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.

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New from Dermalogica – Sound Sleep Cocoon

Did you sleep well last night?
If the answer is no, you are not alone! Sleep problems are experienced by up to 45% of the global population, affecting our health and quality of life. In today’s fast-paced world, we sometimes view sleep simply as a period of low productivity. Often we push ourselves to do as much as we can in the day, and see how far we can go on a small amount of sleep. Not only does this slow our thought process down the next day, it also affects our overall health and how our skin looks and feels.


Sleep and your skin
Just a few nights of missed sleep can lead to dull skin and fine lines; continued sleep insufficiency can lead to dark circles, puffy eyes, sallow skin and early ageing. Insufficient sleep can cause excess cortisol to be released by the body resulting in collagen breakdown. More importantly, the natural skin renewal process is also impaired. So when it comes to your skin care routine, sleep is a crucial component for the skin’s recovery from the assaults of the day.
Your skin is nocturnal
At around 9:00pm, sleep inducing melatonin is produced and as levels of this hormone rise, stress hormones begin to fall and skin regeneration and repair begin. So, the optimal time to apply your night-time skin care products is between 9:00pm and 11:00pm when skin repair reaches its peak.


Transform by night, glow by day
Introducing Dermalogica’s new Sound Sleep Cocoon, a night gel-cream that harnesses the power of nature with science to promote sound sleep and healthy, radiant skin!
How it works: This revitalising treatment gel-cream optimises night-time skin recovery with active ingredients that take advantage of the body’s overnight recovery and repair process to transform skin by morning, along with motion-activated essential oils to promote deep, restful sleep for healthier looking skin.
Persian Silk Tree Bark, Fruits of the Wu-Zu-Yu Extract, Kakadu Plum and Tamarind Seed Extract have been selected for their abilities to rejuvenate skin and reduce signs of fatigue. And to promote a deep, restful sleep, Lavendin Oil is encapsulated in motion-activated microcapsules that allow it to be released by massage of the product and throughout the night as you toss and turn. Additional essential oils of Sandalwood and Patchouli calm the skin and soothe the senses, encouraging sound sleep for healthier looking skin.
Get a better night’s sleep
Visit us to learn more about this amazing new product and experience our Sound Sleep Cocoon Skin Bar Lesson where our expert therapists will show you the best way to layer Sound Sleep Cocoon in your night-time skin care routine.

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OR

Get a better night’s sleep
Visit us to learn more about this amazing new product and experience our Sound Sleep SkinSolver treatment. This 10 minute service boosts radiance by replenishing lost hydration and delivering active ingredients into the skin. This revitalising service also preps your skin for overnight recovery and encourages restful sleep.

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Transform by night, glow by day!

Let us help you control those Bad Behaviours!

donal blog image

Donal – Pharmacist Aylesbury

The more i read from the latest research articles the more it seems that the old sayings we’ve heard repeated again and again about food, sleep and exercise are true. We should go to bed early, eat natural foods and exercise every day.

But often in the media we see people who break these rules idolised and celebrated. People who work around the clock, who party through the night, people who binge and diet in repeated cycles. These behaviours are enticing and misleading. Often we believe we can accomplish something greater, meet deadlines by pushing through walls of fatigue, or that we can make up for bad eating behaviours afterwards by upping our exercise regimen.

I  will often hear people relate and discuss behaviours such as late night snacking, insatiable appetites and craving snacks, remarking on them as inexplicable and unavoidable. Night binging can leave a person with low energy levels the next day. People who regularly do this often have high insulin levels which can lead to diabetes and they find it difficult to exercise from fatigue and lack of sleep. Without knowing how our bodies work it can be difficult to understand where these cravings come from. Being now in my thirties some of these bad habits have already caught up with me and I see the effects of poor diet and snacking in my energy levels and some of my blood tests. Not a good scenario to be in at such a “young” age. LOL.

What I have found helpful in trying to control my own bad behaviours is an understanding of what exactly is going on in my body to drive these unhealthy habits I seem drawn to constantly repeat. In this blog I will briefly discuss one aspect of the body’s many mechanisms that control appetite, weight fluctuations and as researchers are currently finding out potentially a lot more.

Ghrelin is an appetite stimulating hormone released from the empty stomach. It signals our brain to encourage anticipatory and goal-directed behaviours. This basically means it makes us look out for our next meal, make us think about food and it affects what we crave in terms of sugar, fat, protein and carbohydrates. On its own ghrelin seems to direct us toward a more nutritious meal than we might choose without its influence. This might sound familiar if you think of what you crave when you are really hungry. Usually the ice cream, chocolate or biscuit treat (my personal favourites!) doesn’t seem sufficient and we actually want a heart slap up meal with more nutritious ingredients. This is actually a good effect of the hormone.

However studies have shown that as ghrelin levels rise, the amount of eating it encourages rises dramatically. This makes sense in the natural world. The longer the period between eating the more our body is going to want to stock up on energy the next time food is available. However this effect is contributing to our modern day obesity problem. We have such busy lives that people are often jumping from the bed out the door skipping what the old maxim calls the most important meal of the day. Breakfast. Breaking the fast.

As we sleep our bodies are stilling whirring away with countless processes like a laptop on standby. In fact the energy our body would use if we were to simply lie on the couch all day accounts for up to 60 to 70% of the energy we spend each day even when we move around and work as normal. That is why it is so important to supply your body with a source of healthy energy soon after waking up in the morning. Otherwise the body will demand an even greater meal off you later in the day.

Studies have shown that  ghrelin, the hunger hormone, will not be suppressed without a proper breakfast. People who skip breakfast think they are cutting out part of their day’s calorie intake but it is proven that those people eat more for lunch, dinner AND supper partly due to higher ghrelin levels the skipped breakfast causes.

Also sleep deprivation has been shown to increase cortisol (our stress hormone) and in doing so mimic starvation and hunger. Both stress and cortisol increase our hunger hormone ghrelin which increases our cravings and likelihood to overeat. Poor sleep is another of the factors linked to increasing obesity in Ireland.

There are several ways we can affect our ghrelin levels. One large egg provides varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin yet regular consumption of eggs is still met with uncertainty. In the 1970s excess cholesterol in our blood was linked to a higher risk of heart disease. Many scientists assumed that eating high-cholesterol foods like butter, red meat and eggs must then be bad for our health. In fact sugar, trans fats or excessive saturated fat is more harmful to use and produces more cholesterol in our blood that dietary cholesterol.

In a study comparing eating eggs for breakfast versus a bowl of healthy oatmeal on the symptoms of heart disease (a change in the cholesterol and lipid balance in the body) there was not a huge difference between the two. The eggs did raise cholesterol levels somewhat compared to the oatmeal but not in an unhealthy amount and the sugar levels, liver function and fat levels in the body were the same. The eggs did seem to keep the person eating them fuller for a longer time than the porridge. I have tried alternating both porridge and a boiled egg into my breakfast regime and from my experience I can see how an egg can help space out meals across a day and prevent the urge to snack in between. But the benefits of porridge on health are also proven so if anything I would recommend fitting both into your morning diet if possible.

Being a daily porridge devourer I want to explain how it can benefit you. When food enters the stomach it lowers your ghrelin but it doesn’t stop you from eating. The signal for satiety and to stop eating is actually located twenty two feet or almost seven meters into the intestine! Naturally it takes time for food to travel this far. The Japanese have a saying which is “eat until you are 80% full” which is basically allowing your food time to reach this point. Alternatively trying to eat with chopsticks will get you there! The best way to get food moving faster through the intestine is through fiber.

Ever notice how a plate of pasta or chips and cheeseburgers doesn’t always make you feel full? This is because fast food and processed cereals have had their fibre stripped away to improve taste and shelf life. They sit into your stomach instead of moving into the intestine where they should be signalling the brain that the stomach is full. Anything that speeds food transit through the gut will make you feel fuller faster and reduce hunger and the amount eaten. The insoluble fiber in porridge does this. Its soluble fiber also helps by forming a sticky gel that delays stomach emptying which makes you feel fuller faster. Processed foods and cereals contain little of these or have it artificially added back in which doesn’t seem to work as well as when it is in its original form.

There was a study I found interesting on how water, milk, a yogurt drink and fruit juice drunk either before or with a meal would affect appetite, satiety (feeling full after eating) and the amount of food eaten. Milk reduced the overall  food intake and appetite while increasing the satiety (feeling full after meal) compared to a sweetened yogurt or fruit drink. But in all cases drinking water meant the overall calorie intake was less before and after the meal. One esteemed dietician in America suggested keeping to milk, water and tea only as the beverages of choice and leaving the rest out of our diets. Sugary beverages and even fruit juice are thought to be unnecessary additions to our diet that we might be better avoiding. Fruit it appears is best eaten whole rather than juiced or pulverised into a smoothie. Also I will add in here that fructose which is known simply as sugar when it comes to talking about our modern processed foods does not affect ghrelin release unlike other carbohydrates and proteins which lower ghrelin levels. So sweets and sugary drinks in the morning will not reduce the amount of food you are likely to consume later for lunch and dinner compared to the egg and porridge discussed earlier.

Is it better to spread out calorie intake over a period rather than breaking the day into say three solid meal times? One study used liquid meals of protein, fat and carbohydrates taken in a single go versus splitting it up into five smaller portions taken every half hour to examine this idea. No difference was found in how the food was burnt off meaning that splitting meals up across the day has little effect on avoiding hunger later in the day or keeping up your energy. In fact where the food was consumed in a single go the people reported great and longer lasting fullness.

We often hear about losing weight by different approaches (intermittent or irregular dieting versus continuous dieting). A study tried to determine the effect of this on the body’s systems and discovered little difference in how the body was reacting to the weight loss. The people who achieved the same weight loss by dieting on and off seemed to be under no greater or lesser drive by their bodies to regain weight than those who had dieted in a more consistent manner. To me this study shows the power of habit. Studies have shown that consistent dieting has a greater chance of success but this study shows there is no biological measurement (in terms of hunger hormone, insulin levels) to account for it. Making lifestyle changes your everyday practice is the way to sustain weight loss because the likelihood that all lost weight will be regained is simply the reflection of how likely you are to return to old habits if you haven’t been practicing new ones.

So in summary breakfast is still the main meal of the day. Don’t skip it and try to have healthy oats and maybe an egg as a large part of it, though don’t forget your daily intake of whole fruit. We in LloydsPharmacy are here to support you in attaining a healthy lifestyle and so we can advise you on your diet, help motivate you and supply a range of products that will boost the positive changes you make in your daily life. Chromium is supposed to aid in reducing cravings by enhancing insulin function and effect in the body. Our pharmacies can supply this in more than one brand (Sona or Pharmanord). Products such as Miss Fit Skinny Tea and XLS Medical have proven popular among customers who are making healthy changes in their diets. We have Change Your Health Direction experts in each store so please pop in and tell us how you are doing and ask us how we can help.