We know your life is busy. Between getting ahead at work and raising our families, almost no one has time for “me-time” anymore. But there’s one place where you need to make that time: your health.
When it comes to women’s health, prevention is key. Lifestyle choices that we make now will make a huge difference on your health later in life. At Health First Family Medicine, your choice for Hillsboro family medicine, we have compiled a list of four lifestyle choices women can make for their best health.
#1 Never smoke, or quit
Smoking is a staggeringly huge health risk— the biggest in the nation. While lung cancer is commonly touted as smoking’s biggest adverse health effect, in reality, using tobacco harms many body systems. Smoking can cause cardiovascular disease, emphysema type ll diabetes, and cancer. The damage from smoking affects your eyesight and hearing, your oral health– and even the neurons in your brain. It can increase the risk of dementia and memory loss.
Women are especially at risk when it comes to smoking. Studies continue to find that women’s bodies are more vulnerable to the damages done by cigarettes. Smoking lowers estrogen levels (leading to thinning hair and difficulty conceiving a child), high blood pressure, and can lead to early menopause. Fortunately, there are many resources to help people quit smoking for good. Ask us about resources at your next visit to our clinic.
#2 Eat healthy
It can be really hard to eat a balanced diet when you’re already working to balance work, family, and time for yourself! Even so, the cold, hard truth is that your food is one of your primary preventative medicines. Providing your body with vitamins, minerals, good fats and healthy carboyhdrates are all critical to keeping your immune system strong and your body healthy.
So how can the busy women of our world eat healthy? We’ve come up with a few strategies:
- Buy pre-washed salad greens for a healthy salad at lunch and dinner.
- Buy “whole grain” pasta, and eat it with fish instead of beef.
- Keep lots of healthy food on hand– apples and bananas, or smoked salmon for snacks. The easier it is to reach for when you’re hungry, the more likely you are to eat it.
- Avoid adding salt to your food. A lot of us do this without even thinking about it, and many of us ingest too much salt for our health.
#3 Get regular exercise
Exercise doesn’t just make you look good, it can help with depression, anxiety, blood pressure, and even boost your immune system! 20 minutes of moderate exercise (like walking) once a day can make a bigger difference in your overall health than you think.
And there are approachable ways to do this:
- Take the stairs at work
- Walk your dog in the morning, just once around the block
- Start taking a yoga class once a week
- Instead of getting coffee with a friend, go for a walk
- Take your kids to the park and run around with them
Exercise doesn’t mean you have to strap on those Nikes and start training for a marathon– it can be part of daily life!
#4 Moderate alcohol
Maybe you like to have a glass of wine at the end of the day, and that’s fine, but watching your alcohol intake is very important– especially for women. Women’s bodies are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, and alcohol can really take a toll– from causing memory problems, difficulty getting pregnant, and weight gain.
Alcohol can also be used unintentionally to “self-medicate” if times are stressful, but because alcohol is a depressant, the opposite effect takes place: further stress and lower spirits.
Experts recommend that women limit their alcohol use to 14 units a week at maximum, and that at least two nights a week should include no alcohol at all. For the average woman, we recommend one to two glasses of wine with dinner about 3 to 4 times a week and abstaining in between. Red wine does have its health benefits, but so does moderation!
Partners in your health
At your Hillsboro family medicine clinic, we see it as our job to partner with our patients in making their lives healthy. We use patient education and build relationships so that we know you, we understand where you’re coming from, and we’re here to help in creating a healthy life.
Great preventative care is our passion. Call today to schedule your next appointment!