The focus on women’s health is important because more times than most, it isn’t only the wellbeing of the fairer sex that’s at stake. Many turn out to mother children and if their health isn’t at its peak, it can mean health conditions and weakened immune systems for their babies.
The first order of business is a healthy diet. The six basic nutrients we learnt about in school (to recap, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water) make up the core of healthy diets and must be consumed in proportionate quantities. Since we all have different nutritional requirements, a dietician in consultation with a doctor can chart a healthy eating plan to match body needs.
Most foods today are made up of ingredients that aren’t good for health. Items high in cholesterol, sugar, sodium and saturated and unsaturated fats should be eliminated from a diet or at least kept to a minimum. On the other hand, whole grains, fish like salmon which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat milk and milk products and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can do women a world of good.
Food allergies are a relatively common problem which forces people to eliminate certain items from their diet. The same applies to those with lactose intolerance. In such cases, substituting problem foods with those that don’t cause adverse reactions is the only solution.
Exercise and motion are the keys to keeping obesity at bay, improving blood circulation through increased heart rate, keeping joints flexible, muscles toned, enhancing sex life, and boosting good moods.
Working out three or four times a week is recommended and a gym isn’t always required. Short walks of 10 minutes spread out three or four times a day is enough. Engaging in sports, running and jogging are also great ways to work out.
Women who perform a lot of household chores manually are fitter than those who rely on machines. But since most of the population uses equipment, it’s necessary to supplement this with regular exercise.
Certain health conditions are prevalent among women and some can be fatal if left untreated. Regular checkups can prevent them. Following are a few must-do’s for the fairer sex once they hit their 20s.
Complete physical: A complete physical consists of testing cholesterol, blood sugar, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid and kidney/liver function. It should start from the age of 20 followed by three to five year breaks for the rest of their lives.
Pap smear: A Pap smear is a procedure that checks for cervical cancer. Women aged 21 should begin the test followed by the same every two or three years. Once they hit 30, the test should be combined with one to check for HPV, a sexually transmitted disease, and followed by checkups every five years.
Mammogram: Where a Pap smear checks for cervical cancer, a mammogram does so for breast cancer. Women aged 40 and above are encouraged to undergo checkups every two years. If there’s a genetic predisposition to the disease, starting from the age of 30 is recommended.
Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy is a diagnostic tool that checks for colorectal cancer. Women aged 50 and above are more prone to developing the disease. However, getting a colonoscopy every 10 years drastically reduces its lethal outcome.