Essential Health Tips - Top Health Tips for Women - Ways to Boost Women's Health
Women's Health Tip
Besides laughing, certain foods have been proven to soothe stress and can counteract the damage that chronic pressure does to your bod. Stock up on these eats and beat down stress for good.
Don't Skip Breakfast
Fiber in the morning means less hunger late in the afternoon, when you're most likely to feel tired and gorge yourself on sugar. My morning dose comes from steel-cut oatmeal, usually mixed with raisins, walnuts, and flaxseed oil. An early start on eating also keeps your metabolism more active throughout the day; breakfast eaters are thinner than people who just rush out the door.
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Women's Health Tip
Need a new recipe? Try one of these eight healthy oatmeal mix ins for an instant breakfast upgrade.
Hit the Sack
People are funny, but they're not worth the strain on your system. Seven hours of sleep a night not only helps you live longer, but also lowers your stress, sharpens your memory, and reduces cravings for pants-splitting foods. Set a bedtime and stick to it. My target is 10:30 p.m. I record the late shows and then watch them the next day as I pedal a stationary bike.
Women's Health Tip
Are you sabotaging your sleep? Test your bedtime knowledge with our quiz to see if you're actually getting the z's you need.
Admire Your Work
Don't be so trigger-happy with the flusher. Turn around and take a look at your poop, which speaks volumes about your gut and overall health. Poop should be smooth and S-shaped, like your colon. If it comes out too lumpy, or drops into the bowl like marbles, you're constipated. Increase your fiber and water intake. This happens to me when I travel, so I fiber-load before a trip to avoid getting irritable.
Women's Health Tip
You don't need Metamucil—here are 30 great-tasting ways to add fiber to your diet.
Don't Pamper Your Bad Back
Even if you're hunched over in agony, taking to your bed will only make a bad back worse. The latest research shows that bed rest weakens back muscles and prolongs the suffering. Married men may suffer more than single men because of all the pampering. I used to love milking the care from Lisa, but the best solution is to get up, take a pain reliever, and be a soldier.
Women's Health Tip
Try these safe and simple yoga moves to prevent and relieve back pain.
Taste the Colors
Foods with bright, rich colors are more than just nice to look at. They're also packed with flavonoids and carotenoids, powerful compounds that bind the damaging free radicals in your body, lowering inflammation. (Sadly, skittles do not count.) Eat nine fistfuls of colorful fruits and vegetables each day and you'll reap the benefits without having to give up other foods. Whenever I shop the produce aisle, I'm reminded that these foods are often more powerful than the drugs sold in pharmacies. My favorites are arugula and blueberries.
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Want to experiment with more exotic veggies? If you're tired of the same-old produce picks, switch 'em out for these delish and super-healthy alternatives.
Top 10 Health Tips for Women
Let's face it, ladies: Doctor visits are short. And they're getting shorter. What if your doctor had more time? She might tell you the same things that OB-GYN Alyssa Dweck, MD, co-author of V Is for Vagina, wants you to know.
Consider Dweck's tips your prescription for a lifetime of wellness.
1. Zap your stress.
"The biggest issue I see in most of my patients is that they have too much on their plates and want to juggle it all. Stress can have significant health consequences, from infertility to higher risks of depression, anxiety, and heart disease. Find the stress-reduction method that works for you and stick with it."
2. Stop dieting.
"Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to forgo your favorite glass of wine or a piece of chocolate cake now and then. The key is moderation. Get a mix of lean proteins, healthy fats, smart carbs, and fiber."
3. Don't “OD” on calcium.
"Too much absorbed calcium can increase the risk of kidney stones and may even increase the risk of heart disease. If you're under 50, shoot for 1,000 milligrams per day, while over-50 women should be getting 1,200 milligrams per day mainly through diet -- about three servings of calcium-rich foods such as milk, salmon, and almonds."
4. Do more than cardio.
"Women need a mix of cardio and resistance or weight-bearing exercise at least three to five times a week to help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Exercise also promotes good self-image, which is really important to a woman's mental health."
5. Think about fertility.
"While many women have no problem getting pregnant in their late 30s and even into their early 40s, a woman's fertility may start to decline as early as 32. So if you want to have kids, talk to your doctor about options, like freezing your eggs."
6. Appreciate birth control.
"Birth control gets a bad rap, but not only can it keep you from getting pregnant before you're ready, studies show it can lower the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer as well as regulate your cycle."
Ways to Boost Women's Health
Women's health concerns are a little different from those of men. If you're a woman, these tips will soon have you feeling fit and energetic.
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To look and feel your best at every age, it’s important to make smart lifestyle and health choices. Here are six simple things that women can do every day (or with regularity) to ensure good health:
Health Tip #1: Eat a healthy diet. “You want to eat as close to a natural foods diet as you can,” says Donald Novey, MD, an integrative medicine physician with the Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge, Ill. That means a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods. Eat whole grains and high-fiber foods and choose leaner cuts of meat, fish, and poultry. Include low-fat dairy products in your diet as well — depending on your age, you need between 800 and 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily to help avoid osteoporosis, Dr. Novey says. Avoid foods and beverages that are high in calories, sugar, salt, and fat.
Healthy eating will help you maintain a proper weight for your height, which is important because being overweight can lead to a number of illnesses. Looking for a healthy snack? Try some raw vegetables, such as celery, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, or zucchini with dip made from low-fat yogurt.
If you’re not getting enough vitamins and nutrients in your diet, you might want to take a multivitamin and a calcium supplement to make sure you’re maintaining good health.
Health Tip #2: Exercise. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in America, but plenty of exercise can help keep your heart healthy. You want to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, if not every day. Aerobic exercises (walking, swimming, jogging, bicycling, dancing) are good for women’s health in general and especially for your heart, says Sabrena Merrill, MS, of Lawrence, Kan., a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise.
Health Tip #3: Avoid risky habits. Stay away from cigarettes and people who smoke. Don’t use drugs. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Most women’s health studies show that women can safely consume one drink a day. A drink is considered to be about 12 to 14 grams of alcohol, which is equal to 12 ounces of beer (4.5 percent alcohol); 5 ounces of wine (12.9 percent alcohol); or 1.5 ounces of spirits (hard liquor such as gin or whiskey, 80-proof).
Health Tip #4: Manage stress. No matter what stage of her life — daughter, mother, grandmother — a woman often wears many hats and deals with a lot of pressure and stress. “Take a few minutes every day just to relax and get your perspective back again,” Novey says. “It doesn’t take long, and mental health is important to your physical well-being.” You also can manage stress with exercise, relaxation techniques, or meditation.
Health Tip #5: Sun safely. Excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful rays can cause skin cancer, which can be deadly. To protect against skin cancer, wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 if you are going to be outdoors for more than a few minutes. Even if you wear sunscreen faithfully, you should check regularly for signs of skin cancer. Warning signs include any changes in the size, shape, color, or feel of birthmarks, moles, or freckles, or new, enlarging, pigmented, or red skin areas. If you spot any changes or you find you have sores that are not healing, consult your doctor.
Health Tip #6: Check for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society no longer recommends monthly breast self-exams for women. However, it still suggests them as “an option” for women, starting in their 20s. You should be on the lookout for any changes in your breasts and report any concerns to your doctor. All women 40 and older should get a yearly mammogram as a mammogram is the most effective way of detecting cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable.
A woman’s health needs change as she ages, but the basics of women’s health remain the same. If you follow these six simple healthy living tips, you will improve your quality of life for years to come.