Women have so much on their plates these days, it’s hard to make good health a top priority. Many of us are breadwinners, moms, partners, housekeepers and caregivers. It seems selfish to put our needs ahead of someone else’s. But when we do put our health first, what we’re actually doing is honoring our lives, our relationships, and mind, body and spirit.
As we head into 2018, it’s a good time to focus on the year ahead — a year of good health. Here are 10 healthy tips for women.
Get Enough Vitamins
Women ages 19 to 50 need to eat three to four servings of foods high in calcium per day, or 1,000 milligrams. Many people don’t get enough calcium, which helps prevent osteoporosis, through diet alone. For proper absorption, calcium should be taken with Vitamin D. Sources of calcium include salmon, almonds, and milk.
Caffeine for breakfast is not breakfast. Super women need superfoods! Oats, bananas and wild blueberries are examples of superfoods because they are nutrient dense and cholesterol lowering. You could make oatmeal out of those three ingredients or blend them into a smoothie. You’ll feel sated until lunch time. Other examples of superfoods include avocado, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, walnuts, and red beans.
Women’s ability to burn fat and calories slow down with age (2 percent per decade), resulting in more difficulty losing weight. Studies have shown that strength training for six months can increase resting metabolism, so you’ll burn calories long after you’re done with the workout. Strength training with a professional actually burns slightly more calories than a spin class or running. But just because you’re working out doesn’t mean you can consume whatever you want and overeat at meal times. As people get older, they need fewer calories.
Getting 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise is the number one thing women can do to take care of their hearts, maintain health, and stave off disease. It also can lower excess hormones in the body, which then lowers stress levels and cancer risk.
An annual wellness exam with your gynecologist should cover your sexuality activity, contraceptive use, reproductive health and menstrual pain. Many people don’t know that they have a sexually transmitted infection because often there are no symptoms, which is why it’s so important to get tested even if one has no symptoms.
Women in their 40s should to talk to their doctors and then decide whether they need regular mammograms to screen for breast cancer before the recommended age of 50, according to updated U.S. health guidelines released last year. The guidelines also suggest that women in their 40s should make a decision whether or not to receive mammograms every two years after talking about their individual risk factors with their doctors.
Measures include breast cancer screening, smoking cessation, daily aspirin intake for high-risk heart patients, plus screenings for depression, hypertension and cholesterol.
Hang out with people who make you happy and are good for your mental health. “Happy girls are the prettiest girls,” as the saying goes. Other people’s good habits might rub off on you. If you’re feeling lonely or sad, be around people who make you feel good about yourself and lift you up. Choose partners who treat you well and want to see you succeed.
Not getting enough sleep or constantly hitting the snooze button will wear you down over time. When women are juggling multiple responsibilities, they’re usually late to bed and early to rise. Ask for help from your partner if you have one, or talk to a counselor if you’re super stressed. Too much stress over time can lead to depression, anxiety, infertility issues and heart disease.
Take time for yourself every day to do what you want, whether it’s taking a hot bath or going to a massage or taking a yoga class. Live in the present and enjoy the activity for what it is without worrying about anything else for the time being. You deserve it.
Being a vibrant woman requires an awareness of being a great friend to yourself first. Everything else will fall into place. If you aren’t caring for yourself first, you can’t tend to the other people in your life. Honoring your needs and taking care of your health is the best thing you can do now, next year and for the rest of your life.