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Walk of life

Rude Health magazine brings you expert advice on the best foods, vitamins and exercise for women of all walks of life

Young, partying hard and busy at work

Working hard and playing hard takes its toll on the body. Alcohol and processed foods strain the liver and kidneys. Symptoms and health problems associated with this lifestyle include lethargy, mental fatigue and indigestion.

BEST FOOD

Mary Buckley of Horans Health Store in Listowel, Co Kerry says: “Complex carbohydrates such as rice, oatmeal and potatoes are important for energy.”

Efamol Nutritional Expert Andrea du Plessis says: “Water supports kidneys to eliminate toxins from the body via urine. Artichoke extract supports the breakdown of dietary fats and oils. Bitter-tasting vegetables such as endive and rocket stimulate the liver and support detoxification. Vegetable juices including beetroot, celery, cabbage and carrots are packed with antioxidants that support the body’s natural cleansing process.”

Angela McGlanaghey of Simple Simon in Donegal town says, “I would recommend plenty of slow-release foods to keep you full throughout the day and give you energy, such as porridge with fruit, eggs on wholemeal toast or chicken stir fry with wholewheat noodles.”

BEST VITAMINS

Mary Buckley: “Milk thistle to give the liver a helping hand and magnesium for energy and a healthy immune system.”

Angela McGlanaghey: “An iron supplement to help fight fatigue and improve energy levels.”

Andrea du Plessis: “Memory and concentration is easily compromised by lack of sleep. The brain requires sufficient omega-3 fatty acids to perform at its peak. B-vitamins support energy metabolism and the nervous system.”

BEST EXERCISE

Angela McGlanaghey: “Weight training, to gain strength and for a release away from possible work problems.”

Mary Buckley: “Yoga or pilates to help relax and bring some quiet time to your busy existence.”

Andrea du Plessis: “Aerobic fitness is important for stress management. Core and hip flexor exercises are key for individuals who work long hours, as these muscles are neglected when you spend a large portion of the day seated behind a desk.”

Pregnant women

Pregnancy increases nutritional demands on a woman’s body.

BEST FOOD

Mary Buckley: “Avocado – it’s packed full of folic acid, and make sure you are getting enough green vegetables to give you a vitamin and mineral boost.”

Andrea du Plessis: “Folate or folic acid is a key nutrient required from the onset of pregnancy. Brussels sprouts provide a concentrated source of folic acid. Iron needs are drastically increased during pregnancy. Iron-rich foods include lean red meats and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach.”

Angela McGlanaghey: “for pregnant women I would recommend simple carbs to help with possible morning sickness.”

BEST VITAMINS

Mary Buckley: “Folic acid, iron (if low) and vitamin D for strong bones.”

Andrea du Plessis: “A multivitamin with folic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids, the essential building blocks for the development and growth of the baby’s brain cells.”

Angela McGlanaghey: “Folic acid to help prevent abnormalities in the womb.”

BEST EXERCISE

Angela McGlanaghey: “Swimming as it is very low impact.”

Mary Buckley: “If you already have a fitness routine you can keep that up just don’t push yourself. Otherwise try low impact exercises like swimming, walking or pregnancy yoga.”

Andrea du Plessis: “Consult your midwife for expert recommendations on allowed exercise intensity, duration and frequency.”

Professional women

Pushing yourself and juggling work and home can take its toll on the body.

BEST FOOD

Andrea du Plessis: “Eggs provide phospholipids to maintain brain and nerve cell structure, plus B-vitamins to support brain function during times of stress and fatigue. Nuts, seeds and oily fish are excellent sources of the omega-3 fatty acids that are needed to support brain function, memory and concentration.”

Angela McGlanaghey: “For the professional woman the best foods will fuel you for a busy week ahead. Easy to prepare foods like chicken salad can ensure you get the nutrients you need.”

Mary Buckley: “A good mix of energy dense foods, like rice, potatoes, sweet potato or wholegrain pasta with a good quality protein like beef, chicken or pork with butter or olive oil will stop any energy slumps.”

BEST VITAMINS

Mary Buckley: “A multivitamin if burning the candle at both ends, and maybe vitamin B12 for energy.”

Andrea du Plessis: “Because our diets are often deficient in omega 3 fatty acids, daily supplementation is recommended.”

Angela McGlanaghey: “An omega-3 oil, which can help regulate hormones, lubricate joints and keep the brain strong.”

BEST EXERCISE

Angela McGlanaghey: “Running, either with a group or alone.”

Mary Buckley: “Crossfit or working out in a gym to let off steam.”

Andrea du Plessis: “Yoga and Pilates are just two forms of exercise that support and encourage relaxation, stress release and wellbeing on a physical, mental and emotional level.”

Mothers of young children

Eating foods that sustain energy and staying fit will help support you to cope with the demands of raising children.

BEST FOOD

Mary Buckley: “Complex carbohydrates for energy, not empty calories where there will be an energy drop a short while later.”

Andrea du Plessis: “Nuts and seeds provide the ideal combination of protein and healthy fats, which help sustain energy levels for longer. Lentils and beans add protein and fibre to the diet.”

Angela McGlanaghey: “I would recommend meals that can be made in batches and frozen ahead to make things a little easier.”

BEST VITAMINS

Mary Buckley: “A good quality multivitamin if needed, or B vitamins for overall health.”

Angela McGlanaghey: “An all-round multivitamin, especially if you are breastfeeding.”

BEST EXERCISE

Mary Buckley: “Running is quick, cheap and very effective, or be part of a group with aerobics or spinning. To relax you could try yoga.”

Angela McGlanaghey: “Join a class where you can interact with others.”

Andrea du Plessis: “Strength training will support two much-needed aspects of physical wellbeing: core strength and weight management. To regularly pick up and hold a child without risking back injury requires strong core muscles.”

Retired women

As our bodies age they need to be treated differently.

BEST FOOD

Angela McGlanaghey: “For retired women the best foods are ones high in fibre and also foods with a high calcium content to protect bones and teeth.”

Mary Buckley: “A diet full of fibre, green vegetables and quality protein to get the most from your diet.”

Andrea du Plessis: “Avocado contains healthy oils, vitamin E and antioxidants that offer protection to the skin against the damaging free radicals which result in premature ageing. Berries are nature’s richest natural source of potent antioxidants which protect body cells and tissues against damaging free radicals.”

BEST VITAMINS

Mary Buckley: “Calcium and vitamin D for strong healthy bones.”

Andrea du Plessis: “Evening primrose oil has been shown to decrease the intensity of hot flushes in the menopause. Evening primrose oil provides the skin with the important fatty acid, GLA that supports soft, beautiful skin.”

Angela McGlanaghey: “Vitamin D, which can help prevent many diseases in older age and aids the absorption of calcium.”

BEST EXERCISE

Mary Buckley: “Low impact exercise like swimming or walking.”

Angela McGlanaghey: “Walking, which will get you out in the fresh air.”

Andrea du Plessis: “Expert advice is recommended to ensure the reduction of injury risk with ageing. The ideal exercise programme would include exercises that support strength, balance and mobility.”

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