Whatever your problem, there are plenty of alternative, natural remedies you can try at home that can help you take charge of your own health.
Health problem: I’ve hit menopause, and now I’m starting to feel it
Researchers at Tokyo Medical University found that menopausal women who drank a 200ml glass of tomato juice twice a day for eight weeks halved their anxiety, hot flushes and irritability.
Why? It could be that gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is an amino acid found in tomatoes, has a calming effect on the brain, and it works in a similar way to how oestrogen does.
Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms of menopause, and it’s possible that low levels of oestrogen, and hormonal imbalance in general, could be one of the main causes.
A menopause supplement
When you want to counteract the symptoms of menopause, you need a whole battery of nutrients rather than just one supplement. Vital Menopause (R129 for 30 capsules), has a blend of minerals and multivitamins, like B vitamins; the antioxidant vitamin C; and soy isoflavones that contain oestrogen-like compounds to balance hormones.
A cool pillow
Night sweats are miserable, but instead of repeatedly turning your pillow or annoying your partner with the whirl of a fan, try the Spine Align Gel Tech Memory Foam Pillow (R699), with a cooling gel layer that will help you nod off. It’s pricey we know, but worth every cent if it keeps you cool and helps you to sleep better, right?
Health problem: I never feel like I have enough energy
A natural energy-boosting supplement
For those keen not to resort to caffeine to keep them going, one alternative that provides a natural boost is Solgar Ubiquinol 100mg (R761 for 50 softgels, wellnesswarehouse).
It contains the natural ingredient, coenzyme Q10, which performs several important health-supporting roles in the body, including the process of energy production within cells.
Fit in a little exercise
“Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel good, and the more you move, the more you will want to move – but you may have to just fake it until it becomes something you want to do,” says body-transformation expert Louise Parker.
She advises starting with 20-minute walks: “Vary the rate and be conscious of how hard you are walking. Walk at a normal rate for three minutes, then speed up for three minutes, as if you are in a real rush for a meeting and continue like this. This will increase your fitness much faster than you expect.”
Have an aromatherapy moment
Treat yourself to an aromatherapy candle that has been created with well-being in mind. Try the Soul Wisdom or Inner Strength Soy Candles (R194 each, Essentially Natural).
Soul Wisdom contains clary sage to enhance balance, and Inner Strength has basil and lemon to boost focus. Use them to relax the mind and to sustain calm concentration.
The key vitamin for energy can be found in any of the B-complex vitamins, and the best way to get more is from green veg. So, make a juice with lots of leafy greens – pak choi, broccoli, spinach and kale. If that’s a bit too green and sour for your taste, add an apple.
Health problem: My hair and skin look drab
Switch to follicle focused supplements
During menopause, hair can become thinner. Vigro Bio-Capsules Plus (R170 for 60 capsules, Clicks) contain inositol, which promotes hair growth, and are the third step in the Vigro 3-Step System (R210 for the starter pack, which contains a Bio-Shampoo, a Bio-Tonic, and Bio-Capsules; also Clicks).
Do yoga for your face
Boost the eye area with this tip from face-yoga expert Danielle Collins: “Put both your middle fingers together between the eyebrows, then apply pressure to the outer corners of your eyes with your index fingers.
“Look up and start to move the lower eyelids upwards, making a strong squint. Then relax and repeat six more times. To finish, squeeze eyes shut for 10 seconds, then relax.”
Take your medicine
In the form of Solgar L-Glutathione (R131,95 for 30 vegicaps, wellnesswarehouse), a supplement that has glutathione, a super-power among antioxidants. You’ll start to see a youthful-looking glow in no time.
Natural remedies for your emotional wellbeing
Looking for a career change, or do you simply want to grow and learn? A More to Life Weekend might kick-start the process.
Enjoy inspiring workshops and group work, and learn how to recognise limiting behavioural patterns, as well as create new thoughts and results.
A weekend course costs from R3 000, and the next one runs from 10-12 August in Cape Town and 25 to 27 August in Joburg. See moretolife.org.za
Health problem: I feel nervy and anxious
Have an Epsom salts bath
The best supplement to take for nerves and anxiety is magnesium, says nutritionist Hayley Netser.
“Or you could snack on a small handful of almonds every day,” she adds. “Another way to boost magnesium levels is to have an Epsom salts bath. I recommend adding three cupfuls to the water, then relaxing in it for at least 20 minutes, so the magnesium is well absorbed by the body. It has a very calming effect.”
The Victorian Garden Epsom Bath Salts, R55 for 200g, Faithful-to-Nature, has a delightful rose- and cederwood aroma.
Keep a journal
Or more specifically, work your way through Goldie Hawn’s 10 Mindful Minutes, A Journal, R187, Loot.
Goldie has long had an interest in mindfulness, and this is a “guided journal” offering insights, prompts and questions to start you thinking about what you want, what is bothering you, and ways to improve the situation.
There are also blank spaces to write your thoughts and reflections to help you toward a calmer, happier frame of mind.
Do some deep belly breathing
Sleep and energy expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan is the author of Tired But Wired. To reduce anxiety, she suggests this breathing exercise: lie down and focus on the movement of your chest, shoulders and belly as you breathe. Close your eyes and notice where your breathing is coming from.
Then straighten up, roll your shoulders back and down, relax your arms and hands, and place your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Deepen your breathing and prolong your exhalation by pulling your belly inwards. Slow your breath down and at the end of each exhalation and inhalation, pause momentarily.