Diet and Nutrition
Sarah Keogh, MSc, BSc, M.I.N.D.I. graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1996 with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Diet and Nutrition

Q. I have struggled with low iron levels for most of my life but now that I am pregnant, iron has become a bigger issue than ever. My doctor has told me that my iron levels are too low and that I need to take an iron supplement. The problem is that iron supplements make me very constipated as well as upsetting my tummy. Are there any foods I can eat to boost iron – I have a very good diet with lots of chicken and green vegetables so I am not sure if there is anything else I can do. Help!

Sarah says
Low iron levels are a common problem for women – whether they are pregnant or not – and low iron levels can have lots of causes. We need iron to help make healthy red blood cells and low levels of iron can leave us feeling wiped out. During pregnancy, iron is also crucial for healthy blood for your baby as well as for baby’s brain development.

Diet and Nutrition

Q. I had my first baby just six weeks ago and she is doing really well – breastfeeding like a dream, not sleeping terribly well but not never sleeping either. However, I am a wreck. I am exhausted and irritable and find myself nodding off when I am holding my baby and I can’t concentrate on anything. To add to all of this my hair is falling out in handfuls. Is there anything I could eat to give me more energy and are there any supplements that can help my hair?

Sarah says
Go easy on yourself, you are at the six-week stage, which is when tiredness can really kick in and you think you are never going to get a break. It may not feel like it, but things will soon start to get better. In the meantime, though, there are several things that might help while you are waiting for that first full nights’ sleep.

Diet and Nutrition

Q. I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

Sarah says
The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it.

Diet and Nutrition

Q. My child has been diagnosed with ADHD. I have been told by friends that he should avoid all sweets, sugars and additives in food but his doctors say diet has little effect. What should I do or is it best just to leave him with the foods he likes?

Sarah says
ADHD is a common problem in children – and adults. ADHD means children can have short attention spans or find it very difficult to sit still and concentrate. This can be a real problem at school and later on at work. They are generally of average to high intelligence but this doesn’t always show up in schoolwork due to their lack of concentration.

ABOUT SARAH
Sarah Keogh, MSc., BSc., M.I.N.D.I., graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in 1996 with a degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. She has worked in hospitals both in Ireland and the UK and was Head of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at the Bon Secours Hospital in Glasnevin for four years. Sarah runs a private practice at the well-known Albany Clinic in Dublin as well as a food and nutrition consultancy. Go to www.eatwell.ie to find out more about Sarah.