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Food Surgery with Paula Mee - Female health issues

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Good nutrition during pregnancy is crucial for your health and the health of your developing baby, we have our Nutritionist Paula Mee here to show you what foods provide the best nutrients for expecting mums.

Paula will also be advising women who are going through menopause what nutrients their bodies need to cope with those hot flushes and


Pregnancy:
There are lots of misunderstandings about what you can and can't eat during pregnancy and women often worry if they are eating the right diet, Paula's here to put you on the right track.
To eat well during pregnancy you must do more than simply increase how much you eat. You must also consider what you eat. Although you need about 300 extra calories a day, those calories should come from nutritious foods so they can contribute to your baby's growth and development.


Menopause
Your body changes as you get older and these changes affect your nutritional requirements. There is a reduction in muscle, an increase in body fat and your total body water decreases by up to 20%. You need fewer calories than you did when you were younger since your metabolic rate slows down slightly. The good news is that moderate exercise can help preserve muscle mass and therefore slow down the rate at which your metabolism decreases.

For many women, the menopause brings a variety of symptoms such as hot flushes, tiredness, mood swings and depression. The majority of these can be alleviated by the correct diet or, on the other hand, can be made worse by the wrong diet.

Paula Mee

BSc., Dip Dietetics., MSc in Health Sciences., Dip Allergy, M.I.N.D.I.
Nutrition Consulting

From Galway, Paula graduated from University College Galway with a BSc in Biochemistry.

She then completed her postgraduate qualifications in Dietetics and a Masters in Health Science in Leeds Metropolitan University.


Paula has recently been awarded a Diploma in Allergy from Southampton University. She has also completed the British Dietetic Association's Sports Dietitian course. She is a current member and a past president of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute. Paula Mee, Nutrition Consulting was set up in 2004 and offers organisations and industry an extensive range of services in nutrition, product development, and marketing communications.

As part of her working week she also operates a dietetic and weight management clinic in the Dublin Nutrition Centre.

Paula is currently on the board of Consumer Foods in Bord Bia. Paula was one of the presenters of RTE TV's Health Squad programme which ran from 2002 to 2006. She makes regular appearances on TV and radio programmes advising on nutrition and health issues.

Pregnancy
The best foods to eat during pregnancy are those that supply essential vitamins, minerals, lean protein and energy.

Our requirements for a number of nutrients go up during pregnancy. For example

Protein, Calcium, Folate, Iron, Fibre and Fluids.


Top 5 foods to eat more of during pregnancy:

Salmon -iron and omega 3
Rocket - folate
Milk - calcium
Mango - vitamins and fibre
Red meat - protein

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

1. Camembert and blue-veined cheese such as stilton.

Listeriosis - the bacterium that causes listeriosis can cross the placenta and may be fatal for your baby. To prevent infection, avoid eating unpasteurised dairy products, especially soft cheese such as camembert and blue-veined cheese such as stilton

2. Liver
Due to high vitamin A contents, which can be harmful to your unborn baby, liver and liver products such as pate should be avoided.

3. Unwashed carrots and mushrooms

Toxoplasmosis - this infection can be harmful to your unborn baby and can be passed to humans by handling cats, cat litter and unwashed fruit and vegetables. To minimise the risk of infection during pregnancy, avoid cats and cat litter, and wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before cooking and eating. If you are gardening, wear gloves.


4. Undercooked chicken, mayonnaise, pavlova

Salmonella - this common type of food poisoning does not usually harm the baby, but if a pregnant women has severe salmonella poisoning, it could lead to miscarriage or early labour. Avoid raw and undercooked eggs and undercooked poultry.


5. Sushi and oysters

Other infections - avoid raw seafood such as sushi and oysters during pregnancy

The chances of your unborn baby becoming infected during pregnancy are small, but there are some potentially risky foods to be aware of and avoid.

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Paula's dish for a nutrient rich meal:

Stir-fry salmon and mango salad
Serves 3
. 1 ripe mango
. Rocket leaves
. 2 small shallots
. ½ fistful of mint and coriander leaves
. Olive or rapeseed oil to shallow fry
. 200g fillet of salmon

Dressing
. 2 coriander roots (stems not leaves)
. 3cm ginger, sliced
. ½ red chili, seeded and roughly chopped
. 1 clove garlic
. 1 dessertspoon soft brown sugar
. 30ml lime juice
. 1 tbsp fish sauce

Serve with a glass of cold milk

What does this meal provide?
Salmon -iron and omega 3
Rocket - folate
Milk - calcium
Mango - vitamins and fibre


Method:
1. For the dressing, use a pestle and mortar and pound the coriander roots, ginger, chillies and garlic, adding ingredients one at a time, in this order until you have a lovely paste. Add in the sugar, lime juice and fish sauce.
2. Peel and slice the mango and arrange in a bowl with shallots and herbs.
3. Heat a wok, with the bottom covered in oil over medium heat. Carefully add the salmon and fry, turning half way until crispy and brown.
4. Remove and drain on paper towel.
5. Flake the salmon into pieces and add to the salad with dressing and toss gently to combine.

Menopause
Your body changes as you get older and these changes affect your nutritional requirements. There is a reduction in muscle, an increase in body fat and your total body water decreases by up to 20%. You need fewer calories than you did when you were younger since your metabolic rate slows down slightly. The good news is that moderate exercise can help preserve muscle mass and therefore slow down the rate at which your metabolism decreases.

For many women, the menopause brings a variety of symptoms such as hot flushes, tiredness, mood swings and depression. The majority of these can be alleviated by the correct diet or, on the other hand, can be made worse by the wrong diet.

Hormone replacement therapy may provide relief for a lot of women, and one of the major benefits of HRT is that is helps to prevent the loss of bone density, which greatly accelerates in menopausal and post-menopausal women, causing osteoporosis. HRT works mainly by replacing the female hormone oestrogen, which allows calcium to be absorbed more effectively.

Whether you are taking HRT or not, adequate calcium intakes during menopause and beyond are essential. Include three portions of dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt) in your diet and include
other calcium-containing foods such as pulses, beans, nuts, seeds, pulses and beans.

Absorption of calcium is helped by adequate vitamin D intakes (found in oily fish, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, dairy products and fortified spreads.

Mood swings, depression and insomnia can be helped by adequate intakes B vitamins, zinc, magnesium and tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid and is known to help the brain produce serotonin, the "mood-calming" chemical. Vitamin B6 is particularly important a people who suffer from depression, women taking HRT or post-menopausal women with osteoporosis may have lower levels of this vitamin.

Headaches can be minimised by regular meals and snacks, including wholegrains and foods rich in B vitamins.

Fluid retention can be largely avoided by a diet low in salt and refined foods such as white bread. Drinking plenty of water can help to flush out any fluid being retained.

Dry skin and poor hair condition can be improved by eating plenty of the antioxidants selenium and vitamin E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

Soya-based foods may also help to alleviate symptoms of the menopause, since they contain phtyo-oestrogens.

Top Five foods to be eating during menopause:

Turkey - tryptophan

Soyabeans - phyto-oestrogens

Nuts & seeds - vitamin E & tryptophan

Dairy products - calcium

Avocado - vitamin E


Puy lentil salad with soy beans, sugar snap peas & broccoli
Serve with a glass of cold milk or natural yoghurt
Serves 4
. 200g Puy lentils
. 1l hot vegetable stock
. 200g tenderstem broccoli
. 140g frozen soya beans , thawed
. 140g sugarsnap peas
. 1 red chilli , deseeded and sliced


For the Dressing
. 2 tbsp sesame oil
. juice 1 lemon
. 1 garlic clove , chopped
. 40ml reduced-salt soy sauce
. 3cm piece fresh root ginger , finely grated
. 1 tbsp clear honey

Method:
1. Boil lentils in stock until just cooked, about 15 mins. Drain, then tip into a large bowl.
2. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil, throw in the broccoli for 1 min, add the beans and peas for 1 min more.
3. Drain, then cool under cold water. Pat dry, then add to the bowl with the lentils.
4. Mix together the dressing ingredients with some seasoning. Pour over the lentils and veg, then mix in well with the chopped chilli.
5. Pile onto a serving platter or divide between 4 plates and serve.

Per Serving
. 302 kcalories,
. protein 22g,
. carbohydrate 42g
. fat 7 g,
. saturated fat 1g
. fibre 8g, salt 1.41 g

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