Ask a nutritionist – Meet Sharon Armstrong

Meet Nutritionist Sharon Armstrong - Q&A WITH OUR THRIVE EXPERTS

A new feature from inside our Thrive Magazine Spring issue: Q&A with our Nutritional Expert – Sharon Armstrong

What’s the difference between a probiotic and prebiotic?
This is something that is so easily confused, even though they are very different things. Prebiotics is a form of dietary fibre that feeds the good bacteria (and probiotics) in your gut. It cannot be digested by humans and remains undigested and is fermented when it reaches your large colon. It is found naturally in many foods such as bananas, onions and oat, so no need to rush out and purchase supplement to get a supply. They act like food for probiotics, which are tiny living microorganisms, including bacteria and yeast. Both prebiotics and probiotics can support helpful bacteria in the gut.

What a good healthy but satisfying snack that isn’t fruit based?
I find alternating snacks is key, so it doesn’t become boring. There is a variety of vegetables that make a great snack. I would usually recommend celery, chopped peppers or cucumber with a dip of your choice, for example, guacamole, cream cheese or similar. Mixed nuts are great but avoid having not too many as they have a high fat content. Boiled eggs are also a good alternative and can be eaten both hot or cold.

Can magnesium help with stress and lack of sleep?
Magnesium is known to relax you and calm your nervous system and is something that I would recommend to patients having sleep problems. You can find it easily in green vegetables, seeds and nuts, so can be easily incorporated into your daily diet. Do remember, this is not a cure for your lack of sleep or stress. Ensure you are addressing the causes as well as introducing magnesium into your routine to help aid you.

Which foods have the highest content of collagen?
Generally some foods are better than others to boost the collagen in your body. The main one is green vegetables. Also adding foods high in antioxidants such as seeds, nuts and berries help with the production of collagen. As well as this, it is essential you drink the recommended amount of water daily to keep your body and most importantly in this case, your skin hydrated.

Can nightshade vegetables cause inflammation and IBS?
There has been talk that is possible along with causing other health problems. I personally have no evidence of this, however, if you have found you have had changes in your health since using nightshade vegetables, I would recommend no longer eating and finding an alternative to add to your diet!

Which foods can help to boost a flagging metabolism for people over 40?
As well as keeping active, it is essential you consume protein daily to fuel your muscles and have natural detoxes such as hot water with lemon. Boosting your metabolism is also very much about how you eat too. Ideally you need to spread your meals out into 4-5 smaller meals through out the day. Try not to eat too late in the evening (aim to eat at least 3 hours before you go to bed). And make sure you’re drinking the recommended amount of water per day. All this combined will help give your metabolism a kick start and the boost you’re looking for.

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