Supplement your joints, soothe your gut
New Zealand’s favourite wellbeing expert answers readers’ questions about improving their wellbeing.
Iwant to take a supplement for my joints but am unsure where to start. Can you please suggest what is best for good joint health? Thanks, Louise.
Hi Louise, vitamins A, C and E are all potent antioxidants that mop up the free radicals generated from living and that are made in excess when we are exposed to pollutants.
Some studies have shown them to benefit joint health. They are found predominantly in coloured plant foods, so increasing your intakes of plants can be highly beneficial. Vitamins C and E can also be taken very safely as supplements.
Glucosamine is another option. It is an amino sugar produced by the body and is one of the building blocks of cartilage.
Glucosamine comes in two forms – glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. It is often found in joint care supplements in combination with chondroitin. Chondroitin is also a natural substance found in the body. It is believed to help draw water and nutrients into the cartilage.
It can also be helpful to keep joints lubricated with beneficial fats. It is essential we nourish our bodies with specific fats each day, including those from oily fish such as sardines, along with flaxseeds, walnuts, pecans, chia seeds and evening primrose oil.
Other good choices of wholefood fats include those from avocado, other seeds and nuts, coconut, organic butter, and pasture-fed animals.
Omega 3 fatty acids are particularly effective in fighting inflammation in the body, and can be easily incorporated into our diets by eating omega-3 rich fish or flaxseeds.
I read a lot about the gut because I have random uncomfortable symptoms that the doctors have all told me are not a disease. And I’m pleased about that but I need some simple things I can do to help my digestion work better. Thanks, Mrs Melton.
Hi Mrs Melton, without knowing precisely what your symptoms are it is a little tricky to advise you, so continue to have your gut health monitored.
The first steps to take are to chew your food well, eat slowly and drink water between meals to support stomach acid production.
So many of us are in such a hurry with our meals that we might chew each mouthful four times if we’re lucky. Instead, slow down and chew. Observe whether this improves how your tummy feels after eating.
Another simple trick is to use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to physically stimulate the production of stomach acid.
If you haven’t consumed these before, it is best to initially dilute them and consume them 5 to 20 minutes before your main meals.
Begin with half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in as much water as you like. Work up to having one tablespoon of vinegar and decrease the amount of water.
If you would prefer lemon juice, start with the juice of half a lemon diluted to your tastes with warm water and work up to having the juice of a whole lemon in less warm water.
The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.
Dr Libby is speaking throughout NZ during October. For more information visit drlibby.com.
Taking your time to chew and savour your food can be good for your gut.