Elsa’s Seven Steps To Better Health

Kieran Harnett

Elsa Jones, Nutritional Therapist

  1. Eat Nutritionally Balanced Meals – A ‘balanced diet’ starts with getting the right balance of nutrients onto your plate at meal times. At lunch/dinner, aim to fill ¼ of your plate with protein rich food such as chicken, fish, eggs, beans, nuts & seeds. Protein helps you stay fuller for longer and helps keep blood sugar levels stable. Adding complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa etc. will provided a slow steady release of energy along with vitamins and fibre. Aim to fill ¼ of your plate with complex carbohydrates at meal times.
  2. Eat A Rainbow Every Day! – For optimal health & disease prevention, aim to eat 5-7 fruit & veg every day  – 5 veg and 2 fruit is a good balance. Eat a wide variety of different colours as each colour offers unique health benefits. Aim to eat something red, green, purple, yellow/orange and white every day and fill half of your plate with vegetables at lunch/dinner time.
  3. Embrace ‘Essential Fats’ – Omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids nourish our brain, our heart & reproductive system and are essential for healthy hair, skin & nails. To ensure you get enough in your diet, I recommend you have oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines etc.) twice a week and have  1-2 tbsp. of omega 3 rich seeds per day (flax, chia, hemp) – add them to porridge, salads, bread etc.
  4. Limit your sugar intake- For overall health & weight management, try to view high sugar foods such as chocolate, biscuits, sweets/cakes etc. as occasional ‘treats’ not a daily diet staple. If you have sweet foods regularly, then try reducing your portion size and/or opt for healthier versions e.g. have a couple of squares of dark chocolate instead of a full bar of milk chocolate.
  5. Prioritize Sleep & Stress Management – Getting 7-9 hrs sleep a night and managing your stress levels is essential for good physical & mental health. Exercise is a wonderful way to reduce stress and boost mood, find an exercise you enjoy and do it consistently, even a 30 minute walk a day offers significant health benefits. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness are also effective for reducing stress & improving sleep. Sleep experts recommend a ‘wind down’ routine where you switch off all electronics 1-2 hrs before bed to improve sleep quantity & quality.
  6. Watch your caffeine intake – Excess Caffeine can affect our nervous system by revving up stress hormones in the body like adrenaline & cortisol, this can affect our anxiety levels, mood & sleep. I recommend limiting yourself to no more than 2 caffeinated beverages a day, ideally before 2pm.
  7. Alcohol in moderation – The current guidelines from the HSE for ‘low risk’ alcohol intake is 11 units per week for women (approx. 5 medium glasses of wine) and 17 for men. Note – this is a limit not a target! If you have a weight loss goal, limiting your intake further is advisable.

Elsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and author of bestselling book ‘Goodbye Sugar’. She works as a nutrition consultant in a Dublin practice and also internationally via her online nutrition programs. She specialise’s in motivational weight management combining effective nutrition & mind-set strategies. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie

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Sweet Potato, Quinoa & Feta Salad

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A tasty and filling winter salad…

◊ Make as a light supper then get a couple of lunches out of it the following days.

◊ A high fibre, nutrient dense salad powered with plant protein & iron.

◊ Rocket leaves and apple cider vinegar enhance digestion whilst quinoa, onion & seeds are prebiotic which means they support your gut health.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • ½ tsp paprika (optional)
  • 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 + ¾ cups vegetable stock
  • 4 fistfuls rocket leaves
  • 100g feta cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2tbsp. red/pink onion – very finely diced
  • 2tbsp. toasted seed mix (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower seeds)
  • 1 tbsp. dried cranberries

 Dressing (whisk to together in a cup)

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Method

  • Set oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into bit sized cubes.
  • Toss with the olive oil & paprika and spread out evenly on a baking tray. Roast in the oven for approx. 20-25 mins, tossing half way through. Remove from oven when tender and caramelized and allow to cool.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, rinse the quinoa under cold water in a sieve then add to a pot of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then simmer uncovered for approx. 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, cover pot with a lid then allow to sit for another 5 mins. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.
  • Add the quinoa to a large salad bowl, stir in the finely chopped onion followed by the sweet potato. Pour the dressing over and mix to combine. *Throw in the rocket and toss the ingredients together with your hands. Top with cubes of feta and sprinkle with the seeds mix and dried cranberries.

Notes: This salad can be served warm or cold and keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days. *If you plan to get a few days out of this salad, then you could add fresh rocket to each serving as you go instead of mixing it in from the start.

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Elsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and author of bestselling book ‘Goodbye Sugar’. She works as a nutrition consultant in a Dublin practice and also internationally via her online nutrition programs. She specialise’s in motivational weight management combining effective nutrition & mind-set strategies. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie

Seven Super Solutions for Surviving the Seasonal Break!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…unless you’ve got the sniffles and a raging headache! The holiday season is often a time filled with festivities and family reunions, but easily avoidable ailments can definitely put a damper on the mood. So like a certain sleigh riding saint on Christmas Eve, I’m bringing you seven cabinet must-haves that’ll be sure to help keep your spirits high and your bodies ailment-free.

Starting things off, I’d recommend Panadol Advance® for any mild aches, pains, and fevers you may experience during the festive season. It contains Paracetamol, a tried and tested drug sure to stave off all of those unwanted headaches. If it doesn’t quite do the trick, the next step up would be Nurofen Tablets®, which are slightly stronger than your typical Panadol tablet since they contain a pain and fever drug called ibuprofen. As with any medication, be sure to have a chat with your pharmacist first, since they can help towards figuring out what’s best for you.

Next up is Sudafed Blocked Nose Spray®, which as the name suggests, is for blocked noses. It contains a drug called Xylometazoline, which squeezes over-expanded blood vessels to open up your airways. One spray two to three times daily of this sinus saver should alleviate those pesky nose blockages that like to rear their heads every holiday season.

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Another cabinet must-have I would go for are Strepsils Honey and Lemon Lozenges®, which contain a dynamic duo of antiseptics to help tackle those irksome infections in your throat. They should also in turn help alleviate the sore throats that tend to come along with those infections. They taste pretty nice too! If they don’t hit the mark for you though, Difflam Spray® acts as a step up that you can spray directly onto the back of your throat, and also contains an antiseptic to help you fight off that infection.

Moving onto supplements now, Vitamin C is the one I want to highlight in particular. This vitamin is constantly mentioned in health blogs all over the net, and with good reason too! Not only does it it protect you from cardiovascular disease and is an integral part of wound healing and other bodily functions, but it also helps strengthen the immune system, which is essential when trying to avoid those ubiquitous not-so-festive colds. Vitamin C is available in LloydsPharmacy as Kelkin Vitamin C Tablets ®, but we would definitely recommend our Revive Active® line of products which contain a whole host of beneficial vitamins and minerals to get you through the holiday period, including Vitamin C!

So there you have it, our Seven Super Solutions for Surviving the Seasonal Break! As always, if the above cabinet-essentials don’t work for you, or your symptoms become more serious at any stage, we would recommend you speak with your Pharmacist or local GP for further advice on how to proceed.

 

Brought to you by Brian Dela Musoke, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy.

Tips to Combat the Christmas Bloat

“Sure go on, it’s Christmas…” is probably the most frequently used “get out of jail free” card over the festive season.

However, finding it hard to say no can have its consequences, particularly on the digestive system with bloating and indigestion being common occurrences over Christmas.

Bloating is caused by an excess gas production and/or disturbances in the movement of digestive muscles after eating- leading to that swollen, uncomfortable and often painful feeling. Bloating is particularly prevalent over “silly season” as people tend to over-indulge more than usual – especially with foods high in sugar and fat. It is important to remember that often our eyes are bigger than our bellies, but that we also shouldn’t feel guilty about eating foods that we enjoy either; everything in moderation as they say!

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The top tips that I would recommend to reduce bloating are:

  1. To avoid eating large volumes in one sitting – eating little and often can avoid the “stuffed” feeling and allows you to control portions better.
  2. Drink plenty of water- this prevents water retention in the body and also prevents constipation. This is especially beneficial over Christmas, as alcohol can increase the rate of water retention!
  3. Remember to ensure your fibre intake is still sufficient around this period too, as this also helps to prevent bloating and constipation.
  4. Limit “trigger foods” as much as possible, for some people these can be: onions, garlic, broccoli or dairy products.
  5. I would always recommend peppermint tea for bloating as it naturally alleviates cramping and gas while also promoting digestion.
  6. A hot water bottle is also a good idea to ease the discomfort of bloating. The heat can soothe the tummy and help relieve the build up of gas.
  7. Exercise can also help banish the bloat, even if it’s a quick walk to get you up and about!
  8. If you are in need of any medicinal remedies, I would always recommend Gaviscon® Advance or Nexium® for indigestion/heart burn and Senocalm/ Rennie® Deflatine to reduce bloating and cramping. However, it is important that you speak to a member of your local LloydsPharmacy team so they can cater their expert advice to you.

Remember, if you are suffering from stomach upset long term or are experiencing other unusual symptoms such as blood in your stools it is essential that you speak to your GP.

Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy

 

Skincare Tips for Eczema Sufferers

Atopic eczema affects 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults, making it the most common form of eczema and one of the most common skin conditions. Its red and dry appearance accompanied by an intense itch makes for a very painful and chronic condition.

Unfortunately, there can be many triggers associated with eczema, which are common and abundant such as: washing detergents, stress, temperature changes, and allergens. When the eczema flares up, it’s important to treat at the first sign of symptoms to prevent any worsening that could potentially end up in bleeding or infection.

Emollients are the mainstay of all treatment for eczema and products include creams, ointments, lotions, bath additives and soap substitutes.  Emollients can help soothe and repair the skin while also reducing the requirement for topical steroids (i.e. medicated creams/ointments) and can also increase the effectiveness of prescribed treatments. Sometimes you may need more than one type, and often people prefer to use a lotion during the day and an ointment at night due their textures. Ideally they should be applied at least twice a day and adults should use approximately 500g while children should use approximately 250g of emollient per week.

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Some tips for eczema suffers that I would always recommend are:

  • Don’t stop moisturising when your skin is eczema free – prevention is better than cure!
  • Keep fingernails short.
  • Avoid soap and harsh chemicals in cleaning products.
  • Shampoo that is fragrance free and pH neutral should be chosen (avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulphate).
  • Emollients are best applied straight after a bath/shower.
  • Cotton clothing is the most preferred to avoid irritation.
  • Do not limit your diet if you believe some foods may be causing it before talking to your GP.
  • Aqueous cream should not be used as a leave-on emollient as it has been proven to cause irritation. Instead, it is better as a soap substitute.
  • For those with severe eczema, “wet wrapping” should be considered. This involved applying a generous layer of emollient, which is then covered with a wet cotton bandage.
  • Take extra care during these cool winter months as often, the cold can cause dry skin to become worse.
  • Aveeno® and La Roche PosayLipikar/Cicaplast range are my top recommended emollient products (available from the LloydsPharmacy website-subject to availability) and Doublebase Emollient Gel (available from LloydsPharmacies nationwide- subject to availability).
  • Always contact your GP or local LloydsPharmacist should you find your eczema difficult to manage or if you have any questions regarding your treatment.

Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy

Cold & Flu Tips for little ones

Children are often the hardest hit when it comes to cold and flu during winter due to their small bodies still being new to the concept of fighting infection. Being in close proximity to other small children in crèches or schools means bugs and other “nasties” can be spread a lot easier. Their runny noses and watery eyes are a sure sign they’re in need of some TLC, so what can you do to help your little ones should they fall under the weather this winter?

As with adults, provided the symptoms aren’t too severe, self-care tips should always be the first port-of-call. I’m fully aware of how difficult it can be to find a suitable option for children, as often they’re very limited to what they can take and perhaps are quite fussy with what they will take too. Some of the best care tips that I would always recommend to parents are:

  • Put some vapour rub on a towel/tissue and leave near their bedside– don’t apply directly to the skin. (Snuffle Babe ® is suitable for infants 3 months+).
  • Saline based nasal drops can work very well for decongestion, some brands have a product that can be used from birth e.g. Calpol ®.
  • Another Calpol® product that I would recommend for infants (3 months+) is the “Vapour Plug and Nightlight”. This provides a soothing, calming environment, which can aid a child’s breathing and sleep.
  • A warm bath can ease breathing.
  • Ensure the child remains hydrated.
  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Remember to avoid honey in babies <1, and aspirin in children <16 years.
  • All products listed are available through the LloydsPharmacy website, or in store (subject to availability).
  • If the child is wheezing/short of breath or has middle ear pain or has a sore throat with fever or if the symptoms haven’t improved within 3 days, it is advisable that you attend your GP for a diagnosis.

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To reduce the chances of your little ones coming down with something this winter I would always recommend supplements for both toddlers and older children. They are readily available, affordable and often come in appealing jelly forms for kids. At LloydsPharmacy, some of the products we stock are: Junior Revive Active, Centrum for Kids, Nature’s Way- Alive! Children’s Chewable Multivitamins.

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Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy

 

Top Tips to keep you well this Winter

The cool, crisp mornings and dark, bleak evenings are most certainly back and I’m not sure about you but they often make me wish I could hibernate until spring… I think we can all appreciate that the transition from summer to winter isn’t the easiest, so what can or should we do to help ourselves to combat these winter blues?

Firstly, I personally believe supplements are an easily accessible and affordable way to promote a healthy immune system this winter. Those containing C, B and D vitamins, Omega-3, zinc and iron are your best bet help maintain energy levels and fight infection this winter. Some of the beneficial products that LloydsPharmacy stock are: Revive Active, Cellnutrition Quinton Isotonic, Active Iron, MorEPA Smart Fats and Kelkin Effervescent Zinc & Vitamin C.

As always, a balanced diet should be promoted to provide a range of nutrients to help battle the winter period. Eating plenty of orange and dark green fruit & vegetables can provide powerful anti-oxidants as well as iron. Adding onions, garlic and ginger can improve immune function, which can be particularly beneficial during winter months. There’s nothing quite like some hearty soup on a cold day, so why not blitz some of the above together to create your own winter busting broth?

I’m a firm believer that the power of exercise should never be neglected during winter; even if the weather is declining and evenings are getting shorter. Did you know that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that is said to affect 1 in 15 people between September to April? Staying active is beneficial for your mood and wellbeing during this bleak period, even if it’s just a quick 15 minute walk, so pop your earphones in and get moving!

There are many other steps that we can take to stay fit and well this winter that may seem small but can have a huge impact, such as: availing of the flu vaccine (speak to your local LloydsPharmacist to see if you’re eligible for a free vaccination), washing your hands regularly, keeping warm and getting sufficient amount of sleep. Moral of the story- be kind to yourself!

So what happens if a dreaded cold or flu does strike you or a family member this winter? Provided your symptoms aren’t too severe, self-care should always be your first port-of-call to get back on the mend. Some of the best tips I’d always recommend are:

  • Take painkillers for fever/aches (speak with a member of your local LloydsPharmacy team to choose the right product for you)
  • Stay hydrated
  • Warm drinks can often be more soothing
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Ensure you have a comfortable room temp. but it’s best to allow fresh air to circulate
  • Wash hands often
  • Avoid smoking
  • If you prefer a natural approach, Echinacea can be a good option to help fight symptoms. At LloydsPharmacy we stock the A.Vogel range such as the EchinaForce ® tablets and hot drink.

Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy.