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  • Breathe Easy

    Nutritionist & Fitness Instructor, Kerry O’Connor, is on the trail for a  hay fever solution with no nasty side effects.

    Hay fever can cause great discomfort and can make the upcoming summer months quite miserable and unbearable for sufferers. Hay fever, also known as Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, is an allergic reaction of the nasal passages and airways to wind-borne pollens. In Ireland, up to 90% of sufferers are allergic to grass pollen with some allergic to tree and herb pollens.

    HayfeverHay fever sufferers can spend the summer season with a blocked and runny nose, sneezing, itchy red and watery eyes, sinus congestion with headaches. Overproduction of mucus can lead to coughing and postnasal drip. The symptoms of hay fever can in turn, lead to fatigue and lethargy. This occurs because the body’s immune system produces antibodies to the allergen (pollen) which results in the allergic symptoms previously mentioned. Even though everyone has some of these antibodies, an allergic person has an unusually large amount. The body’s first response is usually to release a chemical called histamine, this causes the itching and watering of the nose and eyes typically seen in hay fever sufferers.

    The severity depends on each individual with some people thinking they have a summer cold, however unlike a cold which will disappear after a few days, hay fever symptoms remain as long as the pollen does. Other people can be almost housebound on hot, sunny days.

    Tips to boost your immune system

    >> Start taking good quality microbiotics such as Udo’s Choice Super 8, this helps boost the good bacteria that stimulate your immune system.

    >> Increase antioxidant-rich foods in your diet, eat the colours of the rainbow through your fruit and vegetables daily.

    >> Take a bio-dynamic Echinacea tincture such as the therapeutic grade Echinacea from Irish Botanica as this stimulates the immune system to stabilise the cells that produce histamine. This is best started before the hay fever season begins.

    Medical Herbalist, David Foley, says “Echinacea has been traditionally used in the treatment of Hay Fever and perennial allergic rhinitis. It is usually used in combination with other anti-allergy herbs such as nettle, eyebright and plantain.”

    >> Quercetin, found in certain foods such as apples, onions and green tea has also been shown to inhibit histamine release.

    Some tips to help you through hay fever season

    >> Avoid areas of lowland country grassland, get to the coast as much as possible as the pollen levels are lower there.

    >> Keep car and house windows closed during the peak pollen hours of late morning and late afternoon.

    >> Don’t sleep with the bedroom window open.

    >> Avoid smokers and smoky environments as smoke can aggravate the condition.

    >> Wear wraparound sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.

    >> Put a smear of Vaseline inside each nostril to capture pollen entering the nasal passages.

  • Mind Your Child

    Let's hear more from writer, coach and well being consultant Niamh Imbusch  as she explores the calming art of mindfulness as a route to successful parenting...

    shutterstock_151808888

     

    Mindfulness is about paying attention in the present moment and becoming skillful about how we respond to circumstances. Developing a meditation practice can help us to become more mindful, but even if you are not a meditator, there are simple things you can do to be fully present and mindful for your children. Developing your awareness of distractions and focusing on your breath – these are mindfulness skills which anyone can develop and which can help us as parents.

    Our minds are naturally programmed to wander and it’s a lot easier to do this when our smartphones constantly distract us with emails and messages. Yet young children in particular thrive on having our attention. Being present and fully available to them does not mean you have to be over-attentive, but it’s probably a good idea to put the smartphone away for the few minutes it takes to listen and respond to them. Even without a phone, it’s easy to let your mind wander, running through your ‘to-do’ list while your small child is telling you a story. Mindfulness simply means being aware that you have become distracted, and bringing your attention back to your child.

    Parenting is a huge responsibility, and our hopes and expectations for our children can easily colour how we respond when things don’t go according to plan. Mindfulness can help us to avoid rushing to hasty judgments, allowing us to become skillful in how we react to unexpected situations. In the few seconds it takes to pause and take three or five deep, silent breaths, we can give ourselves time to choose a more discerning response. This same technique can be used to help us remain calm as we rush between activities. Try it when leaving the house for school, while stopped in traffic, or before leaving work to pick up the kids.

    A calm parent means a calm child, and research shows that mindfulness can help to reduce stress. It teaches us that we are not our thoughts, and that we can alter how we choose to respond in challenging situations. Try it for yourself. A few minutes of mindfulness every day can make all the difference.

    Bedtime Buddha

    Settling children down for bedtime can be stressful after a long, tiring day. Integrating three simple mindfulness practices into their bedtime routine may smooth the transition from day to night for your little ones.

    Joy that's shared is joy made double

    Remembering the nice things Help your child to feel calm and confident by reinforcing their positive experiences. Together recalling the nice things that they have done during the day – like meeting their friends or eating something yummy for dinner – can set them up for a restful sleep.

    Sending love In compassion practices, we send kind intentions to other people and to ourselves. At bedtime, encourage your child to choose one or more people to send love to. It can be their granny, a friend, even a favourite toy. What’s important is that they set a deliberate intention to send kindness. Remember to send some love to yourselves too!

    Belly breathing Encourage your active child to place their two hands on their belly and observe their hands move on the pattern of their breath. This gently practice can help to relax them off to sleep. Snuggle younger children close to you, and take deep, relaxing breaths yourself. They will quickly tune into your gentle movements and start to nod off.

     

  • Lean, Keen and Green!

    Summer’s rolling in and who doesn’t want to be beach fit? Strong, slim and brimming with vitality? Well it’s not just about tans and gym bods. Looking and feeling great involves true health. It means enjoying a balanced, nutrient-rich diet so that the body’s many complex, interdependent systems work as they should.

    Greens 3

    To get well, stay well and live well, some of the most important foods to eat everyday are the greens ones: kale, broccoli, chards, spinach, white cabbage, romaine lettuce and beet greens to name but a few. Greens are simply loaded with fibre, vitamins, minerals and plant compounds to keep you fit and happy. The more we understand about nutrition and health, the more we appreciate how greens are the heart of a robust human diet. It’s not just hype: greens really are ‘superfoods’.

    They are abundant sources of Vitamins K which helps hold off cardiovascular disease and bone fragility. Generous supplies of B vitamins – which we can’t store and must replenish daily – help us to both convert food into energy and cope with stress. Vitamins C helps cells repair while Vitamin A is vital for normal vision, a strong skeletal system, healthy nervous function and much more. Greens are also wonderful sources of magnesium, potassium, manganese and folate, all of which are essential to the full health of human beings. They even contain calcium – ok, not a full day’s allowance but it all adds up.

    Green

    Of course, not all greens are created equal. There’s a sliding scale in terms of nutrient density with kale (the king of greens) at one end, and iceberg lettuce (which is mostly water) at the other. However, a good diet is a varied one. Mixing things up means we get a fuller suite of nutrients and don’t miss out on some interesting benefits from the lesser eaten greens. Wheatgrass and barley grass, for example, are absolutely loaded with health-giving chlorophyll, antioxidants and enzymes to help maintain the body’s delicate acid-alkaline balance. Juicing them yourself takes time and equipment but you can always get a quick daily boost with One Nutrition Wheatgrass and Barley Grass which are juiced before being powdered, making them six times stronger than similar products.

    Greens 2

    But what if you’re just not that keen on greens? Get creative. Forget the soggy plate-side cabbage of your childhood and think kale crisps, collards slow-cooked with ham, spicy taco wrapped in cabbage leaves, spinach muffins and a whole world of salads. Just remember that all greens are good and more is better. One Nutrition® Organic Power Greens - 200g PowderIn fact, to ensure you get a diverse array of nutrients every day, you could also supplement with One Nutrition Power Greens. Ingredients include the most potent of brassica veg, wheat and barley grasses and the famed green algae chlorella and spirulina – the one NASA deems a perfect food for astronauts.

    Great summers happen when you feel great. So to enjoy a fun, beach-happy season, grab some daily greens.

  • How to get that Morning Glow

    Broadcaster Daniella Moyles shares her tips for beautiful skin and keeping energy levels up throughout the month.

    Daniella Moyels

    Q. Between a hectic radio broadcasting career and your modelling gigs, you’re clearly a very busy woman, but it never shows on your face, is your skin naturally perfect? 

    A. Definitely not, I was always prone to repeat breakouts around my T-Zone, especially in and around my period. I have noticed a definite reduction in the frequency and severity of my breakouts since I started taking Cleanmarine for Women, nowadays the odd pimple here and there is the most Ihave to contend with.

     

    Q. With your breakfast show 'Fully Charged' starting at 6.45am you must be a very early riser. Talk us through your morning skin routine.

    A. I’m a creature of habit and have had the same morning skincare routine for years. I splash my face with lukewarm water and gently dab it dry with a clean towel, then I’ll cleanse my face and neck using a cotton pad and some rose water, finished off with an application of La Roche-Posay Rosaliac moisturiser with SPF 15 and some Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour cream onmy lips.

     

    Q. What about at night?

    A. At night, I clean off any make-up or residue from the day with my La Roche-Posay Effaclar foaming gel, then I cleanse my face and neck again with rose water. Instead of moisturiser at night I like to use an oil – Trilogy antioxidant rose hip oil is a favourite, after applying that to my face and neck I use Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour cream again.

     

    Q. What are your favourite treatments to keep your skin glowing and clear?

    A. Once a week I’ll exfoliate my face using a scrub and my Clarisonic Mia 2 and every six months I’ll indulge in a microdermabrasion facial for a deeper clean. Apart from that, lots of water!

     

    Q. Do certain foods affect your skin? I recently went for a food intolerance test and discovered I was highly intolerant to eggs and dairy.

    A. Knowledge is power and no health food guru or general diet can account for your body. I encourage everyone to get a test now because it has really helped everything from my skin to my energy levels and overall wellbeing.

     

    Q. You’re the brand ambassador for Cleanmarine for Women – what changes have you noticed since you began using it regularly?

    A. Most obviously how my body deals with PMS, before I found Cleanmarine for Women I suffered with headache, nausea, tiredness, mood swings and cramps. Now I never lose a day to PMS. Plus, my skin, hair and nails are stronger and it has given me vitality all month that I’ve never had before.

    Daniella

     

    Q. Studies have shown that Cleanmarine for Women can help with PMS days by alleviating symptoms. Have you noticed a difference in how your body reacts to your period since you started taking it?

    A. Before taking Cleanmarine for Women I could easily spend up to three days per month in discomfort. I would suffer from aches and mood swings and just feel generally out of sorts. Now I have hardly any noticeable symptoms at all and I noticed the change in around eight weeks.

     

    Q. Cleanmarine for Women is also said to maintain healthy skin. How does it do this? On top of your krill oil, it’s packed full of vitamins D and B, and other good stuff like rosemary extract. When you feel under the weather, how do you perk yourself up?

    A. I like natural solutions: a lemon and ginger tea, a 10-minute meditation, a long walk and some general TLC, a massage or a beauty treatment always perks me up.

     

    Q. And finally, what’s your top tip for beautiful skin when travelling?

    A. Stay hydrated! Bring a mist spray on the flight, use it regularly and drink at least two litres of water a day. Water is beautiful skin’s best friend.

  • No. 1 Tip for a Healthy Holiday

    Sun, Sea, Sand, Sickness!? The last thing you want to experience on your hols is a bout of traveller’s tummy.

    Traveller’s tummy occurs when your digestive system is not able to handle bacteria found in food and water native to your destination. This can ruin your long awaited holiday with tummy upsets, abdominal cramps, nausea and diarrhoea.

    Travel Tips 2

    You can help to prevent this by stocking up on a “good” bacteria supplement such as Udo’s Choice® Super 8 Microbiotic before, during and after your holiday. This is a convenient, preventative measure to make sure your body is nutritionally strong and able to compete with potentially harmful bacteria that enter your digestive tract.

    Super 8Strength

    With 42 billion good bacteria in each daily capsule, Super 8 will help to restore the balance of good bacteria in your gut, ease constipation and prevent digestive upsets, meaning you can enjoy your holiday away from the loo.

    Travel Tips

    Strains

    Packed with 8 strains of good bacteria, Super 8 covers your entire digestive system including Lactobacillus acidophilus which has been shown to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, Shegella, S.faecalis and E.coli, as well as Lactobacillus casei which has shown to be helpful in treating diarrhoea.

    Après Antibiotics

    If you do get caught out and end up on medication, Super 8 will also restore the balance of a healthy gut and immune system if taken when you get home and is ideal after antibiotics.

    Iced WaterTip

    Ice is something that can often catch you out as it is often made from the local water supply which is swimming with unfamiliar bacteria. To be on the safe side ask the bar to hold the ice!

    Recommended use:

    Take 1 - 3 capsules per day after eating to help build up good intestinal flora.

    Udo’s Choice® Super 8 is available refrigerated in health stores and pharmacies or buy online now.

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