Monday, November 29, 2010

How can you stay healthy :Things you need to think about

You can thank Womens health for this post.

Can you hear me now? Plug your ears before you blow out your eardrums
Rocking out at home is one thing, but Spice Girls reunion concerts, lawn mowers, or fireworks can damage your hearing permanently. Properly fitting earplugs can provide a marked reduction in the amount of sound energy you're exposed to. Try Mack's silicone earplugs ($5 for six pairs, ) or have an audiologist custom-make a pair for you. Cranking up the volume to 11 on your headphones can cause damage too, so listen at a reasonable decibel level. Don't make us repeat ourselves.

Watch where you stick that - Don't apply mascara in the car
One of the most common eye injuries: corneal abrasions caused by mascarawands. Youch! 

You snooze, you win!
Studies show that power naps can help you kill stress and recharge; just don't doze for more than a half hour. After 30 minutes, your body enters the deep stages of sleep, and studies show that if you wake up right before deep sleep, you'll feel more refreshed.

Score now, reap later - Sunglasses
Swap your H&M aviators for grown-up shades that block UVA and UVB rays, both of which up your risk of eye damage, including cataracts. We like Ryders Eyewear Sonnet Polarized sunglasses ($70, ), which offer 100 percent UV protection.

Stop...drinking your calories. 
Between 1995 and 2002, the number of calories Americans swigged each day more than doubled--and those from sugary quenchers like soda, fruit drinks, and alcohol quadrupled. That's a whole lot of Jamba Juice, people.

Know Thyself

Know your body composition A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that 25 to 30 percent of young women with a normal BMI (19 to 25) still carry excessive body fat. The easiest way to check your body composition is with bioelectric impedance analysis, available in many gyms and doctors' offices.

Know your family's health history Quiz the hell out of relatives, then download everything you learn to your M.D. Need help coming up with a list of questions? The U.S. Surgeon General's Family Health Portrait ( ) offers easy instructions. 

Know your cancer risk The American Cancer Society's Great American Health Check ( ) asks a few questions about your personal and family health history and then generates a list of recommended screening tests, plus tips on how to reduce your health risks. (We were told to nix the second margarita at happy hour and cut out the Cadburys.)

Know your cholesterol levels A survey by the Society for Women's Health Research revealed that less than a third of American women know their numbers. Get your cholesterol checked every five years, starting at age 20. You're in the clear if your total number is under 200 mg/dL, with an LDL (that's the bad kind) of less than 100 mg/dL and an HDL (that's the good kind) of 50 mg/DL or more.

Know your resting heart rate The lower the number, the less your heart has to work (and that's a good thing). Take your pulse in the morning, when you're most relaxed. Measure the number of beats in 10 seconds, then multiply by six. Your number should be between 60 and 80--even lower if you're athletic.

Know your waist-to-hip ratio The best test for predicting heart attacks may be the proportion of your waist to your hips. Measure your waist at the smallest point, then measure your hips at the widest point. Divide the first number by the second number: an ideal ratio is 0.8 or lower.

Eat These Foods. Every. Single. Day.

Broccoli sprouts 
Turns out broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times the amount of cancer-fighting compounds found in mature broccoli heads.

Canola and olive oil 
Stop sidling up to the bar: Replace the butter and margarine in your stir-fries with vegetable oils. The omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats may help slash cholesterol levels as well as your risk for heart disease.


Become a spice girl: This antioxidant-rich seasoning slows down the rate at which your stomach unloads that enchilada lunch, which prevents blood sugar spikes and crashes. In fact, studies show that a half-teaspoon a day lowers blood sugar and cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.

A six-ounce glass of 100 percent juice (that means no added sugar) every day reduces your risk of stroke by up to 20 percent. Bonus points for gulping the kind with fiber-rich pulp.

Popping a handful daily has been shown to lower heart disease risk by 35 percent.

Green, black, and white are all teeming with antioxidants. However, green tea is uniquely high in a chemical called EGCG, one of the most potent anticancer compounds ever found. Steep any color for at least three minutes and squeeze the bag at the end for an extra antioxidant punch.

Hot cocoa 
You can improve your ticker's health with an eight-ounce cup of hot chocolate as much as you can with a glass of merlot--minus the hangover. Go healthy with 100 percent unsweetened and non-alkalized cocoa powder (like Hershey's Cocoa) and fat-free milk.

Scientists in Finland found that eating five ounces a day offers a healthy-heart triple play by reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease, improving levels of good cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure.

Don't Think Twice About…

Ditching Facebook
Scrabulous games may be fun, but they don't replace face time. In one of many studies linking social ties to better health, an Ohio State University survey found that participants who ID'd themselves as lonely had higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that increases the risk of heart disease. Conversely, having a strong social network improves immune function, protects heart health, and wards off depression and anxiety. You do the math. Cocktails are on us.

Crushing on Seth Rogen
The amount of mood-stabilizing endorphins released from one minute of laughing is the same as the amount released with 10 minutes of strenuous rowing. We'll take Judd Apatow over LifeCore any day.

Calling in "sick" next Friday
One in six American employees are so overloaded they can't even use their annual vacation time. Yet according to a study from the Families and Work Institute, 21 percent of people who are highly overworked experience symptoms of clinical depression.

Jumping his bones
A good romp can torch up to 200 calories (equal to running 15 minutes on a treadmill) and has been linked to everything from fewer colds to reduced PMS symptoms, and even a sharper sense of smell.

Ruining your appetite
Noshing on healthy fats (like pistachios, olives, or peanut butter) about 20 minutes before a meal helps your stomach digest food more slowly, so you'll feel full longer. Foods like these may also help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K.

Sucking into skinny jeans
Wriggling them on once a month can show you exactly how your body's changing--a better indicator than stepping on the scale, since your weight can rise even if you're burning fat and increasing muscle mass.

Stop...asking your doc for an antibiotic every time you sniffle. Overusing antibiotics can lead to drug- resistant bacteria, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call one of the world's biggest health challenges. The drugs also kill your body's good bacteria (like those that protect against yeasty beasties) along with the bad.

But give these a rest, will ya?

Processed and refined carbs 
Eating foods with fewer than three grams of fiber and more than 10 grams of sugar per serving (look at the label) increases your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Hot dogs, bologna, sausage…
Processed meats are fat-and-salt bombs, and they also contain nitrates, which have been linked to several types of cancer.

Artificial sweeteners 
Five hundred times as sweet as sugar and zero calories? Sounds pretty good. But studies show that those of us who use them are more likely to be overweight than not. The reason: The sweet taste tricks your body into thinking it's about to get a rush of caloric energy; when it doesn't arrive, you crave even more food.

"Fortified" junk food 
Don't be fooled by flashy nutritional claims on the front of a package--it's the label on the back you need to study. Never buy products that list sugar (or sucrose, fructose, etc.) among the first three ingredients, and remember that "enriched flour" is just a fancy way of saying "refined white flour." (It needs to be enriched because the refining process destroys most of the nutrients.)

Limit your alcohol intake to one drink a day; two or more can increase your risk for dementia later in life. After you've downed your daily allowance of tequila sunrises, try nipping an unsweetened iced tea instead.


Floss those pearly whites 
Brushing alone can miss up to 30 percent of the surface of your teeth--a lot like taking a shower but washing only 70 percent of your body.

Swish and spit 
Our experts recommend using a mouthwash that's been proven to prevent and reduce gingivitis, which affects half of all U.S. adults.

Wake up and fill up 
Even we are tired of saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." But research shows that morning noshers tend to eat less fat and cholesterol and more fiber throughout the day and have healthier body weights.

Do a shot of SPF
As in, one full ounce slathered over your bod. To guard against both UVA and UVB rays, choose a sunscreen with zinc (or zinc oxide) or titanium (or titanium dioxide).

Strike a pose 
Practicing yoga fights extra poundage by supporting endocrine and thyroid function as well as by lowering cortisol, a stress hormone that promotes weight gain around your middle. Yogis say back bends (try cobra pose) can even boost your energy if you're dragging in the morning. Check out our yoga channel for photos and descriptions of poses.


Brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash Yes, again. On nights when you'd rather just collapse into bed, chew on this: According to an article in the The Journal of the American Dental Association, your mouth harbors 400 to 800 species of bacteria--and they're making a beeline for your tooth enamel.

Turn off the TV and close your laptop an hour before bed. The glowing screens emit a blue light that keeps you up by suppressing melatonin, a hormone that regulates your body clock.

Crank Corinne Bailey Rae, take a warm bath, or slurp a cup of herbal tea: Calming pre-bed rituals like these can help you decompress both mentally and physically. Do them every night and they'll start to cue your brain that it's snooze time, making you nod off faster.

Set your coffeemaker Java is the No. 1 source of cancer-fighting antioxidants in our diets, and studies show that a good brew can help you perform better on tests that measure concentration, memory, and learning and even help protect against ovarian cancer. Limit yourself to two or three cups a day--or decaf--to avoid jitters and late nights staring at the ceiling.

Don't Leave Home Without 'Em... (i make sure to do this if you have a disease or sever allergies carrying these may mean the difference between life and death)

Health insurance card
Get insured now, before a problem shows up that will be considered pre-existing if you shop for coverage later. Learn more about your options online from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality ( or the Foundation for Health Coverage Education (

Personal medical record
After tumbling head-first over your niece's Big Wheel, the list of prescription drugs you're taking won't exactly roll off your tongue--especially if you're, um, unconscious. Line your wallet with a list of your meds (including supplements), allergies or drug sensitivities, the name and number of your primary-care doctor, conditions you're being treated for, and a brief family history of major medical problems.

Happy Blogging don't forget to check out Womens Health Magazine 

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