10 Healthy-Living Tips for Women
Here’s how every woman can increase her chance to enjoy long-lasting health and well-being.
Many factors put women at risk for diseases that seriously threaten their health. You may be able to avoid heart disease, cancer, strokes and some respiratory diseases if you stick with a healthy lifestyle.
1. Don’t smoke! Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the U.S. If you smoke, your risks of getting heart disease and cancer rise dramatically. If you use birth control, the risks related to smoking are even higher. Watch out for secondhand smoke, too. Constant exposure to tobacco smoke at work or at home raises your risks.
2. Curb the cholesterol. High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, starting at age 55, a woman’s cholesterol is likely to be higher than a man’s. Try to maintain a diet low in saturated fat. Consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol daily.
3. Watch your weight. Women have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure if they are 20 pounds or more overweight. If you have too much fat, especially around the waist area, you are at a higher risk for a number of additional health problems. These include diabetes, heart disease and stroke. To keep down weight, cut back on carbohydrates, sweets and fatty foods.
4. Avoid saturated fats. Diets high in fat have been linked to increased risk of various cancers. Studies show that too much fat raises your risks for breast and colon cancer. Major sources of fat are butter or margarine spreads, cooking oils, salad dressings, fatty meats and whole-milk dairy products. Avoid trans fats, and cook with olive oil.
5. Eat your veggies. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower your blood cholesterol levels. Some studies also suggest a link between eating certain types of vegetables and reduced cancer risks. Eat a variety of fresh produce. Good choices are leafy greens, yellow squash, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, garlic and onions. Have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
6. Unwind. It’s important for your body to relax. Meditation, deep breathing and even reading can all provide ways for you to take it easy. Better yet, take a pleasant walk and you’ll shed pounds along with stress.
7. Exercise. Any form of exercise can help you lead a healthier and more productive life. If you’re not up to sweating it out at the gym, try parking on the far end of the lot and walking the extra distance to work or to the store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or play tag with your kids. Talk to your doctor before you increase your activity level.
8. Get regular Pap tests. Pap smears can detect precancerous changes in the cervix at an early stage. Early treatment can help prevent cervical cancer.
9. Get your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure usually has no physical symptoms, so you could have it and not know it. The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk for heart disease and stroke. Talk to your doctor about the steps you should take to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
10. Talk with your doctor about breast cancer screening. Ask your doctor when you should begin getting regular mammograms. Early detection is your best defense against breast cancer.