Vaginal dryness (the side effects of atrophy) affects many post-menopausal women and also those taking anti-oestrogen breast cancer medication. ‘Tamoxifen caused me problems with vaginal soreness,’ emails one reader. ‘I spent so much money on creams and tablets but nothing worked. After taking it for a month, Sea Buckthorn Cellular Support has made a big difference to my life.’ Sibu Cellular Support Sea Buckthorn Oil, £19.99
TWO BOOKS, ONE FLAT TUM
The biggest concern that women fret about in swimsuit season is how to get a flat(ter) tummy. So I asked clinical nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, whose clients include actress Drew Barrymore and Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie, and yoga instructor Victoria Woodhall for their advice.
1. THE BEAUTY DETOX SOLUTION
Kimberly has written The Beauty Detox Solution (Harlequin UK, £12.99*), which I couldn’t put down. As well as banishing tummy bloat, she promises her programme will streamline your body, leave skin glowing, help you grow lustrous hair and strong nails – and you need never count calories again. By following her advice below, you will see a difference pretty quickly.
Eat lots of raw vegetables. They are high in nutrients, vitamins and enzymes. Make a big mixed salad for lunch and start dinner with a green salad.
Try Kim’s Glowing Green Smoothie for breakfast. Blend two cups of water, one head of lettuce and a small bunch of spinach until smooth. Add three to four celery stalks, one apple, one pear, one banana and the juice of half a lemon.
Eat animal protein, including dairy, once a day. More is too acid-forming: your body should be slightly alkaline. Get protein from foods such as seeds, nuts, quinoa, millet and lentils.
Avoid or eat less cheese. It is difficult to digest so it can lead to weight gain.
Eat fruit only on an empty stomach and never for pudding. If you eat it after a meal it takes longer to digest – the fruit starts to ferment, leading to bloat.
Watch the salt. Too much sodium can cause bloating. Add small amounts of good sea salt directly to food; avoid processed foods. Drink unsweetened cranberry concentrate with fresh water to help flush excessive fluids and salts.
Don’t drink and eat. It dilutes gastric juices and digestive enzymes, and so impedes the digestive process. Just sip a little liquid when eating and chew each mouthful thoroughly.
Avoid fizzy drinks. The air bubbles release carbon dioxide in the digestive tract, creating bloating. NB excessive caffeine can also cause bloat.
Get to love raw apple cider vinegar. it acts as a prebiotic to feed the growth of bacteria in your gut that help with digestion. sip one tablespoonful diluted in a cup of warm water 20 minutes before meals; it’s great in salad dressings too.
2. EVERYONE TRY YOGA
The second book, Everyone Try Yoga – which comes with a yoga DVD to help you achieve your bikini body – is by my colleague Victoria Woodhall, also a yoga instructor. She promises measurable results in two to four weeks when you follow the 20-minute dynamic sequence on the DVD. ‘Poses such as push up, warrior, forearm plank and side plank tone the arms, legs, tummy and side waist respectively,’ she explains. ‘And for an immediate tummy fix, read the section on mountain pose in the book. Simply changing the way you stand can pull in the belly and make you look taller and leaner. And when you walk taller and more gracefully, you exude body confidence, which is just what you need on the beach.’ Everyone Try Yoga by Victoria Woodhall, with Jonathan Sattin and Triyoga (Kyle Books, £18.99*)