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Healthy Living Tips

Many women have the tendency to always be there for their friends and family. Unfortunately, they watch out for the health needs of everyone else only to the neglect their own good habits. To ensure you will be able to take care of others while living a long, happy and healthy life, here are some easy suggestions just for you!

Get Regular Breast Exams

Women between the ages of 20 and 39 should have their breasts examined by a doctor every three years, then each year after starting at 40. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms for women age 40 and over.

Quit Smoking

This is the number one way to improve your health. The ACS estimates that more than 65,000 women will die from lung cancer this year; about 90 percent of those cases are smoking related. That's not to mention all the additional ills smoking contributes to including other cancers, heart disease, and stroke.

Have Protected Sex

Women are biologically more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than men. Condoms, which are 98 percent effective in preventing AIDS and many other STDs when they are used consistently and correctly, are your best defense.

Wear A Bicycle Helmet

Stop fussing over helmet hair, and worry about this: in 1997, 813 bicyclists were killed in collisions with motor vehicles. Ninety-seven percent of the victims were not wearing helmets. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that if every rider wore a helmet, 500 bicycle-related fatalities and 151,000 head injuries would be prevented each year.

Screen Out The Sun

Melanoma, the deadliest of skin cancers, is on the rise, increasing at a rate of 3 percent each year. The ACS predicts 53,600 new cases this year alone. Limiting your time in the sun is your best defense against skin cancer (both melanoma and nonmelanoma, which together are the most common kinds of cancer). But when you do get exposure, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15-all year round.

Get Regular Pap Smears

Cervical cancer is rarely deadly, but that's only because it's usually caught early: The advent of the Pap smear marked a 70 to 80 percent decline in deaths caused by the disease. Most of the invasive, lethal forms of cervical cancer occur in women who haven't had regular Paps, so make certain that you get one as often as your doctor recommends.

Eating Right for Menopause

Making wise food choices can actually lessen the negative aspects of this unavoidable change in your body.

With the right diet you can: relieve common menopausal discomforts, keep off excess body fat, maximize absorption of vital nutrients, maintain bowel regularity, preserve as much bone mass as possible, and postpone or lessen the natural effects of aging.

The foods that can help include those with phytoestrogens: soy, flaxseed, apples, carrots, oats, potatoes, lentils, beans, garlic, citrus and sunflower seeds are some good examples.

Phytoestrogens also have antioxidant properties, which help prevent free-radical damage to cells and abnormal cell growth. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbage help prevent breast cancer.

Soy and flaxseed have been shown to favorably influence hot flashes, bone denisty, the cardiovascular system and prevent female cancers. Avoid excessive soy product consumption. Keep it in moderation, as excessive intake of isoflavones has not been studied.

Calcium-rich foods are another crucial ingredient in the daily diet of the menopausal woman. Yogurt, cheese and broccoli are primary sources of calcium, but woman not on HRT may need a supplement also.

You must remember, though, that for hormonal balance it is just as important to reduce certain foods such as hydrogenated fats, refined flours, sugar, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption. Eating organic foods as much as possible to avoid external sources of hormones and chemicals that mimic hormones.

Some good advise includes increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels by eating more olive and canola oil (monounsaturated fats) instead of saturated fats such as margarine, shortening and lard.

Exercise is extremely important as women reach mid-life. We all know its important for strong bones, but it also helps with mood, energy, metabolism, cardiovascular health and dysglycemia. Not to mention body composition!

Stress reduction techniques and exercise are also very important because stress is very disruptive to the endocrine system. Seventy percent of the female population is over weight coming into menopause. Menopause is much harder if you don't lose the excessive weight first.

Whether or not you are on HRT, the importance of individualized care cannot be emphasized enough. It is not a "one size fits all" situation, so it may take you a while to find what type of lifestyle that helps you move into this phase of life with confidence. Seek a knowledgeable health caregiver and stay up-to-date on the latest research. You'll never regret taking responsibility for your own body.

Recommended herbs:

Menopause Balancing Herbs
Soy Isoflavones
Black Cohosh
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