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Bronagh Gallagher: 'I literally cannot function without my morning tea'

Me and my health: Bronagh Gallagher

By Helen Carson

Actress and singer Bronagh Gallagher (44) is originally from Londonderry, but now divides her time between Dublin and London.

Do you take regular exercise, and if so what?

I do yoga five days a week or when my schedule allows it. I enjoy Bikram yoga (performed in a hot room) and when I'm travelling for work I will do yoga, usually for 45 minutes, in my hotel room. If I want to get into really good shape or squeeze into a dress, I do it six days a week. Recently I tried pilates, which is a great core workout but I just found it a bit too mechanical. I also love swimming and walking as I'm near the sea in Dublin.

What's the worst illness that you have had?

So far I've been fortunate with my health, but I did have chickenpox when I was 21, and it's worse when you're older. I was in Japan at the time and was really ill because I hadn't had it as a child.

How healthy is your diet?

Very healthy because I love to cook and only eat gluten-free. While I'm not coeliac, I do find gluten hard to digest and feel better when I cut it out. Fresh food, salads and cooking all my meals from scratch are habits I was brought up with. My mum and dad are great cooks too. I don't eat sweets or chocolate and love to eat sushi - it's brain food. My favourite type of foods are Spanish and Mexican, so I love paella and guacamole. When I go away in a group I'm the one who ends up cooking for everyone.

Any bad habits?

Caffeine is my only vice - I love a really good Italian coffee. I don't overdo it... about two coffees a day. And I love tea - I literally cannot function if I don't have a cup of tea in the morning.

Do you drink/ smoke - if so, how much?

I enjoy a nice glass of red wine with a meal and a good pint of Guinness, but since I've got older I can't drink a lot. It interferes with your whole system.

Do you take any health supplements?

Vitamin B6, starflower oil and Wellwoman supplements as well as homeopathy remedies such as echinacea. But I don't take any minerals as I get those from my food.

How do you take time out?

Having dinner with a nice group of friends, walking and reading. I'm just back from a trip to Spain with my friend, Ursula, and we had a great time shopping and eating tapas. Sometimes when my friends are going out I will go to bed with a good book - I've just finished reading Bruce Springsteen's autobiography, which was really inspiring. I also meditate during my yoga, usually for 20 minutes a day because the mind and body are connected - their health is dependent on each other.

How well do you sleep?

Much better than I did because I used to suffer from insomnia. Because I travel so much for work, flying through different time zones messed up my circadian rhythm. My sleep has improved in the last year, though, and meditation is fantastic for helping you get a good night's sleep.

Do you worry about getting old?

Getting older is inevitable, so that's why it's important to enjoy your life and look after yourself - that's what I'm doing. There is nothing that you can do about getting older.

What is your go-to product or habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

Yoga and Thalgo Extreme Comfort moisturising cream.

Bronagh will be appearing at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace on Friday, April 21. Tickets from seamusheaneyhome.com. For more details about her music, visit bronaghgallagher.com

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