Keeping Cork Healthy: Week 3 - Minding your mental health
25th April 2020
The Mardyke Arena UCC have teamed up with The Echo for our new campaign 'Keeping Cork Healthy' series to give the Cork community weekly tips on how they can stay fit and healthy during this lock down period.
In this week's edition, nutrition tips for sports people plus advice on how to look after your mental wellbeing, a new home workout video, a tasty recipe from Rory O'Connell and we hear from two-time Olympian & world champion rower, Sanita Puspure.
Minding your mental health
We are all doing our best to cope during this prolonged period of uncertainty, and while the priority continues to be managing the spread of Covid-19, we also need to mind our mental health.
Consultant Psychiatrist in UCC, Dr Michele Hill, gives us some tips to help:
LIMIT exposure to news and social media if it is causing anxiety: 1-2 short updates per day from factual resources is plenty. Now is the time for that boxset you hadn’t got to
Re-establish CONNECTIONS. Social connection is a great buffer against stress. It is difficult to do at this time, but try to stay in touch with people who lift your spirits or make you laugh via the phone, skype, facetime, whatsapp, etc.
Create BOUNDARIES and ROUTINES. Try to find a space to work that is not where you eat or hangout with family. If that is not possible, consider wearing different clothes as you work, and going for a short walk before resuming family life
Prioritise SLEEP, try to do some EXERCISE, EAT reasonably healthily and avoid excessive alcohol. These are all scientifically proven to help your mental health.
If you have a mental health condition, keep taking your medication (if you are on any), and continue online or phone care that is offered to you. It is also useful to write a list of services that may be able to help. See the HSE website.
Nutrition for the athlete
This is so important for athletes as poor nutrition is more than likely going to lead to possible malnutrition, poor recovery, slower adaptations and a higher chance of getting injured, says nutritional consultant, Mary Carmody.
Eat regular wholesome meals using locally sourced, nutrient dense, whole foods including brightly colored fruit and vegetables (seasonable where possible) and chew up your foods slowly and thoroughly to aid digestion.
Eat simple healthy snacks between main meals, preferably every 2.5/3 hours, stay energised and properly fuelled. Ideas could be smoothies, soups, nuts/seeds, nut butters, hummus, etc.
Include good quality protein at all meals and snacks to aid recovery from training. Recommendations are circa 1.5-2g’s protein per kg of body weight per day, depending on level of training. Sources include chicken, turkey, ham, lamb, beef, fish, cheese, eggs, lentils, beans, etc.
Reduce intake of refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine, and stay hydrated by drinking water. This, along with a balanced diet, will normally keep electrolytes (essential minerals found in the blood and sweat and reduced during running) balanced.
Eat more Omega 3’s (nuts, seeds, avocados, oily fish) and less Omega 6’s (processed oils including sunflower and processed foods) which are related to inflammation and impaired energy metabolism. The ratio of Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s can be high in western society so a recommended ratio is 4:1 for Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s. You could also look at taking a fish oil if you don’t eat fish or nuts/seeds.
Check your vitamin D levels, spend some time in the sun where possible or take a D3 liquid supplement, as being deficient in Vitamin D may put the athlete at an increased risk for stress fractures, respiratory infections and muscle injuries.
Magnesium is very important to athletes for energetic metabolism and muscles contractions and relaxation and can be deficient in a modern diet. Include lots of green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, wholegrains, nuts and veg in the diet.
Female athletes could look at their iron levels too to ensure they are sufficient and good food sources are spinach, red meat, seeds, wholegrains, lentils etc.
Regular exercise can improve cognitive and immune function, depression, bones density, sleep and decrease body fat. However, be careful of over-training syndrome where the body fails to adapt to exercise. You can do this by keeping your body adequately nourished and rested.
Remember, follow the 80:20 rule as you must have some off times too to enjoy a few treats!
Inside the mind of our Cork Sports Stars – How are they adapting?
This week, two time Olympian and world champion rower, Sanita Puspure, speaks to us on how she is adapting to the current situation and maintaining his fitness.
“Apart from training at home, nothing much has changed, we are still training the same way as we used to. I have a rowing machine and bike at home to keep me busy.
“The only problem is, I have no garden, so I have to do my training in the living room or in the parking lot outside. I just hope neighbours won’t file any complaints on me.
“We’ve been very lucky with the weather lately, so it’s perfect for everyone to go outside for a walk or jog. Myself and the kids dug out our tennis rackets and have been hitting the ball in the parking lot. Keeps them little bit keener on exercise. We quite enjoy regular walks together now, we wouldn’t have time for that before.
We all are going through a very difficult time, my heart goes out to all the families that have lost loved ones to this awful virus. So we all need to do our bit, to keep more people safe and so we can get back to normal lives sooner rather than later. With all what’s happening, it is great to see people making most of this situation and staying active. I’ve never seen so many people running in Ballincollig before!”
Tip of the Week: Shopping Tip
Make a shopping list using the following headings:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Milk Cheese
- Lean meat & nuts
- Optional Treats
Fill the list in that order. Leave out optional treats and see how much money you save.
Recipe of the Week:
Tuscan Dessert Apple, Lemon and Almond Cake, by Cork chef Rory O’Connell, www.cookingisfun.ie
“I am never quite sure if I should be calling this a cake or a tart but in any event it is delicious and quite easy to make. The origins of the recipe are from Tuscany in Italy but I like to use highly perfumed Irish dessert apples when in season. Look out for some lesser known but very delicious Irish dessert apples such as Irish Peach and Ardcairn Russet."
Ingredients (serves 8)
10g butter melted for greasing the parchment paper
4 dessert apples
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g caster sugar
110g butter melted and cooled
125g whole almonds, blanched, peeled and ground to a fine powder in a food processor or ground almonds
110g plain flour sieved
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder sieved
100g of apricot jam
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons of chopped sweet geranium leaves (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180c / 350 f / gas 4 2. Line a 28cm flan ring with a removable base with a disc of parchment paper. The paper should in one piece cover the base and sides of the tin and come up 1cm above the edge of the tin. Brush the paper with a little melted butter.
- Peel, core and quarter the apples and slice into c 3mm slices. Mix with the lemon zest.
- Whisk the vanilla, sugar and eggs to a thick and light consistency similar to a batter. Whisk in the cream and cooled melted butter. Fold in the almonds, flour and baking powder. Add ¾ of the sliced apples, being careful not to break the apple slices.
- Pour mixture into the prepared flan ring and gently smooth over the surface. Scatter the remaining apples over the surface and sprinkle with 1 dessertspoon of caster sugar.
- Place in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 160c etc. and cook for a further 40 minutes by which time the tart will feel gently set. It may be necessary to cover the tart during the cooking with a sheet of parchment paper if the tart is getting too dark. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- While the tart is cooling make the apricot glaze. Warm the apricot jam and lemon juice in a small saucepan to just soften the jam. Do not allow it to boil as it dulls the flavour. Pass through a sieve pushing as much through as you can.
- While the tart is still warm, paint the surface with the apricot glaze to achieve a shiny finish and if using the chopped geranium, sprinkle on immediately after glazing the tart.
- Serve warm with softly whipped cream.
If you are making our recipe or doing a home work-out, show us how you get on by using #KeepingCorkHealthy on Twitter and tagging Echo Live and Mardyke Arena UCC.
We will include a ‘Physio Corner’ from our Chartered Physiotherapists at the arena clinic with the weekly page, plus a Q&A service for readers, tips on how to support your immune system and ideas for activities & games that can be played at home.
If you have any questions for our physios email firstname.lastname@example.org