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Health Store Help

Independent health store advice on having a healthy pregnancy

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Sinéad Dundon, nutritional therapist at Adare Health Foods in Adare, Co Limerick

Starting a family is definitely a time of planning for the future, and rather than waiting to get pregnant before asking advice on diet and lifestyle, taking this step six months before conception can be beneficial for both mum and baby.

In some cases women may need to address issues such as an underactive thyroid as this can affect the balance of progesterone to oestrogen in the body and is associated with infertility. Mild thyroid abnormalities are unfortunately associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. It can take time to get the thyroid working optimally with medication or supplements like iodine, selenium and omega 3 fats as well as lifestyle changes like gentle exercise such as walking and swimming.

For all women for the prevention of Spina Bifida a daily intake of 400ug of folic acid is recommended in the first 28 days of pregnancy. Some mothers may do better on methlyated forms of folic acid or on folate from green leafy vegetables.

For the majority of women who have few health issues, taking a pregnancy supplement that combines a number of vitamins and minerals can be sufficient to give them the support they need.

Supplements you may find in a pregnancy formulation include:

Vitamin A for enzymes which aid implantation of the fertilised egg. It is also vital for growth of the foetus, especially the heart, hearing and visual development. There is controversy over optimum levels in pregnancy.

A range of B vitamins is needed for the synthesis of hormones and to create new blood cells for the growing baby.

Vitamin C is essential for formation of collagen to keep the protective membrane around baby strong.

Vitamin D helps tooth enamel and bone development in the foetus.

Vitamin E protects the vital DNA templates for creating new protein building blocks.

Vitamin K is normally manufactured by gut flora, but as baby isn’t born with this they must rely on mother’s supply.

Regular good quality probiotics or dairy and non-dairy kefir can help keep the mother’s gut flora healthy.

Calcium is essential for the development of baby’s bones, heart and nervous system.

Iron is needed to carry oxygen to every cell in the body of the developing foetus. As many pregnant women show mild anaemia supplementation with a non-constipating form of iron may be beneficial.

Zinc probably plays the biggest role early in reproduction. It is needed for hormone balance, development of the egg, successful fertilisation and for enzymes of implantation.

It is recommended to improve the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 and others fats. Increased intake of omega-3, especially EPA and DHA is essential for healthy brain development while also ensuring quality fish sources.

A generous rainbow of colourful fruits and vegetables is essential and it is important to have a balanced diet which includes foods from each food group. There are many valuable sources of protein, fats and carbohydrates and a good nutritional therapist can tailor a comprehensive food plan to include what is needed for optimal health for you at this demanding time.

Pregnancy is also a time to avoid certain foods like seafood, shark and tuna, also uncooked meat and eggs, and soft cheese to prevent food poisoning and bacterial infections. As some mums find they are affected by morning sickness it is important that they are getting all the required nutrients and liquids. Small meals regularly may be beneficial.

Who’s who and what’s what at Adare Health Foods

Adare Health Foods and Wellness Centre opened its doors in November 2015 in a building that was previously home to an outdoor pursuits shop. It’s a vibrant and energetic store in picturesque Adare town owned by Ger O’Connor and managed by Sinéad Dundon with the help of experienced health store expert Anne Windle.

“Our customers are very varied,” says Sinéad. “In the summer we see tourists who use Adare as a base for touring the country. Our regulars include mums buying fish oils and multivitamins for children and older people looking for supplements, and active cyclists looking to boost their protein intake.

“Our Wellness Centre consists of two rooms behind the store and a large area upstairs. We run popular and well attended sessions with therapists in reflexology, kinesiology, hypnotherapy, hopi ear candling and mindfulness sessions. These are most popular in the winter time. I also give nutritional therapy consultations in the store.

“We run regular events such as talks by supplement companies and food tastings. We have divided the store into themes: Tummy Taming, Energy Boosting, Improved Immunity, Sweet Stuff and Healthy Heart. Our sports section includes proteins and energy bars. We stock breakfast grains and gluten-free foods, fruits and nuts, soups and sauces as well as nut butters.

“Our frozen and chilled section includes lunchtime snacks, raw milk, kefir, goat’s cheese, yogurt and butter, kombucha and chilled dairy-free drinks. We also stock local fresh fruit and vegetables from local organic producers.

“Our toiletries section includes sanitary products, hair dyes and shampoos, body washes and nit treatments for kids. We also stock eco cleaning products such as environmentally friendly laundry products, washing up liquid and dishwasher tablets.

“We have a bit of everything and are lucky because it’s quite a big shop. When customers walk in there are joss sticks burning as well as essential oils and we have wooden floors and shelves, giving it a warm feel.”

Visit: Adare Health Food and Wellness Centre, Station Road, Adare, Co Limerick for advice and support on keeping you healthy.

Speak to: Nutritional therapist and manager Sinéad Dundon; exeprienced health store expert Anne Windle.

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