Whelehans Health Blog

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Combating Tiredness

Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to info@whelehans.ie

 In a recent survey, 68% of Irish adults blame tiredness for not doing all what they want to do. Over half of women blame too much house work as the cause for their lack of energy while in the case of men; their work was cited as the main reason (over half of all cases) for lack of energy. Other major reasons cited for lack of energy in this survey included (in order of popularity) raring children, not participating in enough exercise, poor diet and lack of sleep.

Keeping yourself energised
Exercise will help shake off any cobwebs and make you feel more energised. It has been proven to improve mood by stimulating “good mood” hormones in the brain such as serotonin. If you find it hard to motivate yourself to exercise, find something you can do with a friend as you will be more inclined to exercise if you have someone to exercise with as you won’t want to let them down. Team exercises have the same “motivating” effect.

Eating a healthy balanced diet will help prevent tiredness. Aim to eat the recommended five portions of fruit and veg per day and plenty of water. Keep sugar and high sweet foods to a minimum as while these will give you a quick surge of energy, this always leads to a quick lull as your body experiences a fast energy crash as sugar is processed and excreted quickly by the body. Aim for slow releasing foods such as porridge, these will keep you feeling energised for longer.

Many people cannot get enough sleep for medical reasons, with about 40,000 Irish people suffering from chronic insomnia. But for many of us, not getting enough sleep is simply down to not going to bed in time. Sleep requirements vary from person to person, and it varies from 6 to 9 hours. Most people need up to 8 hours sleep. Therefore, if you find yourself having an afternoon slump or falling asleep on the chair in the evening, the first thing you should look at is how many hours sleep you get. For example, if you find yourself watching TV or DVDs late at night, you may need to discipline yourself and turn off technology by a certain time and get to bed.

Could a medical condition be causing tiredness?
If you experience overwhelming and persistent tiredness, blood tests may need to be done to rule out other conditions such as anaemia (low iron), or haemochromatosis (too much iron). Other possible reasons for tiredness include under active thyroid, fatigue syndrome (CFS) and liver and kidney problems.

Practical ways of giving yourself more personal time
Do not get frustrated if you do not get everything done. The nature of life is for us to get distracted and for new tasks to crop up unexpectantly throwing our plans off course. Allowing for distractions will mean you will be less frustrated when they occur. Be realistic with what you can achieve in a day and don’t be afraid to say no at times. Learn to delegate both at home and at work.

B Vitamins
Our body uses a variety of enzymes to break down food and convert it to energy. Many vitamins are needed for this process, particularly the B vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6. Therefore B vitamins are essential for energy release. Example of good sources of B vitamins include bananas, lentils, potatoes, beans, brewer’s yeast, egg yolk and yogurt. If you feel you need a pick me up, Whelehans Tonic can give you the energy boost you need. It contains B vitamins and iron. These vitamins can be lacking in people who are not fond of fruit and vegetables. Tonics and supplements are only for short term use.

Upcoming Rheumatoid Arthritis Talk
Lack of energy of is a common symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Whelehans Pharmacy in conjunction with Arthritis Ireland (Westmeath Branch) is hosting a Rheumatoid Arthritis Information evening next Tuesday April 28th at 7pm in the Greville Arms Hotel in Mullingar. Admission is free. Speakers on the night will include Aoife Weller from Mullingar who suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis; Nutritionist Aisling Murray BSc (nutrition); Chartered Physiotherapist Sinead Brogan MISCP and pharmacist Eamonn Brady MPSI. Call the Whelehans Pharmacy at 04493 34591 for more information or to book a place.

This article is shortened. More detailed information and leaflets is available in Whelehans

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Reducing Cholesterol Naturally

Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar. Check www.whelehans.ie for more information. If you have any health questions e-mail them to info@whelehans.ie

If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, the first method of treatment will usually involve making some changes to your diet (adopting a low fat diet), and ensuring that you take plenty of regular exercise.  After a few months, if your cholesterol level has not dropped, your GP will usually advise cholesterol lowering medication available on prescription. The problem with cholesterol is that so much of it is down to our genes. It is reckoned that 60% of cholesterol is due to your genes (meaning that it runs in families). This means that in some cases, eating healthily, maintaining an ideal weight and exercising regularly may not get it down sufficiently if you have a strong genetic link in your family.

Changing to a diet low in saturated fats can reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol.  A healthy diet includes foods from all of the different food groups including carbohydrates (cereals, wholegrain bread, potato, rice, pasta), proteins (for example, from lean meat, such as chicken and oily fish, like mackerel or sardines), and fats (varieties that are unsaturated, such as low fat mono- or poly-unsaturated spreads, and vegetable or sunflower oil).  You should also eat at least five portions of a variety of different fruit and vegetables daily. Aim to reduce saturated fat (contained in lard, butter, hard margarine, cheese, whole milk and anything that contains these ingredients, such as cakes, chocolate, biscuits, pies and pastries)

Good fats
Including a small amount of unsaturated fats in your diet can be a healthy choice, as this type of fat can actually reduce cholesterol levels.  Current thinking is that the traditional Mediterranean diet, with its emphasis on raw olive oil in many foods, and low animal-fat content, is effective in ensuring a healthy heart. Foods high in unsaturated fats include:

  • Oily fish
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil
  • Vegetable oils
Weight loss
Losing weight is an important first step in helping you lower cholesterol. The best way to lose weight is to reduce your calorie intake and increase exercise. There is no quick fix to weight loss; it will take time, perseverance and hard work. However the benefits to your physical and mental health are outstanding.

Whelehans Nutrition Service
Whelehans nutritional service is a private one to one advice service with our nutritionist Aisling Murray. Aisling’s areas of interest include weight loss management, nutrition education and food intolerance. Our nutrition service offers you the chance to change your life in a positive way by focusing on your overall wellbeing as well as the chance to follow up on your progress.

Disclaimer: Consult a healthcare professional before making any changes recommended
This article is shortened. For more detailed information, logon to www.whelehans.ie or contact Whelehans at 044 93 34591 or info@whelehans.ie and we will forward you a more detailed copy for free