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Ask Elsa

Q I love the idea of having a fruit smoothie in the morning but it can be hard to find good ones in the supermarket. What would you suggest?

A Most of the fruit smoothies sold in shops and supermarkets are high in sugar but low in protein and fibre. This can lead to blood-sugar highs and lows as well as not filling you up for very long.

I'd recommend you make your own smoothie at home which is actually very quick and easy. The following recipe contains protein and fibre which slow down the release of sugars from the fruit.

Into a blender add one diced banana, one cup of blueberries, 3 tablespoons of natural live yogurt, 3/4 of a cup of almond milk, 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed and a 1/2 cup of ice cubes if desired.Whizz the ingredients together then pour into a tall glass or takeaway cup and enjoy a delicious hit of energy and mood-boosting nutrients.

For more healthy combinations visit my website.

QI had a mild bout of diverticulitis last year which caused me quite a bit of pain and disturbance of bowel function. I had medical treatment and I seem to be over it now but I'm wondering what I can do diet wise to help prevent a recurrence.

ADiverticulitis is when small, bulging sacs or pouches of the inner lining of the intestine become inflamed or infected. A high-fibre diet is very important in preventing future diverticulitis attacks. To this end, I would recommend that you consume at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables per day with a good mix between raw and cooked.

I'd also recommend including whole grains in your diet, such as brown rice, oats and oat bran. An ideal breakfast, for example, would comprise of porridge made with half oat bran and half oats.

Don't eat large amounts of food at each meal; stick to smaller meals more often during the day.

It's also vital that you ensure adequate hydration because if the bowels dry out the stools will be harder to pass and this could contribute to bowel lesions or further inflammation. Start each day with a small glass of warm water with 1/2 lemon squeezed into it which will cleanse the bowels. Peppermint, dandelion and camomile teas are great digestive herbs when taken in-between meals.

Reduce foods such as sugar, wheat, dairy, tea, coffee and processed foods as these may decrease the effectiveness of your digestion.

Include oils in your diet such as avocados, olive oil and oily fish, as oil lubricates the walls of the colon making it easier to pass stools and also reduce inflammation in the body.

Elsa Jones is a qualified nutritional therapist. She offers one-to-one consultations to treat your individual health concerns. www.elsajones nutrition.ie