Eat oily fish for healthy bones and joints

¦ My family has a history of joint trouble.

I am 34 years old and wondering if there is anything that I can do to help prevent problems with my bones in the future?

>> While bones form the basic framework for our bodies, they are much more than mere scaffolding for our skin and protection for our organs.

It is good to hear you are starting to take preventative steps now, rather than waiting until the damage is done.

Our bones and joints are made up of living tissue, so it is important that we nourish them well with a healthy balanced diet so that the cells can regenerate.

Nutrition in the first 20 years of our lives is a crucial determiner of future bone and joint health. Poor dietary choices, including sodas and medications can impact bone and joint health.

Exercise is important in the maintenance of bone density and joint health, however, repetitive motions or over-exercising can have the opposite effect.

Moderation is key. This also goes for your weight — rapid weight loss and weight gain affect joint and bone health.

Eat a diet high in fresh produce and minimise or avoid processed foods and substances that create acidity and inflammation, such as sodas, refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine and deep fried foods. Water helps to keep the tissues healthy and the joints well lubricated.

You may want to consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement. Essential fatty acids can be useful also — these can be obtained through the diet with oily fish, nuts and seeds, avocadoes, chia seeds, and supplemental oils.

MSM (Methyl Sulphonyl Methane — organic sulphur) would be a helpful addition to your diet. Take 1 teaspoon daily stirred into a 300ml glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, or in 500ml of warm water with the juice of a lemon.

¦ I am in my late 50s and have a thickening of the lining of the uterus.

Following a D&C last year, the gynaecologist said I would have no further difficulties and that I didn’t need medication. However, on occasion, I still have pain and discomfort, and wonder if there are any natural remedies that would help this condition?

>> The endometrium, or uterus lining, changes in thickness throughout the menstrual cycle and then will typically thicken further as women enter menopause. Oestrogen is responsible for the thickening of the endometrium, then after a woman ovulates progesterone production increases, which works to stabilise the uterus lining in case of pregnancy.

In short, oestrogen causes proliferation and thickening of the lining, while progesterone keeps the endometrium thickness in check. If there is no pregnancy, then both levels drop, which triggers your body to release the lining — which is what we know as a menstrual period.

As women enter early menopause, and without the ovulation part of the cycle, the oestrogen-related thickening continues without the balancing release of progesterone. Without the shedding part of the cycle, thickening of the uterine lining (also known as endometrial hyperplasia) is quite a common issue for women in their 50s.

This is why a D&C is often recommended to manually remove the lining that would normally shed during a menstrual period.

I presume that the cells have been deemed normal, as your gynaecologist would be suggesting further treatment if she/he was concerned about atypical cells. Often a course of natural progesterone for around three months is suggested for a thickened endometrium.

Natural progesterone is preferable to synthetic options, as it is better absorbed by the body and has no side effects.


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