Moms are usually so busy taking care of others that they often forget about their own health. This Mother’s Day, remind the women around you (or yourself) that you want them to live a long and healthy life. It’s never too early or too late to make a change for better health. Here are simple ways to lower the risk of diseases that are common among women.
This disease is the number one killer of American women. Here’s what you can do:
1. If you smoke, get help to quit.
2. Know your lipid numbers and keep them in check. High cholesterol and triglycerides coupled with low HDL increase your risk of a heart attack. A lowfat, near-vegetarian diet is optimal for preventing and reversing atherosclerosis.
3. Keep your blood pressure under control. A low-salt diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and lowfat dairy is your best bet.
4. Exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
5. Include salmon, herring, sardines or tuna in your diet a couple times a week. The omega 3s found in these cold-water, fatty fish are good for your heart.
More women die from diabetes than from breast cancer. Risk of adult-onset diabetes increases for people who are over 45, overweight, sedentary or who have it in their family history. Here’s what you can do:
1. Exercise regularly. It helps with weight loss and blood glucose control, which can help women with type 2 diabetes to decrease or even stop taking medication.
2. Eat a low fat diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains to help control your weight.
3. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Although heart disease is the number one killer, women probably fear breast cancer the most. Family history and longer duration of estrogen production from early onset of menstruation and late menopause are risks you cannot control. Here’s what you can do:
1. Early detection is key. Keep up with monthly self-exams, yearly doctor visits, and mammograms.
2. Eat a low-fat, plant-based diet. Most experts believe that high fat intake is linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
3. Exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
4. Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day, or none.
Calcium intake is critical for building bone density. It’s never too late to care for your bones. Here’s what you can do:
1. If you smoke, get help to quit.
2. Exercise. Weight-bearing activities like walking, running and weight training are important for women of all ages. See your physician first if you’ve been sedentary.
3. Eat a well-balanced diet. Calcium is vital, but so are other nutrients. Vitamin D (you can usually get enough from sunlight) helps get calcium into your bones. Too much salt, caffeine, soda or animal protein causes your body to lose calcium.
By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD
Healthy Gift Ideas for Mom
• Exercise clothes or shoes
• Sessions with personal trainer
• Coupon to be walking buddy
• Herb tea
• Gardening supplies
• Healthy cookbook
• Tennis lessons
• Radio with headphones for walking
• Exercise accessories - water bottle, socks, head band, t-shirt
• Gift certificate for lunch to salad bar or other healthy restaurant
• Home-cooked healthy dinner or certificate
• Cook’s basket with assorted gadgets and salt-free seasonings
• Set of dumb-bell weights
• Exercise book such as Strong Women Stay Young
• An exercise video
• For younger moms offer to babysit so she can get out and exercise regularly
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.