Click on our questions below to find out the answers:
1. What is considered a good healthy breakfast?
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast should be based around a high fibre food with some fruit or juice to help start the day with immune boosting vitamins.
Some breakfast ideas include;
- Unsweetened muesli with mixed berries, 2 tsp of lecithin granules and soya milk.
- Porridge with Apple Juice; soak porridge oats in apple juice overnight. Then the following morning fold in some grated apple before cooking.
- Banana Porridge; slice some banana in a bowl and pour your porridge on top. You can add a spoonful of honey for extra sweetness if you like.
- Berry, Spinach and Oat Smoothie; mix one banana with a handful of berries, a handful of spinach, 2 tsp of oats, 1 tsp of lecithin granules and 200mls of low fat milk. Blend together and serve.
- Sliced banana, apple and grapes mixed together served with a pot of low fat probiotic yoghurt and 2 tsp of linseed.
- Poached egg on wholegrain toast with a glass of multivitamin juice.
Try having a glass of fruit juice with your breakfast to help boost your vitamin C intake for the day. This will also count towards one of your fruit servings for the day.
2. I have been diagnosed with coeliac disease, what exactly is coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the upper small intestinal mucosa, characterised by permanent intolerance to dietary gluten. Symptoms can include;
- Weight loss
- Abdominal cramps
- Failure to thrive in children
- Occasionally some individuals are asymptomatic
Once your doctor has diagnosed you with coeliac disease you must see a dietician.
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3. I was recently diagnosed with coeliac disease, what foods should I be avoiding?
Gluten is a protein present in wheat, barley and rye. The safety of oats in a gluten free diet has been debated for some years. Those of you who have been diagnosed Coeliac for some time will recall Health Professionals recommended the avoidance of wheat, rye, oats and barley to ensure your diet was gluten free. The main reason was that it was nearly impossible to source gluten free oats. However, it is now possible to produce ‘pure oats’ that have not been contaminated by gluten containing cereals which means that many Coeliacs following a gluten free diet may at long last enjoy the benefits of including oats in their diet. However, there are some people and some conditions for whom it is important to still avoid oats.
The Coeliac Society advise certain restrictions see here. http://www.coeliac.ie/gf_living/choosing_food/ingredients
To ensure good health, normal growth and repair of the gut lining, the Gluten-Free diet must be followed for LIFE. Once a strict gluten-free diet is commenced, the villi in the gut begin to re-grow and symptoms begin to improve. Always check the labels and remember: if in doubt, leave it out!
You need to avoid the following ingredients:
- Oats (for some coeliac’s who are still sensitive to oats)
- Cereal Filler,
- Durum Wheat,
- Bulgar Wheat,
- Malt Extract,
- Malt Flavouring,
- Wheat Starch,
- Starch (check the source – allowed unless made from wheat),
- Modified Starch (check the source – allowed unless made from wheat),
- Wheat Bran,
- Wheat Germ.
Once diagnosed with coeliac disease you must see a dietitian.
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4. What is Gluten sensitivity?
Some people find that their gut is irritated when they eat foods that contain gluten, yet did not have coeliac disease when tested by their GP. The symptoms of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity may be similar to those experienced by many people with coeliac disease, but there are no reactions by their blood and no damage to the lining of the gut.
Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity is becoming more recognized. However more research is need to understand the condition fully.
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5. My GP recently told me I had high cholesterol, what changes can I make to my diet?
Remember eating healthily and exercising regularly is the most important change you can make to help your cholesterol levels. Oats are naturally rich in a solube fibre called oat – beta glucan. As oat beta glucan is a soluble fibre it dissolves in the digestive tract and binds excess cholesterol in the gut and prevents it being absorbed.
Kelkin have a range of Mueslis, Flakes and Pure Oat Porridge which contain oatbran, a natural source of oat beta – glucan which has been proven to help lower blood cholesterol levels. High Cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD has multiple risk factors and altering one of these risk factors may or may not have a beneficial effect. The beneficial effect of lowering cholesterol is obtained with a daily intake of 3g of oat beta – glucan.
6. My GP recently told me I had high cholesterol. Are there any supplements I can take to help lower my cholesterol?
Dietary supplements may play a role in your heart health by complementing your regular diet. Possible supplements that can complement your diet include;
Folic Acid – particularly if you are at high risk of heart disease. Folic acid and other B vitamins help break down homocysteine in the body. Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood. Numerous studies have established elevated blood homocysteine as a potent independent risk factor for vascular disease in the general population.
Lecithin Granules – contain phosphatidyl choline. Choline is required for the proper metabolism of fats and may be useful for those with raised cholesterol.
Linseed/Flaxseed – are a good source of insoluble and soluble fibre which can help reduce cholesterol levels.
Plant Sterols – functional foods contain these sterols that are proven to reduce blood cholesterol.
7. I’m intolerant to dairy produce and am concerned about getting enough calcium in my diet…
If you are unable to tolerate dairy you need to take extra care to meet your calcium requirements.
You could try;
- Calcium enriched soya products
- Calcium enriched rice milk
- Orange juice with added calcium
- Tinned fish, tofu, nuts etc.
If concerned, discuss with your doctor or dietitian.
8. Is it true that omega-3 rich foods can help our memory?
60% of our brain is made up of fat so the type of fat we eat has a big influence on our brain activity. Some fats are absolutely essential for good brain health and activity and these are referred to as essential fats; omega-3 and omega-6. About a third of our overall dietary fat should come from polyunsaturated fats which provide these essential omega-3 and omega-6 and no more than a third from saturated fats (animal fats). What’s also important is the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 which should be about 1:1 whereas we tend to have much more omega-6 in the diet than omega-3. One of the reasons why our diet is low in omega-3 is that it is a sensitive fat that is easily damaged through cooking and processing. Another reason is that we don’t eat enough foods rich in these essential fats.
Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in oily fish, nuts and seeds. They are considered essential components of brain cell membranes, and their role in cell structure is thought to improve the powers of memory. High concentrations of Omega 3 in the brain and nervous system not only boost learning powers and age-related memory, but also greatly enhance mood.
9. I’m trying to lower my overall fat intake but have noticed that some ‘healthy foods’ are high in fat. Do I need to reduce all types of fat in my diet?
To reduce our overall fat intake we need to look at the visible and hidden sources of fat in the diet. The ‘bad fats’ that we want to reduce in our diet include saturated fats and Trans fats. Saturated fats generally come from animal sources and are hard at room temperature. Too much saturated fat can raise your LDL cholesterol which is considered the ‘bad cholesterol’. Saturated fats include butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, cream and fatty meats. It is also found in some vegetable oils — coconut, palm and palm kernel oils.
Trans fatty acids or hydrogenated fats are fats that form when vegetable oil hardens (a process called hydrogenation). Fried foods and some processed foods contain hydrogenated fats. These fats can raise LDL cholesterol and can also lower HDL levels or ‘good cholesterol’.
The ‘good fats’ include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats can help lower cholesterol but you do need to watch your portion sizes as all fats contain equal calories. Examples of unsaturated fat food sources include olives, avocados, peanuts, rapeseed oil, olive oil and nuts. The omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits and can be found in tuna, salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, nuts, seeds, flaxseed oil and walnut oil.
10. What is a good afterschool snack for my kids?
Snacks are an important source of energy and nutrients for kids. The types of snacks you offer your kids should be high in energy and nutrients but not too sweet or salty. Snacking should not be necessarily considered a bad habit as many young children rely on snacks for at least a third of their energy needs.
Some good snack ideas include;
- Fruit and dried fruit
- Nuts and seeds
- Oatmeal biscuits
- Fruit cakes, hot cross buns, current bread, banana bread
- Vegetable sticks with peanut butter
- Carton of milk with 2 plain biscuits
- Homemade milk shake or smoothie
- Yogurt (dairy or soya) – natural, fruit and yogurt drinks
- Cheese or peanut butter on oatcakes
- Rice & corn cakes; plain, multigrain, chocolate or yoghurt covered
- Fruit or plain scones,
- Madeira buns
11. Do I really need supplements?
In an ideal scenario, we would all consume a balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, meat or plant protein and minimal fat.
Food is the optimum source for the nutrients the body needs, but supplements can act as a sort of insurance policy in case you may not be eating as well as you should. Lifestyle factors like stress, illness, depression, age, vegetarianism, pregnancy, lactation, smoking, alcohol and being overweight can tax your need for some vitamins and minerals. As well as that, farming and food storage and preparation techniques can deplete fruits and vegetables of some of their nutrients.
12. Can I take take a vitamin supplement instead of eating fruit and vegetables?
Fruit and vegetables contain many healthy substances including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fibre, potassium and water. They are more than just vitamins and minerals. However, when the intake of nutritious foods is low, when someone suffers from an illness that reduces absorption or when requirements for a nutrient are raised, it may be necessary to take a vitamin supplement.
13. What should I look for in a multivitamin?
It is sensible to take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement, especially if you are not sure if you are getting an adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals through diet alone (which most of us aren’t).
Read the label to make sure your brand contains the complete list of vitamins and minerals with the exception of vitamin K, which is not often included in multivitamin formulas. Be especially vigilant that all the B-complex vitamins are present.
14. What’s the difference between fish oil and cod liver oil?
The main difference between cod liver oil and fish oil is that cod liver oil is high in vitamin D. Cod liver oil supplements also include vitamin A, just for the halibut, whereas a fish oil supplement mainly contains Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9. Some experts recommend taking cod liver oil only in cooler months, and Omega 3-rich fish oil in warmer months when the sun generates vitamin D in the body.
15. Are fish oils safe to use during pregnancy?
Yes. The use of Omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy is highly documented and should be recommended. They have been shown to aid the baby’s mental development and reduce the incidence of neurological conditions. They have also been shown to reduce the risk of post natal depression experienced by the mother after giving birth. Therefore their use during pregnancy may also lead to an increase in breast-fed babies. However, Cod Liver Oil should be avoided during this time due to its vitamin A content especially if other vitamin A containing supplements are being used.
16. What nutritional supplements should everyone take?
400 mcg of folic acid is recommended as a supplement for all women of child bearing age.
It may be advisable for all adults to supplement their diet with 5-10mcg or 200-400 IU of vitamin D each day.
As women often suffer from iron deficiency anaemia, it is important that if experiencing fatigue, shortage of breath and have a grey pallor, that blood levels of iron are checked by your GP and supplemented if required.
Lastly, it is recommended that newly diagnosed coeliacs have a daily intake of calcium of 1000mg (1200-1500mg/day for post-menopausal women and men over the age of 55 years) to counteract the malabsorption they may have suffered while their coeliac disease was untreated.
17. What foods are most likely to cause food allergies?
Many foods, including fruits, vegetables and meats, can cause an allergic reaction. Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soya and wheat account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions. These top eight allergen ingredients are required to be labelled on food products when present as an ingredient. Remember if you are being tested for food allergies, you should discuss it with your GP who will refer you for appropriate testing (skin prick testing and blood tests).
18. Do juices and smoothies count towards you 5 a day?
Yes, 150 mls of fruit or vegetable juice is counted towards your 5 a day. However, additional juices cannot be included!
Nevertheless, if you have a smoothie, it can be considered as 2 servings if it contains at least 80g of 1 whole fruit and/or vegetable, as well as at least 150ml of a different fruit and/or vegetable juice.
19 . What are vitamins?
Vitamins are complex chemical substances found in food that are vital for health. Most vitamins cannot be made in your body, so in order to get them into our body we must eat them in our food. That is why they are considered ‘essential’. Their role in the body is to help break down and metabolise proteins, carbohydrates and fats as well as help produce blood cells, hormones, genetic material and chemicals of the nervous system.
20. Why is high fibre important to health?
Fibre is really important to health as it helps control blood glucose levels, keep your bowels regular, reduce blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of colon cancer. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, oats and seeds are all naturally good sources of fibre and taste great!
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