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Will cutting dairy effect my bones?

QI suffer with sinus problems and so have been advised to cut down on dairy products. I'm worried that doing so will affect my bone health as I won't be getting as much calcium in my diet, what do you think?

AThe notion that we need to consume three portions of dairy a day to stay healthy comes from outdated food pyramids and guidelines supplied by dairy boards. The fact is that while children and teenagers may need this amount of dairy for calcium, the majority of us adults do not. Dairy products can be beneficial to health when consumed in moderation but many of us over consume dairy in this country leading to a variety of digestive, skin and sinus complaints.

There are many other ways to keep our bones healthy, they include avoiding the 'S' words: smoking, stimulants, sugar, salt and stress which all leech calcium from the body. To keep your bones healthy it's important to eat a balanced diet which is rich in vitamin D and magnesium as well as calcium.

Foods such as salmon, sardines, nuts, seeds, pulses and green leafy vegetables will all promote bone health.

Doing some form of weight-bearing exercise is also essential for building and maintaining healthy bones. Weight-bearing exercise is any activity you do while on your feet and legs that works your muscles and bones against gravity such as aerobics, weight lifting or walking.

QMy eyes are seriously puffy in the morning and I have dark shadows that no amount of concealer can hide. I've tried all sorts of eye gels but nothing seems to work, any suggestions?

ATo determine the cause of this, it's important that you observe and address your diet as well as your stress levels and sleep quality. It could be due to a number of factors, including allergies/hay fever, adrenal fatigue, fluid retention, medications, dehydration or iron deficiency anaemia.

Puffiness or dark shadows under the eyes can sometimes be caused by a wheat intolerance. If you are experiencing digestive trouble as well you might consider eliminating wheat for a month and see if you notice a difference. Health food stores provide many alternatives such as quinoa, spelt, millet or buckwheat.

Consuming foods high in antioxidants can help strengthen the blood vessels around the eyes so eat plenty of fresh cranberries, blueberries, bilberries, onions, parsley and legumes. It's also important to reduce the amount of salt in the diet. Avoid adding salt to food or eating processed foods such as ready made meals or sauces, sausages, bacon, stocks, condiments etc.

Dehydration can also be a factor so I would recommend that you start the day with a cup of warm water with the juice of half a lemon to kick-start detoxification and hydration and avoid tea, coffee and alcohol as best you can.

Elsa Jones is a nutritional therapist and presenter of 'How Healthy are You?' on TV3. Elsa offers one to one consultations to meet your individual health requirements. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie