March 8th is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate the brave, the bold, and the beautiful. It’s a day to honor the strength of women everywhere. Women often put others before them, only remembering they forgot to eat after juggling work, kids, a husband or significant other, and household chores, among the millions of tasks we set out to accomplish in a day.
Here at A&Z, we honor the women in our lives by reminding them—it’s okay to put yourself first. It’s okay to celebrate the wonder that is you! If you don’t take care of yourself and your health, you won’t be able to take care of those around you. So you won’t have to hang up your Superwoman cape, we’ve compiled a list of things to keep you healthy and glorious.
Here’s to the real Superheroes!
See your doctor every year.
We all remember it fondly… that awkward passage into womanhood that included a visit to the gynecologist. Do we love it? No, of course not. But, is it necessary? Absolutely. If you are 21 or older, you should see your gyno at least once a year to get a Pap test done to check for cervical cancer, and if you are over the age of 30, you should be getting an HPV test as well. You should also be reassessed for Sexually Transmitted Diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. It is important not to skip this visit, as your Doctor can monitor any changes that could potentially become live threatening!
Take birth control.
Birth control not only assists in doing its namesake, but studies show it can lower the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer as well as regulate your cycle.
Get an annual mammogram.
Some Doctors recommend yearly mammograms for women over the age of 40. Other Doctors say over 50. Does breast cancer run in your family? If so, starting this testing earlier may help detect breast cancer sooner. It’s better to be cautious!
Consider genetic testing.
Doctors can now screen people with a family history of chronic diseases, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer to assess their risk — and then consider preventive measures. Talk to your doctor about genetic testing. This can ease your mind from worry, or give you the tools necessary to make your health care decisions.
See your dentist.
Yes, pearly whites will make you feel attractive and confident. However, dental hygiene is more than just a pretty smile! Gum disease has been linked to a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes. So, brush `em, floss `em, and get `em to the dentist!
You do not need to deprive yourself in order to be healthy. If you get a mix of healthy fats, fiber, smart carbs, and lean proteins, there is no reason why you can’t indulge every once in a while. You can drink your wine, have your cake, and eat it too! The key is moderation. Studies show that if you deprive yourself, you are more likely to binge later on.
Taste the Rainbow.
Foods with bright, rich colors are more than just nice to look at. They’re also packed with powerful compounds, like flavonoids and carotenoids that lower inflammation by binding the damaging free radicals in your body. Eat nine fistfuls of colorful fruits and vegetables each day and you’ll reap their benefits without having to give up other foods.
Don’t Skip Breakfast.
An early start on eating keeps your metabolism more active throughout the day. If you skip breakfast, you are more likely to feel tired and consume more sugar in the afternoon. In taking fiber in the morning can help to control that midday crash. Try eating oatmeal mixed with some fruit, or a handful of nuts.
Eat Lunch before 3 p.m.
Studies show that women who eat lunch late lose about 25 percent less weight than those who eat earlier in the day.
Drink Green Tea.
Not only does green tea deliver a boost of alertness from its caffeine, it is also packed with heart-boosting and cancer-stopping polyphenols that black tea doesn’t offer.
Not sure what foods to include in your diet? Here are some Go To’s to help boost your metabolism and leave you satisfied!
Avocados are not only considered a healthy fat, but they are loaded with potassium, which can lower blood pressure. Just one half of an avocado gets you more potassium than you’ll get from a medium sized banana—less sugar too!
Spinach: spinach is packed with the mineral magnesium. 7 out of 10 women don’t get enough magnesium, which can cause migraines and make you feel fatigued. Just one cup of spinach provides 40 percent of your daily value, can help prevent the above, and reduces stress levels.
The magic nutrient here is vitamin C. Not only does Vitamin C help boost the immune system, it can help manage stress levels.
Almonds: almonds are bursting with B vitamins and vitamin E, an antioxidant that bolsters the immune system.
Walnuts & pistachios: these nuts have been found to lower blood pressure.
Skim Milk: Milk has been proven to reduce muscle spasms and soothe tension. It can also reduce irritability, anxiety and mood swings—all PMS symptoms, with just a glass a day.
Chocolate: Are we recommending chocolate as a part of a nutritionally balanced diet? Yes, yes we are! Rejoice! A new study has found that eating chocolate daily may lower your risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.
Let’s get Physical.
Exercise has a host of health benefits and can lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and other conditions. Even better, it can improve your mood. One study found that for depressed people, exercise was as effective as antidepressant medication. Exercise also promotes good self-image, which is really important to a woman’s mental health.
Do more than cardio.
Women need a mix of cardio and resistance or weight-bearing exercise at least three to five times a week to help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Breathe away more fat.
Oxygen helps fuel your fat burn, so the more efficiently you breathe, the better your workout results. The trick: breathe in and out through both your mouth and nose.
Get yourself a Mantra.
Whatever you tell yourself to get through a grueling workout, don’t stop. An innovative European study found that motivational self-talk can significantly help reduce the rate of perceived exertion (how loud your muscles are screaming) so you can go further for longer.
Stay true to you.
If you are a morning person, working out in the a.m. is likely best, but if you’re a night person, exercise after work. Don’t try to become one or the other if it’s not natural to you. You’re more likely to stick to it if you like the time of day and the whole experience.
Relax & Unwind.
Stress can have significant health consequences, from depression to anxiety. Even worse, over time, stress can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.
What can you do to stop stressing?
For at least 10 minutes a day, try this exercise to clear your head:
• Find a balanced position sitting cross-legged or on a chair.
• Breathe calmly and naturally. Concentrate on the passage of air through your nostrils.
• When you’re clearly aware of your breath, imagine what makes you most happy.
• Bask in the mindful awareness of your bliss.
15 to 20 minutes of sunlight exposure each day can supply your daily need for vitamin D. Vitamin D may ward off diabetes, heart attacks, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart disease, and maybe even the common cold. But don’t overdo it— too much sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer. Wear sunscreen whenever you are leaving the house to help prevent this!
Get more sleep.
Not getting enough sleep puts you at greater risk of psychological problems and heart disease. At least seven hours of sleep a night not only helps you live longer, but also lowers your stress, sharpens your memory, and reduces cravings for not-so-good-for-you foods (aka sugar!). Set a bedtime and stick to it.
We hope you take the time today, and every day, to honor yourself, all of your amazing accomplishments, and be the healthiest you you can be. Cheers to Women!