap the tin gently onto an even surface to distribute the mixture (store the rest of the yogurt in the fridge until ready to use for the second layer).
  6. Sprinkle the hazelnuts on top to cover the yogurt completely. Then roughly chop the dark chocolate and do the same.
  7. Cover lightly and freeze for about 2 hours until the top is partially set. Remove from the freezer and pour over the remaining yogurt mixture.
  8. Cover completely with the plastic wrap and place back into the freezer for at least 8 hours (or overnight) until completely set (you can store in the freezer for up to five days).
  9. To serve, carefully remove the terrine from the loaf tin and place onto a plate. Peel of the plastic wrap and cut the terrine into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Nutrition

*Recipe Notes: using plain Greek yogurt without an ice cream maker can cause ice crystals to form in the terrine. To serve allow the terrine to soften at room temperature before slicing using a knife rinsed under hot water. The alternative is to churn the yogurt in an ice-cream maker before adding the strawberry purée, or to use a shop bought plain frozen yogurt (again, soften before use).

Created by: Pamela Ryan Qualified Nutritionist**

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

** Pamela Ryan (Dip.NT, NTOI) is a Qualified Nutritional Therapist recognised by the Nutritional Therapists of Ireland (NTOI), the professional association supporting qualified nutritional therapists. All NTOI members study biomedicine and nutrition for a minimum of 3 years at a recognised college, are trained in clinical practice and must comply with NTOI requirements for Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Nutritional Therapy is an evidence-based approach to maximising health through individually formulated nutrition and lifestyle strategies. Pamela continues to attend training and lectures on a regular basis through various bodies including The Institute of Functional Medicine and The Institute of Health Sciences. These trainings help her to gain increased expertise in the ever advancing field of nutrition.

Sharing Lamb with Ribbon Courgette, Mint Yogurt & Hazelnuts

This sharing lamb with ribboned courgettes, rocket leaves and minty yogurt dressing is a real treat and bursting with flavour.  You can barbecue, griddle or grill the lamb but at this time of year it feels great to cook (and eat) outdoors, weather permitting.  Meat can absolutely be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet but its important to prioritise nutrient-dense and fibre-rich whole foods on a daily basis (think green leafy and starchy vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and some fruits). You could very easily substitute with sirloin steak or butterflied chicken breast depending on personal tastes, but lamb works particularly well with these flavours. This dish is a lovely treat and proof that healthy does not equal boring…..I hope you enjoy it!

Serves 2 | Preparation Time: 10 minutes | Rating: Moderate

You Will Need:

The Lamb:

  • 2 lamb steaks
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • A good pinch of sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano leaves (or 1tsp dried)
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary (or 1tsp dried)

The Courgette & Rocket Salad:

  • 2 medium sized courgettes
  • 2 cups rocket leaves
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 oz (about 1 tbsp) finely chopped, toasted hazelnuts
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

The Mint Yogurt Dressing:

  • 30g plain, low fat natural yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and crushed (optional)

To Serve: 2 small wholemeal flatbreads (optional – add approx.130 calories per serving, check brand info)

Method:

  1. Prepare the salad: Trim the ends of the courgette and use a vegetable peeler to cut the courgette lengthwise into ribbons.  Scatter onto a large serving plate with sprinkle of sea salt.  Rinse and drain the rocket leaves, and scatter on top of the courgette with the sliced spring onion.
  2. Prepare the mint yogurt: Put the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, mint, capers and water into a bowl and stir well with a fork to combine. Season lightly with a little salt set aside.
  3. To cook the lamb: pre-heat a grill, barbecue or griddle pan to medium. Season the lamb steaks with salt and pepper, rub with olive oil and the finely chopped fresh herbs. Sear the lamb on both sides for 3-5 minutes each side (3 minutes for medium, 5 minutes for well done).  Remove from the grill and leave to rest before trimming the fat off the meat and slicing into strips.
  4. To assemble: transfer the lamb onto the serving plate or board on top of the courgette and rocket leaves. Sprinkle over the hazelnuts and a few dollops of mint yogurt. Serve alone as a salad or with wholemeal flatbreads.

Nutrition Approx.

Created by: Pamela Ryan Qualified Nutritionist*

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

* Pamela Ryan (Dip.NT, NTOI) is a Qualified Nutritional Therapist recognised by the Nutritional Therapists of Ireland (NTOI), the professional association supporting qualified nutritional therapists. All NTOI members study biomedicine and nutrition for a minimum of 3 years at a recognised college, are trained in clinical practice and must comply with NTOI requirements for Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Nutritional Therapy is an evidence-based approach to maximising health through individually formulated nutrition and lifestyle strategies. Pamela continues to attend training and lectures on a regular basis through various bodies including The Institute of Functional Medicine and The Institute of Health Sciences. These trainings help her to gain increased expertise in the ever advancing field of nutrition.