We all want to live our happiest and healthiest lives, but it is very easy to get overwhelmed with information. New research comes out all the time, and even catching up on what is already out there is a daunting prospect. Slow and steady wins the race: take your time and devote just a little while each day to learning more about your physical and mental health. These tips should help get you started.
Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet
It should come as no surprise that eating well is one of the most important things you can do to get healthier and stay that way. That said, most of us are unaware of how our nutrition needs are different from men’s. Here are some foods that are especially important for women and that you can easily incorporate into your diet:
- Eggs: In addition to containing healthy fats (be sure to get eggs labeled “Omega-3”), eggs also contain Choline and are packed with protein. Choline is especially important because recent studies have shown that it lowers your risk of breast cancer.
- Cruciferous vegetables: Not only is the name hard to pronounce, but it can also be hard to even identify what is and is not cruciferous. One way to recognize them is by looking for cross-shaped leaves (the name cruciferous comes from the Latin word cruciferae meaning “making a cross”). Examples include garden cress, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. They are all high in essential vitamins and help keep skin looking youthful and healthy by preventing free-radical damage.
- If you are premenopausal, be sure to pay attention to your iron intake. One easy way to increase your levels of iron is by eating beef – just try to get lean cuts and limit yourself to one or two servings a week.
Take Good Care of Down There
This does not mean that you need to go crazy with expensive and unnecessary beauty or cleaning products; in fact, our bodies do a good job of that themselves, thank you very much. What it does mean is that you should be sure to get regular tests for STIs and screenings for Cervical Cancer. Hologicwomenshealth.com is a great place to find tests for common cervical, sexual, and vaginal issues; however, always be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
Another thing to pay attention to is underwear. “Make sure you use only 100% cotton underwear (white is best, but if you wear dyed underwear, try to find some that use all-natural dyes). Take a look at EBY’s website for a few examples.” Even if you get white cotton underwear, it is a good idea to wash it before you wear it – factories use all kinds of chemicals, and you certainly want to avoid most of them if possible. Finally, thongs are wrong. Once you think a bit about what the life of a thing would look like, it seems kind of obvious why you should avoid them.
Get Enough Rest and Avoid Stress
Stress and sleep deprivation can lead to ailments ranging from infertility to depression and anxiety. We all wish we could relax and get more sleep, of course, but between our work, our kids, and our mothers-in-law, it is easier said than done. Here are few things to help:
- Sleep habits: Have a sleep routine. Mine is to take a shower, put on pajamas, brush my teeth, and read for about 15 minutes. It does not matter what your routine is, it is just important that you do the same thing every night at the same time. This trains your brain to think, “Hey, it is time to wind down now and sleep.”
- No electronic devices: Almost all of us have been guilty of this at one time or another. Phones are just so tempting, and what could be wrong with falling asleep watching Friends reruns? It turns out that our bodies did not evolve to be blasted with light right before bed, so these devices can do a number on your circadian rhythm.
- Meditate: It is easier than it sounds, and there are innumerable benefits to starting. Look for local groups that can help you get started if you are new to meditation. There are also plenty of apps and YouTube channels if that is more of your thing.
While watching what you eat, taking good care of your reproductive system, and developing skills that will help you sleep better and/or avoid stress will all take you a long way towards living your happiest and healthiest life, there is always more you can do. The key is to start.