TIPS TO HEALTHY LIVING
Many factors put you at risk for diseases that seriously threaten women. Heart disease, cancer, strokes and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases can be avoided, treated or managed if you set your mind to it.
Tips for you to live by
Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. If you smoke, your risks of developing heart disease and cancer go way up. If you use birth control, the risk of smoking is even higher. Watch out for second-hand smoke, too. Constant exposure to tobacco smoke at work or at home increases your risks.
Curb the cholesterol.
High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, simply by virtue of being a woman, starting at age 55 your cholesterol is likely to be higher than men''s. Try to maintain a diet low in saturated fat. Eat no more than 300 mg of cholesterol daily.
Watch your weight.
It''s a matter of health, not vanity. Women have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure if they are 20 pounds or more above their recommended weight. What''s more, if you have too much fat, particularly around the waist area, you are at a higher risk for a number of additional health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Avoid overloading on carbohydrates, sweets and fatty foods.
Avoid eating excess saturated fats.
Diets high in fat have been linked to increased risk of various cancers. Studies of populations in countries consuming high-fat diets have consistently shown a higher incidence and mortality rate for breast and colon cancer. Dietary recommendations are to decrease total fat intake to 30 percent of calories. Major sources of fat in the American diet are butter or margarine spreads, cooking oils or butter and salad oils, as well as the fat in meats and whole milk dairy products. If you must use oil, make it olive. The American Heart Association also urges people to avoid trans-fats.
Eat your veggies.
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits has been linked to lower blood cholesterol levels. Some studies also suggest a link between eating particular types of vegetables and reduced cancer risks. Rather than waste time deciding which vegetables to eat to fight a specific disease, focus on eating a variety of fresh produce.
Leafy greens, yellow squash, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, garlic and onions. They''re all good for you. Be adventurous and select a new type of vegetable every time you go to the market. Dietary recommendations call for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
It''s important for your body to relax. You can do so any number of ways. 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.
Exercise: Just do it!
Any form of exercise can help you to lead a healthier and more productive life. Recent studies suggest that even simple changes in your daily routine can lead to lasting health benefits. So if you''re just 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, taking stairs instead of elevators or just playing tag with your kids. What''s important is that whenever a choice presents itself, you opt to keep moving.
Get regular Pap tests.
Pap smears can detect precancerous changes in the cervix at an early stage. Treatment of these conditions can prevent the development of invasive cervical cancer.
Get your blood pressure checked.
Many times, blood pressure checks are offered free of charge at community health fairs and even local supermarkets. Since high blood pressure is frequently unaccompanied by any physical symptoms, you could have it and not know it. The higher your blood pressure, the grr heart disease and stroke. Talk to your doctor about the steps you should take to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
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.