As we age, our risks for certain health problems increase. For this reason, men and women over forty should make sure their cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar are all within healthy margins because they’re the first to show if something’s not right (for example, high blood pressure puts you at higher risk for heart disease).
But for women especially, it’s important to stay on top of the “health game” – breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease remain the most common concerns for women over 40, so it’s crucial to avoid certain health risks that can increase the risk of these and other diseases.
Here are top 3 health risks you want to avoid.
1. Being overweight
There is no way going around this one – study after study has shown that overweight people are at a higher risk for all diseases, as well as an increased risk for mortality. To lower your risk for all kinds of diseases, including cancer, maintain a healthy body weight by eating healthily and exercising regularly. That means avoiding overly processed foods, trans-fats, added sugars and instead focusing on whole foods: lots of veggies and fruits, whole grains, healthy fats such as olive oil and organic full-fat dairy, fish for protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
2. Leading a sedentary lifestyle
Just like being overweight increases your risks for all diseases, so does sitting and sleeping all day long. Studies have shown that leading a sedentary lifestyle increases people’s risks for all diseases, including cancer. This is especially true for women as research shows they’re less likely than men to get their 30-minutes daily exercise. Join a gym, jog, dance, bike, hike or do whatever makes you want to exercise more because being physically active every day reduces your chances of developing cancer, anxiety and depression, osteoporosis and diabetes.
3. Smoking and drinking
By now, everyone knows that smoking causes cancer – but did you know that it also increases anxiety, causes collagen breakdown (wrinkles) and makes your teeth brittle and yellow? That’s right, nobody – absolutely nobody – needs smoking in their life. Women who are using birth-control pills are especially at risk if smoking – smoking just one cigarette per day puts you in greater danger of developing blood clots, as well as getting a stroke and heart attack. Therefore, if you want to avoid one thing for your health, let it be smoking.
Drinking is no better either – studies show that women who drink alcohol regularly are at a greater risk for developing breast cancer and heart disease. The good news is that red wine is more than ok – having one glass (but no more!) of red wine daily can actually decrease your risk of developing various diseases.