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.)

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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.

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Your must do’s to avoid catching the FLU!

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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.

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).

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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.

Antioxidant Blueberry Smoothie


There are lots of great smoothie recipes available these days, and for the most part it, if you combine any fruit or veg with a liquid, you’ve got a great meal. But I wanted to create something that has a little more nutritional purpose using foods that are truly evidence based as being effective in supporting the immune system, brain function, energy levels and reducing inflammation.  Each of the ingredients here has been carefully considered for their nutrition density – leafy greens, blueberries, walnuts and cacao contain potent antioxidants that protect our cells and tissues from damage, omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA and ALA) in Eskimo Fish Oils and Walnuts (respectively) support brain health and reduce inflammation, and plain Greek yogurt is a great source of protein. Shine plant based protein powder provides an added protein boost, along with its other ingredients such as spirulina  which provides a number of essential B vitamins and iron.  The fish oils are of course optional, but I guarantee there is no strange taste and is a great way of including fish oils in your diet if you find it hard to take directly off the spoon! Serves two as a meal or divide into four as an accompaniment to breakfast or as an afternoon snack

Serves 2-4 | Preparation Time: 5 minutes | Rating: Easy

Nutrition: approx. 323 calories per serving. Protein-rich, a source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

Ingredients:

*you will need a blender / hand blender

  • 2 cups cold water (ice optional)
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves (washed)
  • 125g blueberries (fresh or frozen, washed)
  • 150g 0%-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Shine Protein (available in LloydsPharmacies nationwide)
  • 1oz (about 28g) raw walnut halves
  • 2 squares (20g) 85% cacao dark chocolate
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Eskimo-3 Pure Omega Fish Oil (available in LloydsPharmacies nationwide)

Method:

  1. Pour the water into a a large blender cup, add the spinach and blueberries and pulse to break down.
  2. Remove the lid, add the remaining ingredients, and blend again until smooth.
  3. Divide between 2 glasses and serve (can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days)

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.

GRILLED SEA BASS WITH SALSA VERDE, NEW POTATOES &TOMATOES

This dish reminds me of summer holidays on the Med bursting with flavour from nutrient dense herbs, garlic, capers and an assortment of antioxidant-rich tomatoes. Jersey royal new potatoes which have a distinct, sweet flavour, and whilst many diet camps have shunned the white potato in favour of sweet potatoes, white potatoes are in fact a better source of essential minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium, as well as being a great source of vitamin C and fibre.  Fish is a lovely light alternative to meat on warm summer evenings and I particularly love Sea Bass.  It’s an excellent source of protein, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids whilst being light and low in calories.

Serves 2 | Prep & Cooking Time: 30 min | Rating: Moderate

Nutrition: approx. 435 calories per serving. Source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, iron, magnesium

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 large handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil
  • 1 large handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 1 heaped tbsp capers
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Bragg apple cider vinegar (available in LloydsPharmacies nationwide)
  • 4 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil plus 1/3 tbsp for frying
  • 2 fillets sea bass approximately 180g raw weight (or other white fish like sea bream, hake or cod)
  • 175g Jersey Royal new potatoes
  • 150g assorted tomatoes plus 1 large beef tomato
  • Sea salt flakes and finely ground black pepper

Method:

  1. To make the salsa verde, de-stem the herbs and finely chop along with the garlic and capers on a large chopping board. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and slowly add 4 tbsp of olive oil, mixing well. Taste and season with a pinch of sea salt flakes and finely ground black pepper. Transfer to an airtight jar or serving bowl. (This salsa verde recipe makes up to four servings, so the extra can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days).
  2. Slice the new potatoes into halves and steam or boil for 8 minutes until tender and then remove from the heat.
  3. Arrange the tomatoes onto a large roasting tray with the potatoes and carefully lay the two sea bass fillets on top, skin side up.
  4. Season with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a 1/3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Place under a grill on a medium-high heat and grill for about 10-12 minutes until the fish is cooked and the skin starting to crisp.
  5. Remove from the grill and serve with a tablespoon of salsa verde spooned onto the top of each sea bass fillet. Enjoy!

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.