Posts

Cholesterol, heart, diet, dietitian, food, health, fitness

Lowering Your Cholesterol The Healthy Way – Dietary Advice

Lowering Your Cholesterol The Healthy Way – Dietary Advice

Have you had your cholesterol checked?

More people die in Ireland today from heart disease than any other illness. It accounts for 36% of deaths in Ireland. The positive news is that 80% of the incidence of heart disease can be prevented by improving lifestyle factors. Unfortunately, we are not in control of other risk factors such as age, gender and genetic predisposition to illness. We are however in control of modifiable risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking and if taken care of we can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked!

Cholesterol is a waxy substance of which 75% is produced by the liver and 25% can be found in certain foods.

It is essential in producing all the body’s cells and hormones, and is needed to make vitamin D and bile for digestion.  However, when your blood has too much cholesterol this can stick to the walls of arteries. A build-up of cholesterol in the arteries, narrows the arteries restricting the amount of blood flow to the brain and heart. This can eventually cause a blockage leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Lipoproteins

Cholesterol is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins. There are two main lipoproteins: LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). Too much LDL is unhealthy therefore it is referred to as bad cholesterol and should be kept low. HDL is protective however and helps to remove LDL cholesterol. HDL is known as the good cholesterol and should be kept high.

What do the numbers mean?

One of the best ways of taking control of your cholesterol is through a healthy diet and physical activity.

Choosing a healthy diet low in saturated fat (butter, cream, cheese, coconut oil, palm oil, lard, fatty meat, processed meats, confectionary foods) is one way of reducing your cholesterol levels. Aim to consume less than 20g saturated fat per day to help to reduce your LDL cholesterol. When reading food-labels avoid anything more than 5g saturated fat per 100g.

It’s not all about cutting out the bad stuff – the good news is that there are foods you can introduce into your diet that will also help to lower your cholesterol levels.

  • Nuts – with their positive nutrient profile of fibre, falvonoids and monounsaturated fats, have been shown to lower cholesterol by 3-7.5%. They reduce the risk of heart disease by 37% . Aim for 30g unsalted almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts or peanuts per day.

 

  • Soluble fibre – found in fruit, vegetables, oats, beans and pulses. It can lower LDL cholesterol by 5-20% if you consume 15-20g per day. Increase foods containing oat beta – glucan (porridge, oatbran, oatcakes, porridge bread)  and other wholegrains, beans and pulses (aim for 80-100g per day).

 

  • Oil rich fish – a rich source of unsaturated fats especially omega 3 which have heart protective benefits. Aim to have 1-2 servings (140g) per week – salmon, sardines, mackerel, kipper, trout, anchovies, eel, pilchards, fresh tuna, sprats, whitebait, whiting. Other healthy fats include olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds.

 

  • As always recommended, increase your fruit and vegetables to 5-7 portions per day. A portion is approximately 80g per day. Consumption of at least 400g fruit and vegetables per day has been associated with lower incidence of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer and obesity. They are low in calories, high in phytonutrients, soluble fibre, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.

 

  • Plant stanols or sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and are naturally found in a wide range of foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. They mimic cholesterol and compete with it for absorption. Most diets provide a small amount of plant stanols/sterols (approx 300mg for average person, or 600mg for those on vegetarian diets) however an intake of 1.5-2.4g per day has been shown to reduce cholesterol by 7-10% over 2-3 weeks. Always check with your GP if you are taking medication for your cholesterol.

 

  • Soya foods – consumption of 15g-25g soya protein daily has been scientifically proven to lower LDL cholesterol by 4-10%. Include more soya products in the diet such as soya beans, soya yoghurts, soya  milk, tofu, edamame beans.

 

For further information on cholesterol and diet why not attend a cholesterol workshop at Personal Health Rathmines carried out by Consultant Dietitian Caoimhe McDonald where she will provide you with practical tips on a cholesterol lowering diet in a supportive environment.

Next Cholesterol Workshop Date: Wednesday 12th April 7-8pm

Book your place now at 01-4964002

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

Take control of your IBS don’t let it control you – By Caoimhe Mc Donald

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

“Take control of your IBS don’t let it control you”   

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic and relapsing bowel disorder. It affects up to 20% of adults and adolescents as well as children. It is 1.5 times more common in women than in men.  Symptoms include:

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

  • abdominal pain
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • flatulence
  • poor appetite
  • indigestion

It is important to note that many conditions have symptoms that can mimic IBS. Inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease and microscopic colitis are a few. It is important that the diagnosis of IBS has been carried out, coeliac disease has been ruled-out and alarm features are absent.

Many people have had symptoms of IBS all their lives and done nothing about it. It is so often put down to having “a sensitive tummy”. As a Dietitian, I would estimate 60 – 70% of my patients suffer with IBS. It is very common for people to come to a dietitian for a different reason and drop it into conversation when discussing their diet. People wonder how it has become so much more common these days. However, when asked about their family history many report one or both of their parents have avoided a food for years as it “doesn’t agree with them”. 

Irritable Bowel, Dietitian, Rathmines

The truth is, more people feel comfortable discussing their digestive health and doing something about it. People live busy lives that can often be stressful and many are now more conscious of their diet and looking after their health. I have seen patients with such severe symptoms it has a huge impact on their quality of life. They are unable to attend work, they fear getting public transport, avoid social activities or not sleeping at night as a result. Why live with something like this when symptoms can be managed effectively?

Multifactorial

The exact cause of IBS is not known and it is thought to be multifactorial. Suggested causes may be; a previous gastrointestinal infection, prolonged antibiotic use, stress, medication, alcohol, poor diet and lifestyle factors. Two thirds of IBS patients perceive their symptoms are related to food. Symptoms can come and go and may be exacerbated in stressful situations which can make it difficult to identify the exact triggers.

So how do people go about managing their symptoms of IBS?

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

  • Medical management using anti-diarrhoeals, anti-spasmodics, laxatives or low dose antidepressants
  • Self-help – 7% treat themselves with no medical supervision
  • Herbal remedies
  • Psychological guidance
  • Probiotics
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Dietary guidance

Diet assessment and adjustment by a qualified dietitian is so important in the management of IBS. Many patients prefer dietary management rather than a reliance on medication. As a dietitian specialising in digestive health, it is very rewarding to see a patients’ symptoms improve. With guidance on diet, meal pattern, lifestyle factors and stress management, people will notice improvements. Some may immediately feel better after increasing fibre in the diet, increasing fluid and introducing exercise. Others may find eliminating certain foods beneficial or the use of a probiotic.

FODMAP Diet

There is a growing interest in restriction of short chain fermentable carbohydrates called FODMAPs (fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols….a mouthful I know!) for IBS management. The low FODMAP diet is an exclusion diet specifically for patients with IBS which has been supported by 30 clinical studies. Research has shown that limiting these foods (high in FODMAPS) can alleviate the symptoms associated with IBS.  The low FODMAP diet should be done under the supervision of a dietitian as exclusion diets are at risk of nutritional inadequacy.

If you feel you could benefit from seeing a dietitian in relation to digestive health or any other dietary issue contact Caoimhe McDonald at Personal Health. Caoimhe has worked with patients with IBS for years and can help you identify the triggers for your IBS. Caoimhe will provide meal suggestions, recipes and shopping lists to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting all the nutrients you need.

In Conclusion, diet is not always the cause. It can be just one contributing factor to IBS. For many, stress management may be the best solution. Contact the Personal Health team to make an appointment with Consultant Dietitian Caoimhe McDonald or Psychotherapist Susan Duffy on 01 4964002.

Personal Health, Rather Road, Chronic Health intervention

Surprise Your Bones….

Exercise for Osteoporosis

Medically Led Fitness

Responsible Exercise for Osteoperosis

When I was training as a student in Cork University Hospital our lead Clinical Educator, Fiona, had a stock phrase for helping patients with Osteoporosis.

‘Surprise your Bones’ said Fiona regularly, in a gentle Scottish lilt. Whether it was her accent or it’s ‘catchiness’, the phrase seemed to stick!

Fiona was a Clinical Specialist in the area and really believed in the positive benefits of exercise for Osteoporosis. The tricky part is knowing what are the correct exercises, what are the safe ones and what needs to be avoided. The even trickier part is making a class relevant/enjoyable to a 60 year old lady. We know you would rather be on the golf course or anywhere else!

Medically Led Fitness Osteoperosis Classes

Exercise can be responsible and good fun

Personal Health Exercise Classes

At Personal Health, our Chartered Physiotherapists manage a nice happy medium in this class. We aim for the whole thing to be enjoyable, sociable and challenging enough to ‘surprise the bones’ into shape.

Typically Osteoporosis affects females far more than males, usually over the age of 55. It is diagnosed by DEXA scan which is able to measure bone density. This is usually through imaging of the hip bone.

For those managing Osteoporosis it tends to be a quiet process. There’s typically no pain, and one might only be alerted to it’s complexities when in the A&E room after something has caused a fracture.

Areas such as the base of the thumb/ wrist and hip are more vulnerable for fracture. This is based on the age and activity profile of those diagnosed with the disease. Similarly a focussed approach to improving balance and/or falls prevention can be a smart way to approach the condition.

Frequently an osteoporotic patient will be undergoing ‘medical’ management of the condition by taking prescribed tablets –  ’Calcichew’- or something similar. It has various classifications in terms of severity. Often patients opt for a sustained (but finite) period of injection therapy as treatment. These injections aim to increase the strength of cortical bone structure in addition to the focussed dietary and exercise interventions.

Personal Health Dublin 6

Chronic disease is just a definition not a life sentence

Medically Led Fitness

In Personal Health our Medically Led Fitness programmes are geared towards optimising chronic health issues. By definition, ‘chronic’ relates to time and duration – not severity.

So with a chronic diagnosis like Osteoporosis, you have the power to successfully thrive. At Personal Health, we provide a helping hand, some time and a refreshing enjoyable approach to managing your chronic health issue.

Diet, Nutrition, weight, dietitian, dublin 6

Diet, Nutrition…. what is all the fuss about?

Diet, Nutrition…. what is all the fuss about?

what is nutrition

 

When giving presentations I often ask my audience “why do you think diet is so important?”.

Various responses are given; “to lose weight”, “prevent heart problems”,“ prevent diabetes” which are all true but they are long term effects of good nutrition. It is amazing to see how few people think about the short term effects of eating a healthy balanced diet.

We are living busy lives trying to juggle family life, work, friends, exercise to say nothing of diet. Few people have time to sit down and think about their diet and how it affects them.

balanced diet

 

Eating a balanced diet in addition to having regular meals throughout the day can:

  • Boost your energy levels
  • Prevent sugar cravings
  • Protect your digestive health
  • Stop that sluggish feeling after a heavy meal
  • Prevent low mood
  • Boost your immune system
  • Improve your concentration levels
  • Encourage self esteem

Reduce risk

In addition to the short term effects of good nutrition, in the long run a healthy diet can reduce your risk of developing:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Osteoporosis
  • Anaemia
  • Diverticulitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

In fact, many illnesses can be as a result of our genes which we can do nothing about. However, we are in control of modifiable risk factors such as our diet and physical activity and can reduce the risk of various diseases.

How can Personal Health help you to achieve a healthy diet?

Finally, our Consultant Dietitian can assist you and help you to improve your diet by;

  • identifying your specific nutritional needs
  • providing dietary and lifestyle advice tailored to your needs
  • coupled with developing tailored resources such as recipes, meal plans, shopping lists to help you to achieve your goals too
  • providing encouragement and motivation in a supportive, non-judgemental environment.

Diet teamCall us to find out more.

Phone 01 496 4002                                                                      

Email: info@personalhealth.ie

Website: www.personalhealth.ie

Andrew Dunne Managing Director Personal Health

The Orchestra & The Human Body

Dublin_Philharmonic_Orchestra_performing_Tchaikovsky's_Symphony_No_4_in_Charlotte,_North_Carolina

If you’re over 35…..Listen to your body instead of looking at it so much. All your vital internal instruments will thank you – you might even start to sound like a nice melody!

From the time you are born to around the time you turn 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger. But at some point in your 30s, you begin to lose muscle mass and function, a condition known as age-related sarcopenia. Nothing overly serious, but to summarise, it’s to do with nerve cells, brain signalling and hormonal changes.

We’ve all been down this road at some point….

  • Going for a run (too much too soon until it hurts)
  • Buying a new bike that gathers dust in the shed
  • Trying ‘High Intensity’ exercise
  • Abstaining from any of the good stuff in life

The truth is we have difficulty maintaining an ideally healthy lifestyle because of various factors (as above) and external stressors, such as job demands, cost of living and just being beautifully flawed!

But our health matters…..It’s frustratingly complex.

Personal Health

So what do we suggest at Personal Health?

  • Consult with our Medical team about your lifestyle choices
  • Exercise for 30 minutes with our Physiotherapists
  • Make small practical changes to your diet, with the help of our dieticians
  • Learn how to make behavioural changes to your sleep
  • Outsource your health concerns to an expert medical team