Our health concerns change with each passing decade. The fact is, the older we get the more important it is to pay attention to our health. To address some of women's most common issues, we turned to China Rose Zamora, nutritional therapist and herbalist at our Napa, Calif. store.
Age: 20s; Concern: Good skin care
Most important, China Rose, says, is hydration. She recommends consuming half your body weight in ounces (i.e. if you weigh 140 lbs, drink 70 oz of water). "Try coconut water for a natural source of electrolytes," she says, and reduce your diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol.
Next, make sure you're protected from the sun. "We need some exposure for healthy vitamin D levels, but try not to be out in the intense times, 11am-3pm or so," she says. If you do have to go out, China Rose likes mineral sunscreens from Badger and Goddess Garden.
She also recommends getting a good balance of healthy fats in your diet, including nuts and seeds, avocado, fish, olive oil, coconut oil, eggs or organic dairy products. She also suggests a fish oil supplement, like those from Pharmax.
Age: 30s; Concern: Fertility/Pregnancy
To prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy, China Rose suggests reducing stress levels. "High stress can throw off the intricate balance of our female hormones, making it harder to conceive or maintain a pregnancy," she says.
She adds that medicinal herbs can help reduce nervous tension and help your body adapt to stress. "My favorites are nervine herbs like skullcap and wild oats, and adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, licorice and holy basil."
In addition, it's a good idea to start taking a prenatal multivitamin and some extra DHA up to a year before planning to get pregnant to ensure healthy prenatal development. She likes multis from whole-food sources, like New Chapter's Perfect Prenatal, MegaFood’s Baby & Me, Garden of Life’s Kind Organic Prenatal and the DHA in and fish oil such as Nordic Naturals' Cod Liver Oil.
Age: 40s; Concern: Preparing for a Healthy Menopause
"We can do a lot to prevent and reduce common menopausal symptoms by taking care of our adrenal glands," China Rose says. "Get enough rest, reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption, keep blood sugar balanced throughout the day and get regular exercise."
For symptomatic support, she likes maca, an herb that supports the whole hormonal system and can help to reduce symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings and low energy levels. "I also like to use liver-supportive herbs that help the body clear any excess hormones, like estrogen, that might be causing symptoms." She loves combinations of milk thistle, dandelion, yellow dock, and Oregon grape root like those found in Pharmaca’s Liver Cleanse Booster.
Age: 50s; Concern: Osteoporosis
"Calcium is important, but not all calcium supplements are created equal," she says. "I prefer to use those from food sources like New Chapter's Bone Strength Take Care." She likes it because it includes other important nutrients like vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K and strontium that help to maintain strong bones. At the same time, make sure your digestion is up to par, since digestive problems can hinder the absorption of these vital minerals. Caffeine and soda can also leach calcium from your bones.
Age: 60s; Concern: Heart Health
While she always recommends a diet high in plant-based foods, China Rose feels it's especially important as women start thinking about their heart health. "A wide variety of fruits and vegetables provides a diverse source of antioxidants," she says. In addition, make sure you're getting a good amount of cardiovascular exercise: walking, swimming, cycling, etc. "Your heart will thank you for it!"
She also recommends hawthorn berry as a general cardio tonic. "It can help to lower moderately high blood pressure levels, as well as support healthy heart function," she says. She recommends Flora's Hawthorn Heart Formula. In addition, she likes motherwort, an herb that can help alleviate mild heart palpitations as a symptom of menopause.
Finally, continue to be aware of your hormonal balance. "Though hormonal levels naturally lessen as we age, we continue to need healthy levels of estrogen and progesterone to maintain strong bones," she says, so speak with a practitioner about supporting your hormonal system.
Pharmaca's practitioners can help you address your health concerns at any age.