Her Health

Low­er­ing your risk of se­ri­ous ill­nesses like can­cer and heart dis­ease is eas­ier than ever. Here are sure­fire mind, body and diet tricks to fight dis­ease.

Health & Nutrition - - NEWS -

You can take con­trol of your health destiny. It’s as easy as mak­ing a few sim­ple lifestyle changes. Stud­ies show that eat­ing a diet rich in an­tiox­i­dants, ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly and re­duc­ing stress can sig­nif­i­cantly lower your risk of de­vel­op­ing many ill­nesses. We culled the lat­est re­search for the mind, body and diet moves to guard against the top dis­eases that strike women.

HEART DIS­EASE

MIND: Get over your grudges. A new study sug­gests that peo­ple with for­giv­ing na­tures have lower blood pres­sure than those who are more stub­born. Tip: Put your­self in the other per­son’s shoes. By try­ing to un­der­stand some­one’s be­hav­iour, you’ll be more em­pa­thetic and for­giv­ing. BODY: Pump some iron. A re­cent study found that those who trained with weights for at least 30 min­utes per week re­duced their risk of heart dis­ease by 23% com­pared to those who didn’t. In­sulin re­sis­tance has been linked to a higher risk of heart dis­ease. Strength train­ing in­creases your mus­cle mass, which re­duces your body’s re­sis­tance to in­sulin.

Get over your grudges. A new study sug­gests that peo­ple with for­giv­ing na­tures have lower blood pres­sure than those who are more stub­born.

DIET: Drink or­ange juice. Con­sum­ing at least 360 mg of vi­ta­min C in a day from food or sup­ple­ments ap­pears to re­duce your risk of heart dis­ease by 27%. An­tiox­i­dants from vi­ta­min C may pre­vent LDL, or ‘bad’ choles­terol, from hard­en­ing your ar­ter­ies. One eight-ounce glass of or­ange juice has 72 mg of vi­ta­min C.

COLON CAN­CER

MIND: Re­lax. Chronic stress may lower your body’s can­cer fight­ing abil­i­ties. Stud­ies of peo­ple who were car­ing for fam­ily mem­bers with Alzheimer’s dis­ease showed that they had lower lev­els of im­mune-boost­ing cells, which are among your first de­fenses against can­cer. If these cells are low and you de­velop a tu­mour, you the­o­ret­i­cally may not be able to fight the can­cer. BODY: Sweat hard and of­ten. One study found that vig­or­ous ex­er­cise such as run­ning, cy­cling or swim­ming for four hours a week led to a 40% re­duc­tion in colon can­cer risk; more mod­er­ate ac­tiv­ity didn’t af­fect the risk for the dis­ease. For best re­sults, aim for at least 45 min­utes of car­dio five or more days a week. It helps speed waste through your gas­troin­testi­nal tract, de­creas­ing the amount of time those or­gans come into con­tact with pos­si­ble car­cino­gens. DIET: Eat dairy. A diet rich in cal­cium can re­duce the risk of de­vel­op­ing pre­can­cer­ous polyps by about 24%. Get about 1,200 mg a day. Two good sources: A cup of plain non-fat yo­ghurt (450 mg) and a cup of cal­ci­um­for­ti­fied or­ange juice (350 mg).

BREAST CAN­CER

MIND: Get a good night’s sleep. Re­search sug­gests that women with dis­rupted sleep pat­terns may be more

One study found that vig­or­ous ex­er­cise such as run­ning, cy­cling or swim­ming for four hours a week led to a 40% re­duc­tion in colon can­cer risk.

can­cer-prone. Over time, er­ratic sleep can alter the bal­ance of hor­mones that pro­tect against can­cer-caus­ing mu­ta­tions. Aim for seven to eight hours of shut­eye nightly. Es­tab­lish a re­lax­ing rou­tine like read­ing for half-an­hour be­fore bed to sig­nal your brain that it’s time to sleep. BODY: Walk. A re­cent study found that the risk of the ear­li­est stage of breast can­cer is about 35% lower in women who ex­er­cise one hour a week com­pared with that of those who get lit­tle or no ac­tiv­ity. An­other study, of post­menopausal women, found that those who walked briskly for roughly one to two and a half hours weekly low­ered their risk of breast can­cer by 18%. DIET: Cut back on sugar. New re­search shows that re­fined sug­ars (found mostly in soft drinks, candy and other junk food) up your chances of de­vel­op­ing this dis­ease. These foods spur the pro­duc­tion of in­sulin, which causes your body to re­lease a sub­stance called in­sulin-like growth fac­tor, which in­creases breast can­cer risk.

GYNAECOLOGICAL CAN­CERS

MIND: Med­i­tate. A study found that med­i­ta­tion in­creases lev­els of mela­tonin, a hor­mone that ex­perts think sup­ports the im­mune sys­tem. A strong im­mune sys­tem helps your body get rid of ab­nor­mal cells, in­clud­ing can­cer­ous ones, more ef­fec­tively. BODY: Lose those last 10 pounds. Women who have body

A study found that the risk of the ear­li­est stage of breast can­cer is about 35% lower in women who ex­er­cise one hour a week com­pared with that of those who get lit­tle or no ac­tiv­ity.

mass in­dexes over 25 have twice the risk of de­vel­op­ing cer­vi­cal ade­no­car­ci­noma, which ac­counts for up to 15% of all cer­vi­cal can­cers. This type of can­cer gen­er­ally oc­curs higher up in the cer­vi­cal cav­ity, and it may be more dif­fi­cult for doc­tors to reach those cells dur­ing Pap smears if you’re over­weight. An­other pos­si­bil­ity is that heavy women have higher es­tro­gen lev­els, which may pre­dis­pose nor­mal cells to turn can­cer­ous. Keep your BMI within the healthy range of 18.5 to 24.9. What’s more, an Aus­tralian study found that just two hours of vig­or­ous ex­er­cise a week (such as jog­ging, cy­cling, swim­ming or aer­o­bics) re­duced ovar­ian can­cer risk by more than 50%. DIET: Think Ital­ian. Women who ate at least one cup of tomato sauce weekly had a 40% de­crease in the risk of ovar­ian can­cer. Toma­toes are rich in ly­copene, an an­tiox­i­dant that pro­tects cells from can­cer­caus­ing dam­age. Cooked and pro­cessed tomato prod­ucts like ketchup and stewed toma­toes have the high­est, most con­cen­trated amounts of ly­copene.

ALZHEIMER’S DIS­EASE

MIND: Use it or lose it. One re­cent study found that in­tel­lec­tual ac­tiv­i­ties, such as read­ing books, go­ing to mu­se­ums, even do­ing jig­saw puz­zles, may re­duce by three­fold your risk of de­vel­op­ing Alzheimer’s. If you don’t chal­lenge your brain, it will make you more sus­cep­ti­ble to the dis­ease. BODY: Go for a run. Peo­ple who worked out vig­or­ously (three times a week at a pace more in­tense than brisk walk­ing) were about 60% less likely to get Alzheimer’s than those who didn’t ex­er­cise at all. Reg­u­lar ex­er­cise may pre­vent the hard­en­ing of brain blood ves­sels that’s linked to Alzheimer’s. DIET: Fuel up on fo­late. One Swedish study found that more than half of those di­ag­nosed with Alzheimer’s had low lev­els of vi­ta­min B or fo­late. These vi­ta­min de­fi­cien­cies may cause hard­en­ing of the ar­ter­ies in the brain that leads to Alzheimer’s.

One re­cent study found that in­tel­lec­tual ac­tiv­i­ties, such as read­ing books, go­ing to mu­se­ums, even do­ing jig­saw puz­zles, may re­duce by three­fold your rish of de­vel­op­ing Alzheimer's.

DI­A­BETES

MIND: Prac­tice pro­gres­sive mus­cle re­lax­ation and stress man­age­ment. Di­a­betic pa­tients who in­cor­po­rated these two tech­niques into their daily life sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced their blood sugar lev­els. The change was al­most as large as what you’d ex­pect to see from some drugs used to con­trol blood sugar lev­els. BODY: Walk 12 miles a week. Peo­ple who ex­er­cised for ap­prox­i­mately three hours a week re­ported bet­ter in­sulin sen­si­tiv­ity (mean­ing their bod­ies were more ef­fec­tive at reg­u­lat­ing blood sugar) than those who ex­er­cised for around two hours, re­gard­less of work­out in­ten­sity. DIET: Go low-carb. (No­tice we said low-carb, not no-carb.) New re­search shows that over­weight peo­ple on a low-car­bo­hy­drate diet (con­tain­ing 30 gms, or about 30% of their daily caloric in­take) lost three times more weight than those on a low-fat diet. The low-carb di­eters also im­proved their in­sulin sen­si­tiv­ity. Eat­ing more pro­tein and fat may make you feel fuller, so you’re less likely to con­sume ex­tra calo­ries. It also helps pre­vent the blood sugar fluc­tu­a­tions and spikes in in­sulin that set the stage for di­a­betes.

OS­TEO­PORO­SIS

MIND: Do yoga. Re­search shows it can stem the pro­duc­tion of stress hor­mones like cor­ti­sol, which stim­u­late cells that break down bone. One sim­ple move to try: Sukhasana. Sit cross-legged with your hands on your knees, your spine straight. Al­low your knees to gen­tly lower to help sup­port your back and hips. Take slow, deep breaths for 30 sec­onds to two min­utes. BODY: Jump rope or en­gage in other high-im­pact ex­er­cise. Try jog­ging or do­ing aer­o­bics three or four times a week for 30 to 45 min­utes. These put the most pres­sure on your bones, thus mak­ing them stronger. Or jump up and down for five min­utes. DIET: Get five serv­ings of fruits and veg­eta­bles daily. They’re rich in potas­sium and mag­ne­sium, two min­er­als that help main­tain bone-min­eral den­sity. Also, make sure you get 10 to 35% of your calo­ries from lean pro­tein in the form of low-fat dairy, chicken and fish. Re­searchers found that bone-min­eral den­sity in­creased in peo­ple whose di­ets in­cluded high lev­els of pro­tein as well as cal­cium.

Do yoga. Re­search shows it can stem the pro­duc­tion of stress hor­mones like cor­ti­sol, which stim­u­late cells that break down bone.

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