Monday, 16 July 2018

The Power of Dairy

The benefits of dairy are numerous! There is endless amounts of evidence to show the benefits of good nutrition and dairy as part of a healthy diet in the prevention of disease- osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, obesity, type two diabetes and cancers.

Dairy is a unique package of essential nutrients! Dairy is a source of high biological value protein (for muscle function) and calcium (for bone health). Dairy foods also contain important nutrients for nerve and muscle function, energy release, immune function and blood pressure.

Milk and dairy foods are important and are recognised as part of a healthy dietary pattern. In Ireland, it is recommended to choose between 3-5 servings of dairy per day.


What is a serving?

             200mls milk

             125g yoghurt

             200mls yoghurt drink

             25g cheese/matchbox size

It is better to choose dairy that has been fortified with vitamin D as we don’t tend to get enough sunshine in Europe!

Dairy and cancer

The World Cancer Research Fund has concluded in a recent report that there is strong evidence dairy is protective against colorectal cancers. There is also indication of a protective effect of milk and milk products in the prevention of breast-cancer and bladder cancers. The protective (anti-carcinogenic)   effect of dairy is likely due to a combination of its composition; full of calcium, vitamin D, lactoferrin, Vitamin K, probiotics and its fatty acid structure.

Dairy and bone health

Milk and dairy foods contain calcium which is important to build and maintain healthy bones. Dairy foods also contain other important nutrients for bone health- protein, phosphorus and potassium. Fortified dairy will also contain vitamin D.


Dairy and blood pressure

Research shows that milk and dairy intake, particularly low fat dairy, may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. Diets which focus on fruit and vegetables and low fat dairy have found to be effective in the reduction of blood pressure. Magnesium, calcium and potassium found in milk are linked to the regulation of blood pressure. Riboflavin is a B vitamin found in milk which regulates homocysteine- involved in regulating blood pressure.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Spring into action


With the weather getting warmer and the days longer, spring is a great time to get your exercise regime back on track. If you haven’t routinely exercised all winter long, here are a few tips to get you back on track with your physical activity.


1. Make a plan

Before you get started, set goals. Decide on the activities that you would like to pursue and nail down when and where you will participate. Whether you choose walking or running outdoors, or gym based training/ classes plan the best time of day and number of days a week. With a well-thought-out plan in place, you are more likely to stick with your chosen activities.


2. Start Slowly

Starting a new routine gradually may make it easier to stay with your plan. If you get out of the starting gate with too much, too soon you can risk injury or the frustration that comes from exhaustion. Both are demotivators that decrease the likelihood that you will continue. Slow and steady wins the race.


3.    Think little and often

Let’s face it; there are some people out there who are just not five-times-a-week-to-the-gym health freaks. A small commitment to exercise on a regular basis is better than no commitment at all.

Research has proven that people are more likely to stick with their exercise programme if they do it for shorter periods but more often.

Instead of pushing yourself for an hour once or twice a week, it is far better to make time for 30 minutes of cumulative exercise every day - even taken in 10-minute bursts it has been proven to improve overall health.


4) Dance….

... and ski, and horse ride, and belly dance, and row and trapeze, and trampoline, and cycle.


Exercise doesn’t all have to be about routine gym work, the exercise mat and the treadmill. It doesn’t have to be a chore.

While 65 per cent of members usually fall away from gyms after February, you can be someone who keeps exercising by taking up a hobby you really enjoy.

It will help improve your fitness, keep you interested in staying fit and also lower stress levels.


Saturday, 21 April 2018

What is diabetes?


Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot use glucose/carbohydrates in the body effectively and blood glucose levels rise. Insulin is needed to transport glucose from the blood into the cells
where the body can use it as energy. There are 2 types of diabetes

Type 1: the pancreas does not produce any insulin

Type 2: the pancreas produces some insulin but there is not enough or it is not working effectively. Type 2 diabetes can often be managed through healthy diet alone!

Healthy Eating Diet and Diabetes

This diet is important for those with diabetes as they have too much glucose (sugar) in their blood. A healthy eating diet can play a role in the control of diabetes and blood sugar control (low sugar, high fibre, low fat).

Top practical tips for moderating carbohydrate intake

·         Artificial sweeteners are not processed by the body in the same way as sugar, replacing sugar with an artificial sweetener may help stabilise blood glucose levels in those with diabetes. A healthy eating diet moderating carbohydrate intake is recommended for those with diabetes. Specialist diabetic products are available but are expensive and can tend to be high in fat and calories

·         People with diabetes do not need to eat a sugar-free diet, but can use  the sugar in foods and baking as part of a healthy diet and should limit the portion size of these food

·         Small amounts of fast acting carbohydrates (below) can be eaten as part of a meal and not on its own- this reduces the effect on their blood sugar levels

·         Regular meals should be eaten -breakfast, lunch and an evening meal

·         Starchy or slow acting carbohydrates should be included in each meal- bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, breakfast cereals, porridge, fruit and vegetables. These slow acting carbohydrates should be eaten as they do not cause a huge rise in blood sugars

·         Fibre is beneficial in blood sugar control. Fibre is found in vegetables, fruits, cereals and grains. It is not fully broken down by the body and passes through the gut undigested

Healthier food choices and diabetes

Healthier options Foods to limit
Choose slow-acting carbohydrates
Plain biscuits, brown bread, high fibre cereals (Weetabix, Porridge, All Bran), brown and wholemeal bread, plain or brown scones, pasta, rice, fruit and vegetables, artificial sweetener, potatoes with skins on, unsweetened squash, sugar free fizzy drinks

Choose healthier dessert options
Tinned fruit in natural or fruit juice, fresh fruit, stewed fruit without sugar/small amount of sugar, plain biscuits, diet yogurt or fromage-frais, sugar-free milk pudding

Low fat options
Fresh meat, chicken, fish (grilled/baked/steamed/boiled), low fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, low fat spread

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Healthy Heart

Healthy eating to reduce your risk of heart disease
Following on from last week’s blog on heart disease, let’s talk about one of the key risk factors you can control to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Making these simple changes can also help you reduce your risk of related health conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Eating a healthy balanced diet is important to keep your whole body working well. Healthy eating can also help control your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This means in the long term it can help to reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Eat Regularly
Try not to skip meals, especially breakfast, as this can cause your mood to worsen and make you feel irritable, tired and hungry. Start the day with breakfast, people who eat breakfast regularly are more likely to stay a healthy weight than people who don’t.
Get your daily intake of fruit and veg
Eating a wide variety of fruit and veg will ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep healthy. Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
A portion is about a handful, or:
·         80g of fresh fruit or vegetables
·         30g of dried fruit or vegetables
·         A small glass (150ml) of fruit juice (limit this to 1 per day maximum)
Your fruit and veg can be:
·         Fresh
·         Frozen
·         Tinned (in juice or water)
·         Dried
·         Juiced - remember juice only counts as one portion a day.
We need fat
You need some fat in your diet, but choosing the right type of fat is important for your heart health. Remember that all types of fat are high in calories so you should only eat them in small amounts.
Try to cut down on foods that are high in saturated fats. These fats can increase the level of cholesterol in your blood. They are found in foods like butter, lard, palm oil, coconut oil and full-fat dairy products, such as whole milk, cream and hard cheese. Go for lower fat dairy products such as low-fat milk and cheese.
Unsaturated fats are a healthier choice and are in foods like nuts and seeds, rapeseed oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, corn and soya oils and spreads made from them.
You should eat no more than 6g of salt a day
Six grams of salt is the equivalent of about one teaspoon. Try to use less salt in your cooking and when eating your food. Check the labels on snacks and ready meals and choose ones that are lower in salt and eat less processed food that has a lot of salt in it. This includes some ready meals, pizza, ketchup, sauces, sausages, bacon and some types of bread and some breakfast cereals.
 We need about 6–8 drinks a day to maintain good levels of hydration
All non-alcoholic drinks count, but a glass of water, low fat milk and fruit juice are the healthiest. Coffee, tea, colas and some energy drinks contain caffeine which some people use to boost their energy levels. Make sure these are not your only drinks, as a lot of caffeine may increase your blood pressure and cause sleep problems.
We need protein in our diet to keep our skin, muscles and the rest of our body healthy.
Oily fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines, kippers and salmon are good sources of protein and omega-3 fats. Aim for a couple of portions of fish a week and make one oily fish.
Aim to include a portion of protein at every meal. Foods high in protein are:
·         Lean meat
·         Eggs
·         Fish, including oily fish
·         Low fat milk
·         Beans
·         Lentils
·         Soya

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Coronary Heart Disease

What is coronary heart disease?
Coronary heart disease begins when your coronary arteries get narrowed by a gradual build-up of fatty material within their walls. These arteries supply your heart muscle with blood.
Over time, your coronary arteries may become so narrow that they can’t deliver enough blood to your heart. This can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest tightness or discomfort (angina).
If a piece of the fatty material in your arteries breaks away then a blood clot will form. A heart attack happens when a blood clot blocks one of your coronary arteries, cutting off the blood supply to your heart muscle.
What increases your risk of heart disease?
A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease. There are many risk factors for coronary heart disease.
Some risk factors you can’t control. These include:
·                     your ethnic background
·                     a history of heart disease in your family
·                     your age
·                     your gender
Talk to your GP if you are worried about any of these. They can help you identify the changes you need to make and where to start.
Some risk factors you can control, such as:
·         smoking
·                     not eating a healthy diet
·                     being overweight or obese
·                     high blood pressure
·                     high blood cholesterol
·                     not being physically active
·                     drinking too much alcohol
·                     diabetes
In the next few weeks we’re be talking about the risk factors for heart disease you can control and the simple changes you can make to your lifestyle to help reduce your risk

Coeliac Disease

What is coeliac disease?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, oats, spelt and barley. Those with coeliac disease have an autoimmune reaction to gluten. This affects about 1% of the population. The only treatment is to exclude gluten entirely from their diet. If a person with coeliac disease eats food containing gluten (even a tiny quantity), it damages the lining of their gut leading to symptoms (diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, cramping) and medical complications (malabsorption, osteoporosis, anaemia).
The EU law stipulates that 14 specific food allergens are declared on prepacked and non-packed foods. Gluten is one of these allergens. If a food on the menu contains gluten, the exact cereal containing the gluten must also be identified and specified on the menu.
Why follow a gluten free diet?
Those with a diagnosis of coeliac disease must follow a gluten free diet as it is the only treatment available. This diet aims to exclude all dietary sources of gluten and ensure gluten containing foods are substituted with an alternative of similar nutrient quality.
Where is gluten found in food?
As we mentioned, gluten is found in wheat, rye, oats, spelt and barley and any foods made with these cereals. Other sources of gluten to avoid when reading labels of processed foods include; starch or modified starch (check source-allowed if not made from wheat), cereal filler, wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, malt, malt flavouring, malt extract. The Coeliac Society of Ireland provides a comprehensive directory to gluten free foods yearly.
The best way to ensure ingredients are gluten free is by reading the label. Allergens are highlighted and written in bold in the ingredient list. In the case of gluten, the cereal containing the gluten must be specified on the label.
The crossed grain symbol is nationally and internationally recognised by those who need to follow a gluten-free diet.

What about FODMAPS?
Carbohydrates include: bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and sugary foods. Those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are sensitive to certain carbohydrates in food called FODMAPS which are poorly digested and lead to symptoms in certain people such as wind and bloating. Irritable bowel syndrome affects 10-15% of the population. The letters in the word FODMAP each represent a name of each fermentable carbohydrate. The name may not be familiar to you but it refers to the chemical name given to a group of specific carbohydrates.
Oligosaccharides (fructans and galactans) are a type of fermentable carbohydrate/type of fibre which are found in wheat, onions, garlic, beans and certain fruit and vegetables.
Those who have IBS who have not found relief in following a healthy eating diet, high in fibre and fluid and wish to follow a low FODMAP diet are advised to do so under guidance from a registered dietitian before making unnecessary dietary restrictions.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Healthy Eating on a Budget

If you have a tight budget , it can seem hard to maintain a Healthy Balanced diet. However there are lots of ways you can shop, eat and cook smartly instead of reaching for unhealthy meals.
Eat lots of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (5-7 portions per day) , good quality protein, fish, omega 3 rich foods, high fibre carbohydrates, low fat dairy and not too much fat.
Top 10 tips to eat Healthy on a budget
1. Shop around & Buy own Brand
2. Create weekly menu
3. Pay in cash - to avoid exceeding with card
4. Prepare Shopping lists
5. Be Saturated Fat and Salt Savvy - see signs around Campus
6. Look out for loyalty cards - save on Coffee & Soup
7. Don't shop hungry
8. Club together with Housemates
9. Shop once per week
10. Fill the Freezer
When Eating on Campus , see top tips to choose healthy options:
Look out for "Eat Well" Leaf
Choose healthy hot options such as stir fries & extra vegetables
Make use of the Salad Bars
Put sauces/gravy's/dressings on the side
Choose options that are baked not fried
Opt for tomato based dishes instead of creamier dishes
Choose vegetarian options - these are packed full of protein & nutrients and can be lower in fat
Healthy Meal ideas:
Stir Fries, Healthy Rolls/Sandwiches filled with rolls, Pasta & Protein pots, Baked Potato & Beans, Healthy Soups & Cous Cous Salads.
All available around campus!!