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    12 Foods That Will Make Your Period Cramps So Much More Bearable, According To RDs

    You usually have a general idea of when your period is coming. You may have been tracking it with an app to get to know your monthly cycle better and you know what to expect: bloating, cravings, and menstrual cramps. The pain can range from being mildly uncomfortable to downright debilitating. One way to soothe the ache: foods that help with period cramps.

    Why do some women get period cramps while others don’t? It all comes down to a type of chemical in your body called prostaglandins. This hormone-like substance can trigger the uterine muscles to contract during your period, according to the Mayo Clinic. Higher levels of prostaglandins are associated with more severe cramps.

    That said, multiple factors can affect how much pain your period causes, “including how heavily a woman bleeds, how tight her cervix is, how inflamed her system is, and her perception of pain,” says Wendie Trubow, MD, an ob-gyn.

    The good news is that certain foods can help ease cramps. Okay, they won’t make the discomfort go away directly, but they may have an impact on the body processes and hormones that lead to period cramps.

    Some pro tips on a relatively pain-free period: Avoid processed foods, get enough sleep, manage stress, and take supplements such as methylated B vitamins, which support hormonal balance, says Dr Trubow. To get the most out of these practices, do them over the entire course of the month, not just during your period.

    If you get really bad cramps, you may want to put down that bag of chips or pint of ice cream even when the cravings hit. Here are 12 foods that’ll help you feel better throughout your cycle.

    1) Avocados

    Avocados contain omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium, both of which may help reduce period cramps, says Alli Magier, the founder of Well by Alli. “Omega-3 fatty acids lower inflammation and help prevent excess prostaglandin production,” she explains. Magnesium, known as “nature’s relaxant,” can also help ease smooth muscle and lower the production of prostaglandins.

    2) Chamomile Tea

    Chamomile tea contains anti-inflammatory compounds and can help reduce pain by inhibiting certain enzymes known to cause pain, says Magier.

    Note that chamomile tea works best when you have it before the pain starts (so a few days before your period), according to a 2019 article published in the Journal of Pharmacopuncture.

    3) Cruciferous Vegetables

    Estrogen dominance and poor estrogen detoxification can contribute to endometriosis and dysmenorrhea (a.k.a. painful period cramps), says Morgan Goodstadt, the founder of Good Nutrition. “Broccoli and Brussels sprouts contain antioxidants and nutrients that help the liver detoxify excess estrogen. They are also high-fibre foods, which support estrogen clearance and elimination through the bowels,” she adds.

    Staying regular, which these veggies could help with, is super important for moving excess estrogen out of the body and supporting your gut too.

    4) Fermented Foods

    Fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, and yoghurt contain probiotics that help keep your gut healthy, says Magier, which is important for estrogen balance and period pain. The good bacteria from fermented foods can balance your gut microbiome and regulate estrogen metabolism and elimination.

    In addition, low calcium intake can increase muscle contractions and cramping, so add fermented dairy to your diet for max relief.

    5) Salmon

    Prostaglandins are primarily made from omega-6 fatty acids, which are naturally inflammatory, says Goodstadt. “For optimal health, we want to consume a good ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids,” she says. One way to do that? Consuming lots of omega-3-rich foods like salmon and sardines. (Yum!)

    6) Flaxseeds

    Flaxseeds are one of Goodstadt’s all-time favourite foods for hormone health in general. “Not only are they a great source of fibre and healthy omega-3 fats, but they also contain compounds called lignans, which can bind to and detoxify excess estrogen,” she says.

    7) Ginger

    Ginger can lower the intensity of period cramps and pain, a 2019 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology Science found. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps soothe the stomach and reduce nausea, another common PMS symptom. Enjoy it as a spice in a dish or add slices to a steaming mug of tea!

    8) Leafy Green Vegetables

    Spinach and Swiss chard are full of anti-inflammatory compounds, fibre, manganese, and vitamin E, per Magier. “Adequate fibre intake is important for reducing PMS symptoms because it helps keep the gut microbiome healthy and supports normal estrogen metabolism,” she says. Vitamin E can tone down prostaglandin production, and low manganese levels are associated with more severe pain during menstruation.

    9) Almonds, Cashews, And Walnuts

    Nuts are a healthy source of minerals and unsaturated fats, explains Magier. In particular, walnuts are great sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower prostaglandin production and combat period cramps. Almonds and cashews pack a ton of magnesium, which is associated with less period pain.

    10) Peppermint Tea

    Peppermint contains the active ingredient menthol, which has been shown to relieve pain. It can reduce the duration and severity of pain associated with periods, a 2016 study published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research showed.

    11) Pumpkin Seeds

    “Pumpkin seeds are one of my favourite high-magnesium foods, making them excellent for reducing period cramps,” says Goodstadt.

    12) Turmeric

    Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is also a hormone modulator and pain reliever. It has been found to address some of the root causes of period pain, including estrogen dominance and endometriosis, per a 2020 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine. More

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    Phillip Schofield hits back at Dr Ranj’s This Morning ‘bullying’ claims saying ‘some people see toxicity everywhere’

    PHILLIP Schofield has hit back at Dr Ranj Singh’s claims that there was a “toxic” culture of “bullying” at This Morning.The star, 61 – who was last week axed from This Morning – sensationally left the show last week after revealing he had an affair with a much-younger male employee.
    Phillip Schofield has claimed there is ‘no toxicity’ at This Morning
    He has hit out at claims made by Dr Ranj
    Schofield, who was married at the time, branded the relationship “unwise but not illegal”. His admission catapulted the show into chaos – and has left his 40-year career in tatters.
    Singh worked on the show as a resident medical expert alongside Schofield and his co-host Holly Willoughby for six years before stepping down in 2022. 
    He has since alleged there was a “toxic” atmosphere at the show.
    And Singh said he raised concerns about “bullying and discrimination” two years ago.
    He claimed he was “managed out” for whistleblowing and didn’t know the truth of “what was going on with Phillip”.
    He also said he took his concerns “directly to the top of ITV”.
    But Schofield has now lashed out at the claims in an interview with the BBC.
    He said: “Some people are toxic and see toxicity everywhere because that’s the lens they are looking through
    Most read in Showbiz
    “There is no toxicity. There is no bullying. There is no discrimination at This Morning.”
    He added: “All I see is angry people shouting about a show they’re not on anymore.”
    It comes after Schofield also hit out at Dr Ranj in an exclusive bombshell interview with The Sun.
    He said: “There is no toxicity in that show. I walked in in the morning and went into the production room and sat down, we all had a chat about the weekend, or what we did the night before, and all having a laugh.
    “Then I’d go into my dressing room and write up the script, then go into the sanctuary which is make-up, and have a chat with everyone in there.”
    Yesterday, it emerged that ITV boss Carolyn McCall has been called to face MPs amid the ­ongoing This Morning furore.
    She has been called to give evidence to a parliamentary committee to answer questions about the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint-handling following Phillip’s resignation.
    The chief executive will face questions from MPs on the This Morning row at the Culture, Media and Sport committee on June 14.
    It comes amid the fallout from Phillip Schofield’s affair with a much younger This Morning worker More

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    6 Steps That’ll Help You To Quit Smoking – For Good

    Decided to quit smoking? Good for you! Want to double your odds of never lighting up again? Use this guide to stomp out your habit once and for all.

    Why you should think about quitting smoking

    First, it’s a gateway to disease. Since it puts a strain on your cardiovascular system, you’re more at risk for those types of diseases, which are the leading cause of death worldwide. Think: heart disease and strokes. There are myriad ways smoking negatively impacts the body, from bad breath to gum disease and even infertility.

    This step-by-step guide, backed by science, shows you what to be prepared for when you quit smoking, along with some tips to help.

    Step One: Set A Date

    According to the National Council Against Smoking, it’s important to set a date to quit so you can mentally and emotionally prepare for it. The good news: for women, picking the day is easy.

    Why? US researchers found that women who quit smoking during the first half of their menstrual cycle may have the edge over those who stop during the second half. In the study, tobacco withdrawal symptoms were less severe for the women who quit between days one and 14 of their cycle, compared to those who quit between day 14 and the start of their next period.

    Do it! Track your cycle and mark the date on your calendar. Tell your friends, family and colleagues when the big day is so they can encourage you to stick to it.

    Step Two: Clean House

    As a smoker, you’re never alone. The strong scent of tobacco follows you in clothes, ashtrays, even curtains – but if you’re serious about quitting, you can’t have it hanging around.

    Why? Studies show that when exposed to familiar smoking visuals, parts of the brain like the amygdala activate craving responses. “Addictive behaviours become associated with cues in one’s environment. These cues then act as triggers, which cause cravings,” explains Candice Garrun, a mental health therapist and founder of the website “Don’t put yourself in situations that trigger you! If you hang out at a barber’s shop often enough, you will eventually get a haircut.”

    Do it! Tidy up. Throw out all smoking paraphernalia like ashtrays and lighters. Clean your clothes, carpets, curtains and bedding. This strategy helped 30-year-old Marilize, who has been smoke-free for two years after reading The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allan Carr. “We cleaned out the house! The book guides you through the whole process,” she says. “After a while, smoking began to gross me out – the smell and everything about it.”

    Step Three: Get A Hobby

    Make it something you can do as quickly as lighting up and turn to it when you’re tempted.

    Why? Taking up a new pastime will help channel your thoughts and fill the void that smoking once occupied.“Habits actually change your brain in ways that can bring relief from cravings and get you started on a path to joy and hope,” says Joburg-based clinical psychologist Elizabeth Cambanis, who has worked with patients who struggle with chemical and behavioural addiction. WH reader Chantelle used this method to kick the habit two years ago. “I found a new hobby. I now fill my time with exercise and baking – and yes, I did gain some weight. But it’s worth it.”

    Do it! Keep your hands busy with knitting, painting or playing a musical instrument. Not your pace? Engage in activities where you can’t smoke, like riding a bike or swimming. Moderate and vigorous exercise will help reduce cigarette cravings and stave them off for longer.

    Step Four: Control Your Triggers

    To avoid a relapse, it’s vital to keep your smoke triggers in check – specific people, places or emotions that make you want to smoke.

    Why? The longer you’ve smoked, the stronger the connections are between these triggers and your urges. For on-off smoker Thokozile (29), it’s a TV show. “I still sigh with longing when I watch old episodes of Sex and the City,” she says. “I quit for months – even up to a year – but when I watch SJP I often think, ‘It’s been long enough, I’ve done well’.” Triggers may include being around other smokers, feeling stressed or excited, drinking coffee or tea, or enjoying a meal. You can’t always avoid trigger situations, but it’s important to recognise the thoughts you have around smoking because acknowledging them can help you change your behaviour, explains Cambanis.

    Do it! Change your routine. Take note of how you feel just before you smoke and identify what made you light up. Being conscious of these things will help you remove your trigger. Coffee time? Have a glass of water instead.

    Step Five: Prepare For Withdrawal

    The physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are rough, but not life-threatening. Still, if you’re not prepared, they may be just awful enough to weaken your resolve.

    Why? Because smoking’s addictive. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, addiction to nicotine occurs quickly and is difficult to shake. Nicotine stimulates the reward pathways of your brain, prompting pleasant, happy feelings – and making quitting tough. “The first few weeks are the hardest,” says Cambanis. “If you’re feeling nauseated, any carbonated beverage should help and nausea only lasts a week or two.” A third of ex-smokers report headaches – often due to changing brain oxygen levels, according to Cambanis. Hang in there – they do pass in time.

    Do it! “Ensure you get more sleep, stretch, or practise deep breathing and relaxation techniques,” suggests Cambanis. Quitting smoking happens one minute, one hour and one day at a time. Don’t think about the long-term.

    Step Six: Gather Your Support Group

    Rally support from a close friend or family member.Why? Friends can talk you through difficult situations. The first seven to 10 days are the toughest and smokers who relapse typically do so within the first three months. Counsellors can help you identify your triggers and determine what strategy is most likely to work for you. “Sadly, few people seek professional help and more frequently try to quit on their own. It’s very hard to do it alone and you don’t have to,” says Garrun. Plus, a meta-analysis found that counselling resulted in higher rates of smoking cessation.Do it! Get help. WH reader Joanne did – and succeeded: “I stopped after 10 years using a programme called Smoke Enders. It’s been five years and I’m still smoke-free.” Also, reinforce your success with rewards. This is another strategy that helped Marilize. “I made myself a deal that I could use the money I used to spend on cigarettes on magazines. What a joy!” More

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    My Experience With Breast Cancer, At Age 27

    Model Amber Denae Wright tells about her experience with breast cancer, having been diagnosed at the age of 27.

    Discovering a lump

    In March of 2020, literally two weeks before we went into hard lockdown, I got out of the shower one evening and I felt this really large lump on the right side of my breast. I hadn’t noticed it before. I was shocked by how big it was. It was on the right-hand side and thankfully close to the surface.

    As a teenager, I had been diagnosed with fibroadenomas, which are non-cancerous lumps that are quite common in young women. When I felt the lump, I thought that’s what it was. I had been told that they can grow and change. Sometimes, they need to be removed. But knowing that I didn’t want foreign things in my body, I immediately phoned my gynae and booked an appointment.

    That appointment got cancelled because we then went into a hard lockdown. Throughout that time, I had this thing constantly bothering me. I was very aware of it the whole time. It was causing a lot of pain. It was right where your bra wire catches. I fully believed that it was a fibroadenoma. I never even for one second imagined the big C word.

    The diagnosis

    When I was referred to a breast surgeon, he examined me and said that the way it felt and moved felt just like a fibroadenoma. He however recommended not going in for the surgery immediately, given the risks of contracting COVID in the hospital. I took that recommendation and another two months went by. Eventually, it caused me a lot of pain. I was struggling to sleep at night and struggling to complete workouts with my sports bra catching it. I eventually elected to do the surgery in August, five months after finding the lump.

    They removed the lump and sent it away for testing. A week later, I went back for a follow-up appointment. Everything felt very normal but then he called me into his office and started by asking me when I had found this lump. He said I’d shocked them all because, as it turned out, the lump was cancerous.

    I’ll never forget that moment for as long as I live. They were words I never ever, even for one second, imagined hearing, having breast cancer at age 27. The doctor immediately started to go through my treatment plan, the type of diagnosis it was, and the rest. I felt like I was watching this whole scene play out like I was outside of my body because it was too much. And then he started to talk about all of the treatments and he said the words ‘chemotherapy’. Once he said those words I was like, ‘This is actually real’. And I immediately just started to cry. I was completely overwhelmed.

    The treatment

    From that point on I was catapulted into 1001 different appointments, from scans to blood tests. I went straight from there for an ultrasound and the next day, I met with my oncologist.

    Given that my husband Nick and I don’t have kids yet, our first port of call was to preserve my fertility (which can be affected by chemotherapy). We did fertility treatment and froze embryos. This involved hormone injections, regular scans at a fertility facility and the harvesting of my eggs. It was the craziest few weeks of my life. Once the embryos were frozen, it was time to start chemotherapy. 

    My chemotherapy treatment was 16 rounds, over five months. Two weeks after my first chemo session, my hair started to fall out. It was one of my biggest fears. Every day I’d wake up, there was more hair on my pillow and more hair on my floor and every coat that I wore. It was all over me and it became very overwhelming.

    Eventually, it got to the point where my husband had to help me shave it off. It was a moment I never pictured going through in my life.

    Amber in treatment

    My life with breast cancer

    Initially, I was determined to keep up with everything I had been doing: working full-time, doing workouts and staying healthy. I had started doing Raise the Barre, an online barre class, during the lockdown. Before I’d gone in for surgery I was literally feeling my strongest, fittest, healthiest self. One of the toughest things was watching that slowly slip away as I got weaker and wasn’t able to train as much.

    During chemotherapy, for the first couple of weeks, when I still had energy, I was trying to train as much as I could. But chemo weakens you over time. I had debilitating headaches and couldn’t take too many painkillers because my organs were already under so much strain from the chemo. At about two or three o’clock, on some days, I would just crash and I literally felt like I couldn’t keep my head up. Because of all this, I decided to leave my job and focus on fighting the cancer.

    I also sought out therapy to help me maintain a positive mental state throughout. That helped me a lot because there are a lot of dark, hard thoughts that you don’t want to burden other people with.

    Amber ringing the bell after the last chemo treatment

    My surgery

    After chemo was done it was time for surgery. Because I didn’t test positive for any of the cancer gene mutations, I elected for a lumpectomy, where the lump and surrounding tissue were removed. When they operated on me the first time to remove the lump, they were operating as if it wasn’t cancer, so they didn’t do what they would normally do, which is cut around it and take all the tissue and the tumour out.

    They ended up taking out a lot of tissue and had to reduce the left breast to match the right. It ended up being a massive surgery. I also underwent 5 weeks of daily radiation and I am currently on 5 years of hormone treatment (Tamoxifen and Zolodex).

    Finding remission

    In October 2021, after all my active treatment was completed, I had an MRI which was all clear and confirmed that I was in remission. During my cancer journey, I felt like I was in survival mode, trying to get through every single day, and so when all of my treatment was done, I had a lot of emotions to work through and mental healing to do.

    Although my life looks very different now and although I will need to go for regular check-ups and scans for the rest of my life, and although I have needed to make changes and sacrifices to my lifestyle, there has been so much good that has come from this difficult journey. It made me a better person and helped me to become more confident in who I am and it made me realise how much I have to be grateful for.  

    I have been given a fresh start and I now know that I can do and be whatever I want to be because I proved to myself and everyone around me how strong I am. I am so grateful for my life and the people I have been blessed with  

    I’ve really tried to embrace this new version of myself and navigate all that comes with the cancer aftermath. My life is different, but it’s beautiful and I’m so blessed to be here.

    Amber now, cancer-free More

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    Can You Trust AI For Your Health? Here’s What An Expert Thinks

    Sure, we don’t have a robot to make our beds (yet), but AI is alive and well in the world. Use it to proofread your writing, enhance your productivity and now, you can consult Dr Chatbot for health advice.

    ChatGPT, but make it for health

    Per a PWC report, “One of AI’s biggest potential benefits is to help people stay healthy so they don’t need a doctor, or at least not as often.” Already, AI can detect diseases such as cancer. And, the medical devices that appear to us as wearable health-enhancing tech uses AI to maximise our outlook. Here’s looking at you, Fitbit.

    Plus, using tech for your health concerns is nothing new. For decades, we’ve been consulting Dr Google for anything from a niggle to a full-on flare-up. But can AI be a panacea for our health needs?

    How does ChatGPT work?

    ChatGPT is arguably the most well-known and powerful AI in the space. Five days after it launched, the language bot became the fastest consumer application to reach a million users in history. And since then, that number has reached 100 million. That makes ChatGPT a popular alternative to Google for seeking out information and advice.

    Using an AI model, ChatGPT has been ‘trained’ to recognise patterns in language that allows it to make ‘predictions’ based on that learning. This is a tool that draws on available information to produce well-articulated answers to almost any question entered into its chat bar, no matter how broad or narrow the question or how detailed the expected response is.

    Plus, AI like ChatGPT could lessen the burden on healthcare providers and can provide empathetic, high-quality responses, a study has found.

    AI for your health: the problem

    But how reliable is the information? What happens when it comes to subject matter that may contain conflicting opinions or biased sources of information? Here it becomes hard to discern the chatbot’s reliability or potential prejudices.

    The answers ChatGPT spat out for medical concerns were deemed as good or better than Google’s, per a new study conducted by a UCT professor. But some answers were vague, misleading or just plain made-up.

    Study author Dr Philip Moons, Honorary Professor at UCT’s Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, cautions about using ChatGPT. “It is important to know that ChatGPT is a language model. It’s built to make good texts. It is not made to look things up,” he says.

    A thorny issue

    On its homepage, ChatGPT includes disclaimers that it may generate incorrect or biased information. Yet, we don’t know when a response is correct or not, how it may have been influenced by the manner in which a question was phrased and when and how it may be influenced by vested interests. And when it comes to health advice, this could amplify certain falsehoods or points of view, or overlook potential blind spots of information. Unlike a Google search that leads you to specific websites, with ChatGPT there is no single source of information which makes it hard to ascertain its credibility.

    Already, healthcare services in the US are struggling to adapt to the glitches and failures of AI while dealing with patients in real-time.

    “Legislators are currently concerned about the lack of legislation,” says Dr Moons about the questions the use of ChatGPT raises. “I’m sure that governments are dealing with this issue. To the best of my knowledge, there is no uniform framework for it.”

    This raises the larger question of accountability. Let’s say a healthcare institution begins using an AI-registered platform, incorporating it into the diagnostic process, and a claim arises. Who answers to any potential liability – the AI itself, the company that developed the programme, the programmers who developed and maintain the algorithm or the healthcare institution that adopted the platform and failed to manage associated risks? Only time will tell.

    So… should you use ChatGPT for your health issue?

    For now, use caution when consulting ChatGPT for healthcare issues. As always, a real-life doctor’s advice is always the gold standard, rather than what you find on the Internet. Doctors can get a proper look at all the factors that create an issue, instead of what you exclusively input into an AI chat. “I think that healthcare providers need to warn their patients and the lay public that ChatGPT is not made for looking up things,” says Dr Moons.

    If you’re desperate, Dr Moons suggests New Bing, an AI-powered search engine made by Microsoft. “It has the functionality of a search engine (like Google), but the technology of ChatGPT is built in. New Bing is meant to look things up. Therefore, it is a safer place to go to than ChatGPT,” he explains. More

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    The 8 Greatest Smartwatches And Trackers To Elevate Your Health and Fitness

    Smartwatches are possibly essential to any healthy woman’s life. They track your steps (gotta hit that 10K a day), measure your sleep and feed you detailed info about your workouts.

    The science backs up smartwatches, too. They’re viable tools that can give healthcare providers robust data about a person’s health. And with tracking abilities that sync your data to your menstrual cycle, you can tailor your workouts to whichever phase you’re in.

    The benefits of smartwatches, according to science

    According to John Hopkins Medicine, trackers encourage more movement and are also clutch at helping you take more steps. And more movement is vital for various health markers, from keeping weight at a healthy range to warding off cardiovascular disease. Studies show that smartwatches can even help in the self-management of epilepsy, diabetes, speech therapy monitoring and even CPR training. Yep!

    Then there’s the extensive review published in The Lancet. It found that “activity trackers improved physical activity, body composition, and fitness, equating to approximately 1800 extra steps per day, 40 min per day more walking, and reductions of approximately 1 kg in body weight.” That’s huge.

    Your smartwatch doesn’t even have to be the most expensive on the market for you to get the benefits. At its most basic form, reminders to move more are effective and can help move the needle towards healthier habits. And heart rate monitors offer tons of insights, like when you’re in a heart rate zone that’s too high or low. We’ve rounded up some of the best fitness trackers, each with their own set of unique skills. Here, the fitness watches that elevate your health and fitness.

    The best smartwatches for health and fitness

    For the serious adventurers

    Suunto 9 Peak Pro


    Size: 43 x 43 x 10,8 mm, 64g

    GPS: Yes

    Heart rate monitor: Yes

    Water resistance: 100m waterproof

    Swim tracking: Yes  

    Mobile payments: No

    Phone call: No

    Don’t be intimidated by the size of the watch face. This tracker is lightweight and packs a punch. Choose from over 95 sports modes, including trail running, mountain biking and even snorkelling. There’s a built-in GPS with navigation capabilities when you’re off on a run or trekking the wilderness. Plus, they’re made using renewable energy, with a low carbon footprint and a long lifespan that compensates for their very existence.

    Garmin Enduro 2


    Size: 51 x 51 x 15.6mm, 70g

    GPS: Yes

    Heart rate monitor: Yes

    Water resistance: Yes, 10 ATM rating

    Swim tracking: Yes

    Mobile payments: Yes  

    Phone calls: Yes

    Rough and ready for anything, this watch does it all. Run to the ends of the earth and still have enough power, since this watch also has solar charging capabilities. Built-in navigation helps you figure out which way you need to be. It even works out your metrics to help you with training – and suggests a pace that’ll get you over the finish line in style. That’s not all. Trend data shows how your training is having an impact over time.

    For the wellness queen

    Fitbit Sense 2


    Size: 38 x 38 x 11.43mm

    GPS: Yes

    Heart rate monitor: Yes

    Water resistance: 50m

    Swim tracking: Yes

    Mobile payments: Yes

    Phone calls: Yes

    Wellness girlies love this watch. Get all-day stress management (and reminders to do some meditation and breathing exercises) and a stress score. Menstrual tracking is part of the package, as is a personalised sleep profile, with daily sleep feedback. A health metrics dashboard gives detailed data about your heart rate, skin temp and SpO2. It’ll even give you a Daily Readiness Score, something that takes all metrics available and lets you know what kind of workout you should hit that day, depending on what your body is ready for.

    Garmin Lily


    Size: 34.50 x 34.50 x 10.15 mm, 24g

    GPS: Yes

    Heart rate monitor: Yes

    Water resistance: Yes, 5 ATM rating

    Swim tracking: Yes  

    Mobile payments: No

    Phone calls: Yes

    See your bod’s energy levels throughout the day so you know the best times for workouts, and when’s best to rest. Stress monitoring also lets you know how you’re doing and of course, a period tracker measures your flow, symptoms and more. Respiration tracking lets you know how your breathing is doing, with reminders for breathwork and yoga. Truly, a wellness watch.

    For iPhone users

    Apple Series 8


    Size: 41 x 35 x10.7mm, 31.9g

    GPS: Yes

    Heart rate monitor: Yes

    Water resistance: Yes, WR50 rating

    Swim tracking: Yes  

    Mobile payments: Apple Pay

    Phone calls: Yes

    Temperature sensing makes this watch a cut above the rest, which offers detailed insights into women’s health tracking, so you know for sure when you’re ovulating. It’ll also stay on for longer. The Blood Oxygen app lets you in on your blood oxygen levels, clueing you in if you’re at risk for something like pneumonia. Heart rate notifications ping when you’re in a zone too high or too low. In low battery mode, get a whopping 36 hours extra battery life, so you’re always connected.

    For Android users

    Samsung Galaxy Watch5


    Size: 43.3 x 44.4 x 9.8 mm, 33.5g

    GPS: Yes

    Heart rate monitor: Yes

    Water resistance: Yes, 5ATM+IP68 rating

    Swim tracking: Yes

    Mobile payments: Yes, Samsung Pay

    Phone calls: Yes

    For Samsung users, this watch is a worthy companion. From advanced sleep tracking that lets you plan a better snooze for your sleep type, to the over 90 trackable exercises it hosts, this watch can do pretty much whatever. A heart rate monitor and ECG is incorporated into the device, along with something called the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Sensor (BIA). That tracks your body fat percentage and skeletal muscle weight, so you’re in the know about your health – especially if you’re on a fat loss journey. It even guides your selfies. Real talk.

    For the budget

    Huawei Band 7


    Size: 44.35 × 26 × 9.99 mm, 16g (without the strap)

    GPS: No

    Heart rate monitor: Yes

    Water resistance: Yes, 5 ATM rating

    Swim tracking: Yes

    Mobile payments: Only with Android

    Phone calls: No, only call notifications and the option to decline

    This watch does a lot with a low price point. Pick from over 90 workout modes and an app connects you to menstrual health data, steps, SpO2 tracking and more. A five-minute charge powers the device for two whole weeks (huge score!). A vibration lets you know if your blood oxygen level or heart rate strays from the healthy range, too. And it’s water resistant, a big feature at this price point.

    Amazfit Bip 3


    Size: 44.12×36.49×9.65mm, 33.2g

    GPS: Yes

    Heart rate monitor: Yes

    Water resistance: Yes, 5 ATM

    Swim tracking: Yes

    Mobile payments: No

    Phone calls: Notifications only

    Get two weeks’ use out of this watch with one charge. While the watch face is wide enough for different displays (even a customisable face of your choosing, like your own photo), it’s slim and lightweight. It’ll track your swims, workouts and runs – along with everything else in between, including sleep quality. Plus, the watch’s Target Pace function lets you set and crush your pace goals. There’s also a built-in GPS and even a blood oxygen saturation feature.

    Michelle is a freelance writer at WH, passionate about all things health, fitness and mental wellness. She’s also an avid surfer and recently discovered skateboarding as a viable means of transport. Skate dates, anyone? More

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    Why You Should Check For High Blood Pressure, Even If You Think You’re Fine

    In 2015, high blood pressure, or hypertension, caused an estimated 10.7 million deaths worldwide. Since then, its prevalence has grown from 25% to greater than 40%. Approximately 8.22 million South African adults with no private health insurance have hypertension, according to a recent study. That’s too high. Your sneaky coffee addiction and having a tipple too many could contribute to higher numbers. Here’s what to know about the risk factors, and when to worry.  

    Hypertension: our silent problem  

    Hypertension is known as ‘the silent killer’, because of the lack of apparent symptoms. Often, patients have no idea their blood pressure is dangerously high. That’s not all. High blood pressure can also be a precursor for dementia and cognitive decline later in life, according to the CDC. Also, hypertensive people are at a higher risk for developing kidney disease.

    While the rates for men in South Africa are lower, the rates for women are worryingly high, with about 40.99% of adult women in South Africa battling high blood pressure, per the World Obesity Federation, pushing our ranking up to 23rd in the world.  

    “Research suggests that cardiovascular disease causes more deaths in South Africa than all the cancers combined – a sobering statistic,” says Dr Adrian Rotunno, a Virgin Active panel expert and Sport and Exercise Medicine physician. “Many reports show that diseases of the circulatory system account for nearly a fifth of all deaths in the country, followed by what is termed “diseases of lifestyle” including diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar), hypertension (high blood pressure), hypercholesterolaemia (high blood cholesterol), and obesity.”

    When to check your blood pressure

    With rates this high, it’s important to keep tabs on your own number. Smartwatches can help, but they don’t always give accurate readings, so get to a clinic or a nurse and have yours checked regularly – at least once a year, if you’re over 40, and once every two years if you’re not at risk or younger than 40.

    Are you at risk for high blood pressure?

    There are several risk factors for high blood pressure that many of us may harbour, and be unaware of. That includes smoking (or that sneaky vaping habit), being sedentary and too much caffeine and alcohol use. Being overweight is also a risk factor.


    Smoking – and even vaping – spikes your blood pressure and increases your heart rate. Whether you smoke regularly or not doesn’t matter, either. The American Heart Association found in a report that “people who used e-cigarettes and people who smoked combustible cigarettes had greater increases in blood pressure, heart rate and blood vessel constriction, immediately after vaping or smoking, compared to people who did not use any nicotine.” Smoking constricts the blood vessels, leading to higher blood pressure readings. If you vape or smoke, try find a way to quit.

    Being sedentary

    Per research in the journal Hypertension, people the world over are moving less and less, despite clear guidelines saying that more movement is the key to mitigating chronic diseases like high blood pressure and more. What you should do? Move more and sit less, says the American Heart Association. 150 minutes of moderate activity (walks, gardening) can lower high blood pressure.   


    Even drinking just a little raises your heart rate, per a study in Cochrane Library. It found that drinking a high dose of alcohol (the equivalent of 30g or more), raised blood pressure more than 13 hours after consumption, even when it temporarily lowered the blood pressure immediately after drinking. For women, guidelines suggest no more than one drink in one sitting – any more and your BP is at risk. Moderate drinking is defined as two drinks, while more than three glasses in means you’re on a binge – and placing yourself at risk.


    Go low and slow on the coffee and energy drinks. Per one study, caffeine spiked BP and this can be prolonged, over several hours. “Typically, blood pressure changes occur within 30 minutes, peak in 1-2 hours, and may persist for more than 4 hours,” the authors note. Per the NHS, try to limit yourself to less than four cups a day.

    How to prevent high blood pressure

    Exercise and a healthy diet are essential to preventing the onset of high blood pressure, but in some cases, seemingly healthy people can have frighteningly high numbers. That’s likely because sneaky habits could get in the way. Steer clear of any that could lead you to the ER, and adopt healthy eating habits (like going steady on salt and booze). And if you’re at risk (with any one of these habits taking over), check your blood pressure – it could save your life.   More

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    7 Common Things That Make Your Vagina Smell Strange

    Why does your vagina smell and what can you do about it? Dr Christine Kriel, a qualified GP with special interests in women’s health and holistic healing, gives us all the intimate details…

    So, what should your vagina smell like?

    The way your vagina smells is highly individualised and influenced by a couple of different factors. If there is a noticeable odour – associated with symptoms like discharge, itch or burn – there’s a problem and you need to pop in on your gynae. But without these symptoms, the smell is probably perfectly normal.

    But why?

    The reason your vagina has a characteristic smell is because it secretes fluids and normal bacteria to keep your vaginal pH slightly acidic at 4.5 – this plays a role in helping your vagina stay infection-free. Here, the common things that give your vagina its unique scent…

    READ MORE: Vaginal Probiotics Are Having A Moment – But How Do They Work?

    Oestrogen lowers your vaginal pH, protecting you from infections. During the second half of your cycle up until before your period, when oestrogen is low, you might be more susceptible to infections and odour. When your cycle is irregular, you’re also more susceptible to increased pH and infections.

    2. Your diet

    Sugary foods create the perfect environment for yeast infections, causing a change in vaginal odour. (Though yeast infections themselves don’t really have a characteristic smell.) Strong-smelling foods like coffee or onions affect bodily fluids, including vaginal discharge and smell. Incredibly, there is some evidence showing that sweet-smelling foods like watermelon, celery, pineapple and apple might help with vaginal odour. Lastly, eating foods rich in probiotics – like sauerkraut, kefir or kombucha – supports your vaginal microbiome, preventing infections.

    READ MORE: All About The New Non-Surgical Vaginal Rejuvenation Therapy

    FYI: Your vaginal microbiome is the environment of normal organisms found in your vagina. Their role? To protect you from an overgrowth of unwanted yeast and bacterial infections. The vaginal microbiome and your gut microbiome are connected.

    To maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome, avoid oral antibiotics as far as possible and supplement with probiotic strains lactobacillus rhamnosus (GR-1) and lactobacillus reuteri (RC-14). Avoid: feminine hygiene products used internally, vaginal douching and scented soaps – they disturb your vaginal microbiome, putting you at risk of infection. Our natural response is to think when something smells, we need to wash it, but these efforts have the opposite effect.

    3. Your pH

    Your vaginal pH should be between 3.5 and 4.5 – slightly acidic. At this pH level, your vaginal microbiome should be normal. Anything above that puts you at risk of infections and odour. So, what increases your pH? Menstrual blood and tampons, sperm, scented soaps, hot baths, vaginal douching and hormonal contraception.

    READ MORE: Pop Quiz: Do You Actually Know What’s Going On With Your Vagina?

    4. Leakage of urine/menopause

    After normal childbirth and with increased age, bladder control becomes more difficult. A cough or sneeze can cause leakage, and walking around with soiled underwear can result in unwanted odour down south. If you’re prone to this, try Kegel/pelvic floor exercises, wear a panty liner, or carry extra undies in your bag for emergencies.

    5. Personal hygiene and sweat

    This is a common cause of a musky or fried onion-like smell – but staying hydrated helps. If you’re prone to sweating, you can use feminine wipes (not inside the vagina – only on the outside folds) and change your underwear during the day. Baby powder can also help, but once again: for external use only. Lastly, hairy areas are more prone to sweat, so treat yourself to a Hollywood or laser hair removal.

    READ MORE: Vaginal Infections 101 — What You Need To Know About That Itch

    6. Sexual intercourse

    Semen has a strong ammonia smell and it can also increase your pH, putting you at risk of vaginal infections. It’s important to urinate after sex and wash properly with water after the act.

    7. Your choice of underwear

    First, make sure your underwear is clean. Washing your undies in the machine is often not enough – you need to wash them properly by hand. Tumble drying for 30 minutes also helps to get rid of bacteria. Secondly, throw the old ones out. If your undies are stained or worn with holes, get rid of them. Lastly, fabric is important. Avoid synthetics like nylon and spandex – they’re non-breathable. Rather choose cotton. More