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

elsa jones logo

Advertisements

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.

calpol_plug_in_800x

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.

Revive-Active-Junior-Vitamin-and-Mineal-Complex-20-Pack

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

 

Want to finally quit smoking? Get some helpful tips from the experts…

Laura Dowling

Laura, Supervising Pharmacist Manager, Stillorgan

Deciding to quit smoking is the single best thing that you can do for your health. Congratulations! You are on the road to a healthier, happier you. Like any bad habit quitting smoking is not easy. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and your brain and body crave it. You also associate smoking with daily rituals known as trigger factors, which is why it can be so hard to break the cycle of smoking. The good news is that there are many products, both over the counter (OTC) and on prescription available in your pharmacy that can help you on the road to a smoke free life. Your Pharmacist or Doctor can help to advise you on what products are best suited to you, depending on how you smoke and how many cigarettes that you smoke.  They can also provide you with general advice on how to keep that willpower going!

smoking 2

Deciding to quit is the first step below are a few helpful hints and tips on how to keep going:

  1. List your trigger factors and try to avoid or change those situations for at least the first month of quitting. This will increase your chances of success.

Common trigger factors would be:

  • First thing in the morning
  • With tea/coffee
  • In the car
  • Breaks at work
  • With a social drink
  • After a meal
  1. Be kind to yourself
  • Accept that it is extremely hard to quit and take each day at a time. I often tell my patients to not tell themselves that they will never smoke again but rather to tell themselves that they will not smoke today. This will help you not to panic at the thought of never having another cigarette. It is after all a habit that you enjoy, so the thought of never smoking again can be enough to make you fall off the wagon!
  • Reward yourself when you take a positive step forward, such as being cigarette free for a day, a week, two weeks. But do not punish yourself for slipping up. Just get back on the wagon.
  1. Declare your intentions to family and friends so that they can help to support you. Also clearing ashtrays from your home, washing clothes that smell of cigarettes and cleaning the car can help to remove reminders of smoking from your immediate environment.
  2. Prepare healthy snacks. Oranges are particularly good in this instance as peeling them keeps your hands busy and the strong flavour will help to distract from the cravings.
  3. Distract yourself when you are overcome with a craving by fully immersing yourself in an activity. Even brushing your teeth can be a distraction and leaves your mouth feeling fresh and not smoky!                        smoking 3It can also be helpful to remember that the health benefits to quitting smoking are immediate. They are a reminder to you about how far you have come.Health benefits timeline:

    After 20 mins: Your heart rate returns to normal.

    After 8 hours: Oxygen levels return to normal.

    After 48 hours: Your body is cleared of carbon monoxide. Lungs begin to rid themselves of mucus and other debris. Smell and taste improves.

    2-12 weeks: Circulation and breathing improves. Walking is easier and skin is more radiant.

    >12 weeks: Lung function increases by up to 10%. Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems reduce.

    After 1 year: Risk of heart disease is halved compared to someone who is still smoking.

    After 10 years: Your chance of getting lung cancer is half of that of a current smoker.

    After 15 years: Your risk of a heart attack or stroke is the same as that of someone who has never smoked.

     

    Good luck and remember that your Pharmacist is always here to help in any way that they can!

 

Good health’s not just for January, it’s for life!

Laura Dowling

Laura, Supervising Pharmacist Manager, Stillorgan

New year, new you! …. Screams every second Facebook post and magazine article that I have read over the past couple of weeks. The post-Christmas bulge and general feeling of guilt after a month (or more!) of over indulgence during the silly season generally encourages people to jump on the health bandwagon. Dry January, gym memberships and dieting can all contribute to a healthier lifestyle but a proper understanding of nutrition and portion sizes can lead to a healthier you for life.

Here at LloydsPharmacy we can help you to achieve your health goals with nutrition and exercise advice as well as taking regular measurements of your weight, waist circumference and upper arm. We can guide you through our eight week programme with enthusiasm and understanding. But our aim is to ultimately arm you with the tools that will help you to carry on with your new, healthy lifestyle for the months and years beyond our programme.

We will encourage you to set realistic goals when it comes to weight loss. Most calorie restrictive diets flounder after five weeks as calorie restriction in the long term is very unachievable. Life just tends to get in the way! Nights out, weddings and parties often end up with our patients falling off the weight loss wagon. Sometimes people just find it too difficult to get back on it again and they are plagued with feelings of guilt and self-loathing which in turn can lead to more overeating.

I always give my patients the following tips:

  • Meal planning and preparation with lots of vegetables, whole grains and lean meats is so important. It prevents you from overeating the wrong kids of foods when you are very hungry.
  • Experiment with new recipes: herbs and spices add delicious flavours to food, chickpeas are nourishing, very versatile, cheap and so easy to add to recipes.
  • Alcohol provides empty calories that does not satiate and often causes overeating, so limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Correct weight loss involves 80% diet and 20% exercise. Pounding away in the gym is of little benefit if your diet is not healthy and portion controlled.
  • Portion size is so important. The correct portion size for rice, pasta and potatoes is the cooked amount that would fit in the palm of your hand. This is considerably less than the large platefuls of pasta that we have become used to eating. You can bulk up your plate with fresh veggies and salads to satiate your appetite and fill your belly!
  • Increase your activity levels. Get your heart rate going and break a sweat! For some this can be as simple as a 20 minute brisk walk every day. You will achieve your weight loss goal quicker and healthier if you do this.
  • Focus on inches lost rather than kilograms/ pounds lost.

The ‘feel good’ factor of living a healthier life should not be underestimated.  A healthy lifestyle can lead to elevated mood, increased energy levels and libido. Clothes will fit you better and you will look much better too. The health benefits are numerous:  lower blood pressure, less likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol, lower incidences of depression and anxiety… the list goes on.

Vitamin and mineral supplements can really help you to achieve your goals too, especially in the first few weeks of the program. They can boost your energy levels (Revive Active, Quinton Cell Nutrition, Oxylent), decrease your sugar cravings (Miss Fit Crave, Pharma Nord Chromium) and help to increase your overall feeling of wellbeing. A good Vitamin D supplement can also help with mood elevation as we definitely do not get enough sun in this dreary part of the world, especially during these cold and dark winter months.

I will end by reassuring you that everyone falls off the wagon at some stage. At LloydsPharmacy we are here to help you to get back up onto it. We don’t judge, we just offer sound advice and empathetic encouragement. Good luck!

Laura Dowling is the Supervising Pharmacist Manager at LloydsPharmacy in Stillorgan Shopping centre.  She is a health and wellbeing enthusiast and mum to three young boys.