Healthy Women Start off the New Year Right

Woman outside enjoying the sunDifferences affect the female mind and body from cradle to grave.

Little girls, whether princesses or tomboys, share a future determined by gender. They’ll mature sooner than boys, developing breasts, hips-and a monthly bout of menstruation with accompanying mood swings. They’ll experience other changes when they give birth. And still more changes when menopause hits. Why are women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression, but their life expectancy is several years longer?

Females hormones play a major role in how a woman reacts to the world around her, from what she puts in her mouth to what she sees in the mirror. And how she feels about both.

Inside Information

1. Tobacco: If you don’t use it now, don’t start. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death for women. And women tend to be less successful than men in quitting, partly from fear of gaining weight if they do.

2. Alcohol: Moderation is the key. For young women, that’s no more than 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled liquor daily. For those 65 and over, make it a bit less. Better yet, make it none. Alcohol consumption, especially more than two drinks daily, increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Women are more likely than men to develop alcoholic hepatitis-with less alcohol and less time as well. It gets better still. Women are more likely to suffer from alcohol-induced heart and brain damage than men.

3. Food: The right foods can help prevent hear disease-the number one killer of women. Choose foods low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sugar, and high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

4. Hormone therapy: you stepped into the 21st century smiling with relief that your Y2K fears had proved groundless-only to be knocked for a loop by the Women’s Health Initiative study of the effects of hormone therapy. Within four months of the study’s release, the Food & Drug Administration issued warnings covering all post-menopausal estrogen and progestin products-stating they increase heart attacks, breast cancer, strokes, lung and leg clots, and dementia. Women across the country started donating their prescription pills to the porcelain gods. The WHI study also discovered that hormone therapy failed to improve a woman’s energy, moods, mental agility, or sexual function, except for those suffering from extreme hot flashes.

Outward Appearance

That same science that warns you away from danger is better than ever at enhancing your looks. Dental improvements once limited to the very rich are now within the range of all, from brightening your teeth to magically reshaping your smile. Ceramic veneers cover stains and cracks, contour crooked smiles, and even bridge the gaps between teeth.

You can keep your youthful figure by walking, and at the same time reduce your risk of heart disease. While vigorous activity offers the greatest benefit, even gardening or walking the golf course can make you look and feel on top of your game. And even if breast cancer strikes-thanks to science and 20 years of studies have found that more women survive due to early detection and advances in treatment.

So here’s to all you 21st-century women in 2018-you’re smart, healthy, and looking good!