I hope you all enjoyed Mothers’ Day. I spent the weekend watching my daughter skate in a local ice show and I must say there’s no better way to spend the weekend than cheering on your offspring and her friends with fellow parents. It truly was a day of pride, smiles and celebration. Hats off to everyone involved with Northbrook on Ice!
Mother’s Day also kicked off National Women’s Health Week, a week-long observance from May 13-19 designed to promote women’s health. The theme for 2012 is “It’s Your Time.”
National Women’s Health Week reminds us to make our health a top priority by taking the following steps:
Visit your doctor for regular checkups and preventive screenings. Depending on your age, you may need a mammogram, colon cancer screening, bone density test, cholesterol and blood pressure screening and more. Check here to see what tests you need.
Get active. We here in the Midwest have no more excuses to cling to our couch. Spring has arrived and it’s gorgeous out there. Go walk your dog, get on a bike, or go to the health club. Memorial Day’s just around the corner. Need I say more?
Eat healthy. An easy way to start is to cut back on sugar. Sugar’s found not just in a candy bar but in bagels, breads, pastas and almost all processed foods. The average American consumes 150 pounds of sugar a year. As you reduce sugars, you’re going to have more energy and feel less depressed.
A few of my own suggestions to stay healthy:
Get enough vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin is so important for mood, yet many women are deficient. Ask your doctor what your blood level is. Recommendations call for concentrations between 30 and 60 ng/mL of blood. You need at least 50 ng/mL. Your body makes vitamin D from sun exposure (without sunscreen) and food sources like wild salmon, halibut and sardines. Fortified milk and orange juice have vitamin D2, but it’s not absorbed well. Your body needs vitamin D3. It’s hard to get enough through food sources, so find a supplement.
Eat healthy fats. Good fats are the omega-3 fatty acids found in wild salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, flax, hemp seeds and walnuts, and monounsaturated fats like olive oil and avocados. Limit the omega-6 fats such as corn oil, sunflower seed oil and safflower oil commonly found in salad dressings, cookies, crackers and other prepared foods. A good serving is a fistful of raw walnuts, a quarter of an avocado and 4 TBS a day of first pressed extra virgin olive oil.
Know your bone density. If you’re pre-menopausal or post-menopausal, you should have a baseline bone density test. It’s an easy, painless test that helps determine whether you have osteoporosis or are at risk for osteoporosis. There’s a lot we can do to improve our bone health. We can actually reverse the symptoms of low bone mass or osteoporosis.
Use sunscreen. Yes, you need 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure to help your body make vitamin D but after that, it’s time for sunscreen. Not only are you minimizing your risk for skin cancer but you’re protecting your greatest asset, your complexion! If you need color, and that includes me, then try sunless tanning or even better Tan Towels.