5th MARCH 2020 - Page 41

JANUARY 23 2020
ABOVE: Lorna Cooke, SMNI nutrition expert.
ABOVE: Local potatoes are a
significant source of vitamin C.
to Kathy McVeigh, a
director of Sports
Medicine Northern
Ireland and Wellness
Centre in Belfast,
about its focus on
nutritious food
BELOW: Northern Ireland has superb
ABOVE: Kathy McVeigh, operations director of Sports
Medicine Northern Ireland in Belfast, urges greater
consumption of local vegetables and fruit for nutrition.
ABOVE: Eating the rainbow route to health and
recovery after injury or illness.
Kathy sees eating rainbow with local
produce route to health and success
Our focus on
eating the rainbow
is a simple way of
reminding people
here that a variety
of fresh fruits
and vegetables
in the diet will
provide most of
the vitamins and
minerals needed
by the body and
that a lot can be
learned about food
just by looking at
ABOVE: Locally grown
strawberries and raspberries
in season are fresh and
OOD food, especially
fresh, local produce,
is at the core of the
approach of the
Sports Medicine
Northern Ireland (SMNI) and
Wellness Centre operation in
“We all appreciate that
healthy and nutritious
eating, especially fresh fruit
and vegetables from local
growers, is key to a healthy
body,” says operations
director Kathy McVeigh,
a marketing expert from
Newtownards, who formed
the centre, which is based in
Belfast’s Castlereagh district,
with Dr Alan Rankin, an
expert in sporting injuries,
and Niamh Maguire, director
of physiotherapy. Niamh has
been a staffer at the Sports
Institute for Northern Ireland
at Ulster University and lead
physiotherapist with the
Ireland men’s hockey team.
Guidance on food
is provided by sports
nutritionist Lorna Cooke,
who says “eating the
rainbow” within a balanced
diet is the route to health
and to a faster recovery from
illness and injury. Lorna, from
Killinchy, is an experienced
performance nutritionist who
has also provided expertise
at the Northern Ireland
Sports Institute since 2012.
As a registered dietitian,
Lorna provides nutrition
support to athletes and
coaches from a wide range
of sports, including athletics,
swimming, rowing, cycling,
triathlon, Ulster Rugby,
hockey, judo and sailing. Her
current focus is within Ulster
women’s rugby, triathlon,
para-triathlon, rowing,
swimming, para-swimming
and athletics. A mother of
two young children, Lorna is
a keen runner and sailor.
Kathy McVeigh continues:
“Our focus on eating the
rainbow is a simple way of
reminding people here that
a variety of fresh fruits and
vegetables in the diet will
provide most of the vitamins
and minerals needed by the
body and that a lot can be
learned about food just by
looking at it.
“The colour of food can
tell you a great deal about
its nutritional value and that
eating a variety of colours
is one sure method to get as
many of those vitamins and
minerals as possible. Eating
the rainbow is essential
for a solid, balanced diet,
especially for children,” she
An enthusiastic supporter
of local food, Kathy
continues: “We’ve great
producers here growing
and developing nutritious
vegetables and fruits,
especially in season, and
with a low carbon footprint,
now important in preserving
the environment. It’s fresh
food with provenance from
farmers dedicated to growing
the best tasting fruit and
vegetables possible.
“The point is that certain
colours of food indicate
an abundance of specic
nutrients essential for health.
For example, green fruits and
veggies, such as broccoli,
lettuce, kale and spinach, are
high in vitamins K, B and E.
Purple produce, including
cabbage, are high in vitamins
C and K. That’s the root of
‘eating the rainbow.’ Adding a
variety of colourful produce
to your diet is an easy way
to get a lot of vitamins and
minerals without too much
“While many people,
especially at this time of the
year, tend to explore diets
to lose weight, our emphasis
is on encouraging people
to take advantage of the
broad range local and awardwinning foods, particularly
seasonal vegetables and
black and red fruit in addition
to various varieties of apples.
She points out that
potatoes, a starchy
carbohydrate, which are
readily available here, are
one of the biggest sources
of vitamin C in our diets and
are full of potassium too. The
skins can be eaten for extra
“We have excellent food
and drink here, including
cereals such as oats and
muesli produced by local
companies. Many of their
products have won acclaim
in national and international
award competitions.
“Buying local also means
shoppers can count on
freshness and quality for
outstanding avours. In
addition, buying local also
contributes to Northern
Ireland’s economic
wellbeing and growth in
rural communities,” adds
Mrs McVeigh, who also
established the rst BUPA
health clinic in Belfast
and also runs Coolsky in
Newtownards, a specialist in
solar heating systems.
The centre is open to the
public by appointment. As
well as extensive advisory
services on nutrition,
ABOVE: The founders of Sports Medicine NI, Niamh
McLaughlin, left, director of physiotherapy, Kathy McVeigh,
director, and managing director Dr Philip Rankin.
the facility features a
comprehensive range of gym
equipment for tness training
and the only concussion
clinic in Northern Ireland.
The concussion care
centre is aimed at sports
injuries and uses world
leading techniques being
pioneered by the University
of Pittsburgh Medical Centre
(UPMC) in its comprehensive
Sports Medicine Concussion
Programme from its
engagement with contact
sports in the US, including
the Pittsburgh Steelers, the
American football club, and
The Penguins ice hockey
Mrs McVeigh, detailing
the company’s strategic
approach, says: “We have
recruited an experienced
team of experts in-house
offering specialist expertise
in sports medicine,
physiotherapy, sports
psychology, sports nutrition,
dentistry, podiatry, strength
and conditioning as well as
revolutionary concussion
The directors identied
the growing concern among
sports organisations, schools
and parents about short-term
and longer-term effects of
concussion and other head
“Nutrition is often the
missing piece to complete
the health and recovery
from injury and illness and
is all too often neglected,”
Mrs McVeigh continues.
“Our specialists can help in
shaping a bespoke nutrition
plan,” she adds.
The services include advice
on dietary practices, weight
management, energy balance,
personalised meal plans, food
selection and preparation.
“These professional
services are not just for
athletes but are available
to the wider public seeking
guidance about healthy
eating for example,” she said.


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