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I’m in my early 60s and recently noticed that the joints in my fingers are getting stiff. I am concerned this may be the start of arthritis. I use a computer all day at work, so pain-free hands are essential. What would you recommend?
>> You are clearly already taking care of yourself well since you have made it to your 60s without joint stiffness, and the fact that you are seeking out remedies to help at the first sign indicates that you are really pro-active about your health and wellbeing. This is a great start.
One of my favourite remedies to help with pain and stiffness in joints contains ingredients found in most kitchens. Apple cider vinegar — preferably certified organic, raw, and unfiltered — taken in hot water with optional raw honey is a wonderful way to help deal with deposits of inorganic minerals in the joints.
You can add in other beneficial kitchen remedies such as ginger, turmeric, cayenne, black pepper, garlic, thyme, etc. I like to use fresh spices and herbs but dried is better than nothing.
A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of hot water with around a teaspoon of honey and a couple of slices of fresh ginger root is a good place to start. Drink this brew two to three times daily for best effect.
Apple cider vinegar is rich in minerals — potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, natural silicon, pectin, and tartaric acids — and it has an alkalising effect on the body despite being an acidic brew.
Honey is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and helps to heal the gut, which is key in inflammatory conditions. Ginger has long been used to help with pain relief, and improve circulation to and from the affected joints.The active ingredient in turmeric root, curcumin, has been shown to inhibit the production of the inflammatory agent, nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is thought to be a significant factor in arthritic conditions, as it is present in much higher levels in individuals with arthritis.
Making sure that your diet is rich in a variety of fresh whole foods, with little or no processed and packaged foods, is important in keeping inflammation at bay.
Continue to drink enough water daily, and pay special attention to the inclusion of essential fatty acids in your diet (nuts, seeds, fatty fruits, oily fish, or supplementation) to help ensure optimal functioning of the joints and tissues.
My eight-week-old son has developed sticky eye. The doctor has recommended simply removing the build-up with cotton wool and warm water. What can I do to prevent this from happening in the first place?
>> I’m afraid it really is a case of the simple removal of the build-up and then waiting until your little one grows past this phase.
In most infants who have this issue, where there is no infection present, it is a blockage of the duct that is likely to be a result of the tear duct being narrower than usual or not yet fully developed.What would usually happen is that this would drain via the duct into the sinuses, but instead it collects around the eye area.
The only tweak that I would make is to use freshly boiled and cooled water rather than warm water straight from the tap to be extra cautious in avoiding infection. It is, of course, important to use a fresh piece of cotton wool or cloth each time. Breast milk used to wipe the eye as per the boiled water on cotton wool can help if the eye area looks irritated.
My youngest son had sticky eye as a newborn, and it seemed to right itself by about three months of age. It never seemed to bother him at all. In fact, the only issue was having to explain to everybody that his goopy eye was normal and not contagious.
Do keep track of how the eye progresses, and if the duct remains blocked after a few months, then it is worth checking in with a specialist just to be on the safe side. Most tear duct blockages are of no significant health concern unless they persist beyond about 12 months of age.