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Health Store Help

Independent health store advice on joints and bones

Looking for advice on natural wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Pat Coffey of The Honey Pot in Clonmel , Co Tipperary

Millions of people suffer from one form of arthritis or another, and contrary to popular belief it not only affects the elderly but can strike in the prime of life. Over the past 20 years while practicing as a naturopath I have treated many people of both sexes and all ages for many types of this painful disease.

Arthritis (‘arth’ meaning joint and ‘itis’ meaning inflammation) comes in many forms and, while most of these disorders involve joint or muscle inflammation,others like lupus involve the skin, lungs and kidneys. Inflammation, swelling and pain are hallmarks of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and occurs due to the gradual wearing away of the cartilage that cushions the joints and prevents the bones from scraping against each other. Repetitive activities and sports injuries, as well as ageing, are associated with the development of this type of arthritis.The joints become swollen and lose their mobility and bone spurs develop in the joint spaces after the cartilage is worn away.

There is an assumption in Ireland that arthritis is an inevitable part of ageing and there is no cure, but this is just not true. If care is taken to address certain factors, such as avoiding foods that trigger inflammation and prioritising foods that alkalise the blood, then you may live a long life without osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. The immune system produces antibodies that destroy the membranes around the lubricating fluid in the joints. The joint pain and stiffness of RA is more noticeable in the morning and like osteoarthritis the joints become swollen. The joints can take on a purplish colour and as the disease progresses the hands and feet become deformed. RA attacks symmetrically, afflicting both wrists, ankles and both knees.

Again the news is good here. If we can correct the imbalances in the immune system, slowly but surely the RA may move out of the affected joints. While some joints may remain somewhat deformed, mobility can return and pain become less severe.

As with osteoarthritis, if we alter the diet and alkalise the blood chronic inflammation can be reduced.

Identify your causes

A leaky gut, stress, bacteria, viruses, parasites, environmental poisons, foods (such as white sugar), smoking and obesity are just some of the factors that promote inflammation.

Speaking to a qualified health professional should help greatly in this area and a visit to your local independent health store will identify a practitioner in your area.

Diet and arthritis

It’s important to identify foods and lifestyle factors that act as a trigger in your body for your particular form of arthritis. While you may not have an allergy to any particular food you may be highly sensitive to certain foods and leaky gut may be a significant contributor.

To improve your gut health, avoid inflammatory foods and increase anti-inflammatory foods. The best foods for alkalising the blood, that contain anti-inflammatory properties, are red onions, garlic, turmeric, beetroot, blueberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, green vegetables and oily fish. Onions and garlic contain quercetin, turmeric contains curcumin, berries and broccoli contain vitamin C and oily fish contains omega-3.

The worst foods leading to inflammation are milk, meat, wheat, coffee, alcohol, sugar, processed foods and fast foods. Many foods that trigger inflammation contain a type of fat called arachidonic acid, which is found in very high amounts in milk products and red meat. Sugar is known to be harmful and should be avoided as much as possible.

The role of supplements

Living in the modern world can cause difficulties with diet, as rushing around seems to be the norm today. Totally eliminating these inflammatory triggers can be difficult as sugar is everywhere (and has to be linked to a huge spike in the number of diabetics) so supplementation should be considered when treating arthritis.

The best supplements for arthritis are quercetin, vitamin C, omegas fish oils, MSM (sulphur), magnesium, turmeric and superfoods such as spirulina and wheatgrass.

My advice is to talk to your local health store staff and choose the best quality product you can afford. I’ve seen the ability of the body to heal itself given the proper tools. Good luck on your journey back to a pain-free life.

Best foods

  • Red onions and garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Beetroot
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Oily fish
  • Green vegetables

Worst foods

  • Milk
  • Meat
  • Wheat
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Processed foods
  • Fast food

Who’s who and what’s what at The Honey Pot

“The Honey Pot Is Ireland’s oldest health store – it was founded in 1975,” says owner Pat Coffey who runs the store with his wife Barbara. “We took over the Clonmel store in 1998 – 20 years ago this year.

“The Honey Pot is situated in the oldest part of Clonmel town to the rear of the clock tower beside the old friary. As the area is pedestrianised the shopping experience in this part of historic Clonmel is relaxed, friendly and the Honey Pot boasts a listed high ceilinged building which complements our lifestyle, ethos and range of products.

“We are the largest food shop in Clonmel outside the main supermarket and our aim has always been for customers to do their entire shop with us. Our food selection is primarily organic from breakfast cereals right through lunch to dinner, which can be accompanied with a nice glass of wine – organic of course. This is available in-store with tastings often on Friday afternoons. Life’s too short to drink bad wine!

“Vegetarian and vegan diets are catered for and we have an extensive gluten-free range. Chilled and frozen foods are available as well as organic fruit, vegetables and eggs which are delivered weekly and in-season local produce.

“We carry a full range of top quality supplements which are food-based, a comprehensive homeopathic section and flower remedies which are customised to meet individual needs in store.

“Our beauty products are organic and not tested on animals. These include natural hair colours, soaps, shampoos and toothpaste. In the household section are found eco-cleaning products and eco-friendly paint. In our natural house section Barbara has put together a dazzling array of unique household and gift items including a fabulous crystal range and unique gifts from Fair Trade sources worldwide.

“We are fortunate to have a pleasant relaxing space at the Honey Pot where we discuss in depth people’s ailments from arthritis to candida, eczema, digestive upsets, gout and of course leaky gut to mention a few. With many years of experience we’ve had many many positive results. At times we call on the experience of local qualified practitioners whenever a kinesiologist, homeopath or iridologist is needed to assist in guiding a patient back to health.

“As a thank you to our ever-growing customer base our store operates a 4% discount cash card which can be redeemed with any purchase any day.”

Visit: The Honey Pot, Abbey St, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Speak to: Pat Coffey, owner and naturopath; Barbara Coffey, beauty therapist; manager Edward Hyland; sales assistant Bridget Slattery and trainee sales assistant Emma Rose.

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