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  • It is difficult to keep the weight constant when Christmas seems to be about over eating and drinking wherever you turn. A few simple steps and an awareness of what we are consuming will prevent the extra pounds piling on.

    1. Drink loads of water - a large glass in the morning hydrates the body for the day and helps with digestion. Drink it alternately with alcohol on nights out to lessen the calories and the hangover.
    2. Plan the meals you eat at home to be high in vegetables with lots of herbs and spices. Meals out are often loaded with calories but very tasty food can be made at home with a much lower calorie content.
    3. Ban those giant sized tubs of chocolates from the house - they are no good for anyone.
    4. Get some fresh air - if you do over indulge, walk it off. Walking is great for improving digestion, blood pressure and heart rate. 

    No one wants to spoil the fun but remember - it's all about the balance!

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    Bread made in factories contains enzymes to speed up the proving process and to hold more air in the bread. These enzymes do not have to be listed as ingredients and there is growing concern that they are allergens giving people digestive and asthmatic problems. Bread should be made of wheat flour, salt, water and yeast. With good quality ingredients it is a nourishing food, great for providing energy for growing teenagers. It is full of B vitamins and selenium - a mineral very important for the thyroid. Bread can be made in a bread maker very easily. It takes 30 seconds to pop the ingredients in and then just leave it for 3 hours. It is delicious hot, covered in butter which is full of vitamin K. 

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    The Dublin Children's Hospitals are very busy this time of year with bronchiole infections. To prevent an infection taking hold, at the first sign of a cough or sneeze I dose with sage tea. Take a handful of sage leaves and steep them in boiling water for 5 minutes and add some honey to taste.

    Sage is an expectorant and an astringent so it is very good with all bronchiole, sinus and general airway infections. It has antiseptic properties so it is great for reducing inflammation in tonsils or the throat. Take it 3 or 4 times a day. With the addition of honey, even small children will drink it.

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    Fennel is one of the best herbs for helping digestion. It has a soothing, antispasmodic effect and is great for relieving indigestion, bloating, flatulence, constipation and even helps with heartburn. 

    It is high in phytonutrients as well as vitamin C, potassium, manganese, iron, folate and fibre. Add it to casseroles, bread, stir fries, fruit salad or just let it steep in boiling water to make a fennel tea. 

    Chewing a seed will refresh the breath, as well as help fight mouth bacteria as it has antimicrobial properties. It will also give a feeling of fullness which prevents overeating.

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