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10 health commandments for women

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Sometimes it's so difficult to know what to do for the best when it comes to your health, so we've put together the top 10 most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy - our 10 health commandments.

1. Don't yo-yo diet

Many of us want to lose a few pounds, especially after having kids, but constant dieting and swapping from one food fad to the next can do more harm than good.

This sort of yo-yo dieting interferes with your metabolism, changes your mood and hormones, and for some women can lead to eating disorders.

What's more yo-yo dieting is not the way to lose weight and keep it off for good.

The healthiest way to lose weight and stay slim is to follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
Check out our diet club for a healthy way to lose weight for the long term.

2. Know your vital stats

Did you know that there are essential numbers, unique to your body that can help you stay healthy?
  • Your blood pressure numbers
  • Cholesterol reading
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • The length of your menstrual cycle
  • Even your age can indicate potential health problems and will change depending on what you do to look after yourself.

So knowing these stats will help you assess your health and make changes to improve it.

3. Deal with stress

Life is stressful and no-one, no matter how rich, successful or healthy can completely avoid stress. But there are ways to deal with it so it doesn't make you ill.

The first step is to find out what's causing the stress:
  • Are you just too busy?
  • Perhaps you're worried about money?
  • Is there a health problem that is playing on your mind?
  • Are you setting impossible goals for yourself?

It might be that the source of stress is less obvious, and you naturally worry about everything, so you feel constantly stressed but can't pinpoint why.

Take some time out - even just 10 minutes - to sit down on your own and write a list of the things that you worry about. Then write a list of the practical things you can do to help you feel less stressed - it could just be sharing your worries with your partner or a friend.

Try to spend half an hour each day on doing something that you really enjoy. Watch something that makes you laugh, surf the Internet or even just have a nap.

4. Get your 5-a-day

Everyone goes on about eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and for many of us that seems a bit excessive. However, if you want to stay healthy and slim then getting your five-a-day is really important.

Did you know?
  • Eating five-a-day could prevent heart disease
  • Vegetables can ward off some cancers
  • Fresh fruit and veg contain vitamins and minerals that help every function of the body
  • Antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables can slow down the ageing process

5. Have more sex - yes, really!

There are lots of health reasons to have sex, not just because it's fun.

6. Drink booze and eat chocolate!

There's no doubt that drinking too much alcohol is harmful, and there are reports that show many of us are still drinking too much, but there are health benefits in a glass of red wine that you can't ignore.

Scientists have found that red wine may stop the growth of some cancers, help lower cholesterol, be helpful in treating Alzheimer's, disease and Parkinson's, disease.

Dark chocolate is also good for you. It's been found to encourage blood flow to the heart. It also helps improve concentration, and slow down the ageing process because it's full of antioxidants that mop up free-radicals (fre-radicals speed up the ageing process).

Chocolate can also lower your blood pressure. And in one study people who ate dark chocolate every day had lower levels of bad cholesterol. So tuck in!

7. Get regular cervical smear tests

The tragic death of Jade Goody highlighted just how important it is to have regular smear tests.

The reality TV star died from cervical cancer, which spread to her liver, bowel and groin. Jade ignored a letter reminding her to go for a smear test, but if she'd had the test her life could have been saved.

A smear test also gives the gynaecologist a chance to look for any abnormalities of the vagina.

- Facts about cervical cancer
- How Jade Goody saved my life

8. Drink more tea

Scientists have found that natural chemicals in tea can widen your arteries, helping to prevent heart disease and strokes.

Tea can also strengthen your teeth and it contains antioxidants that can help fight the effects of ageing

9. Enjoy the sunshine

Going out in the sun without SPF cream is very risky but a little bit of sunshine does you good.

Not only does the sun lift our mood it also helps the body produce Vitamin D, which is essential for our bones, teeth and can slow down the ageing process. Without vitamin D our bones and teeth can suffer.

Getting some sunshine is also one of the natural ways to boost your mood and fight off depression.

10. Check your breasts

If caught early enough the chances of surviving breast cancer are very good. But you need to check your breasts regularly for lumps and any unusual changes.

Watch our video with Dr Chris to find out how to check your breasts and what's unusual and what's not.
- Get the facts on breast cancer

Continued below...


More help and advice

- What your medicine cabinet should look like

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