25 Time-Tested Truths ... For Healthy Living

The Best Advice On ... Body Image

1. Make peace with your genes.

Although diet and exercise can help you make the most of your shape, your genetic makeup plays a key role in determining your body size. There's a limit to how much fat you can safely lose. (Aug. 1987)

2. Learn to accept your body. Don't focus on your perceived shortcomings; instead, embrace your best qualities. Love your collarbone? Flaunt it in a scoop-neck top. (March 1994)

3. Stay positive. Physicians, psychotherapists and sex therapists have all found that a poor body image has negative effects on health and may lead to anxiety, depression, eating disorders and decreased sexual function. (Sept. 1981) The Best Advice On ... Keeping Your Heart Healthy

4. Know your fats. Trans fat, which finds its way into foods via a process called hydrogenation, is a major culprit in the development of heart disease. Avoid it (hint: it's listed as "partially hydrogenated oil" on labels). (Jan. 1996)

5. Keep your weight in check. Added pounds mean added health risks -- especially if these pounds fall around your middle. (Jan. 1986)

6. Shake your salt habit. Overdoing it on sodium can lead to high blood pressure in some women, which in turn raises risk of heart disease and stroke. (Feb. 1984) 2006update The recommended daily intake is 1,500 milligrams, but you can get less!The best advice on ... lowering cancer risk

7. Kick the butts. A cigarette is not a cool accessory -- it's the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. (Jan. 1990)2006update Good news for women -- female lung-cancer rates have finally begun to stabilize, after increasing for many years.

8. Get a mammogram. In general, you can't feel a breast lump with your fingers if it's less than 1 centimeter across -- about the size of a large pea. A mammogram detects lumps that are only 1millimeter across -- one-tenth as big. (Feb. 1985)

2006 Update Now, there are digital mammograms. But whether you opt for a digital or a conventional one, what really matters is that you get one annually if you're a woman over the age of 40 and you trust the doc who reads your results.

9. Research your family health history to know if you're more at risk for certain diseases, so you can begin taking preventive lifestyle measures -- like eating a lowfat, high-fiber diet and exercising regularly -- that will help you beat the odds. (March1991) 2006update Breast and colon cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and depression tend to run in families.

10. Check yourself. Watch out for suspicious moles to prevent skin cancer from developing. (Feb. 1995)2006update Alert your dermatologist if you notice any of these "Mole ABCDs": Asymmetry (when one side of a mole doesn't match the other), Borders (irregular, ragged edges), Color (any changes or uneven coloring) and Diameter (a mole that's wider than a pencil eraser). The best advice on ... mental health

11. Manage your stress. Your body takes a beating from chronic stress -- in the form of heart disease, memory loss, gum disease, depression and weakened immunity. To squelch stress, try practicing mindfulness (focusing only on what's going on at the present) 20 minutes a day. (Aug. 2000)

12. Do good to feel good. Research shows that women who volunteer are happier, have more energy and enjoy a greater sense of control over their lives. (June 2002)

13. Go to bed earlier. Chronic sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system, making you prone to illness (most people need a full eight hours per night). Lack of z's also can cause irritability and lower your ability to handle stress. (July 1999) The Best Advice On ... Beating Cold And Flu Season

14. Don't beg your doctor for antibiotics when you have a cold. Antibiotics kill bacteria; since colds are viral, antibiotics do not affect them. (March 1993)

15. Keep germs at bay. Don't let your gym workout land you in bed with the flu. Exercise equipment can harbor bacteria and viruses, so wipe down machines before and after use (most gyms supply spray cleaners), and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before you head home. (Feb. 2003)

16. Avoid the beige diet. A colorful variety of fruits and vegetables ensures you get your fill of powerful disease-fighting antioxidants. (Sept. 1997)

The Best Advice On ... Staying In Shape

17. Lift weights at least twice a week. Research shows that weight training is more effective for building bone strength than exercises like jogging, running or swimming. After menopause, most women experience rapid bone loss, which can lead to osteoporosis. (July 1988)

18. Get moving anytime. The secret to your best body is squeezing exercise in wherever you can. Skip the elevator and take the stairs and do squats while you brush your teeth. (Nov. 2004)

19. Don't skip the gym when you have monthly cramps. Even though all you want to do is curl up with a good movie and a Hershey's bar, exercise can actually lessen these annoying pains and boost your mood. (Feb. 1998) The Best Advice On ... Eating Better

20. Don't tempt yourself. Keep sugary treats and high-fat snacks out of your cupboards (or at least on a high shelf!). If junk food isn't easily accessible, you're less likely to eat it. (April 1982)

21. Stay hydrated. Drinking water balances your electrolytes, the minerals that keep your body functioning properly, regulating nerve impulses and muscle function. It also keeps your skin soft, smooth and hydrated. Plus, what else can you consume that's calorie-free, fat-free and tastes great? (Jan. 2001) 2006update The average woman needs the equivalent of about nine 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

22. Get an iron grip on your health. This mineral, found in red meat, chicken, salmon, beans and whole grains, helps reduce fatigue and irritability and increases resistance to disease. (Sept. 1989)2006update Women need 18milligrams of iron daily.

23. Choose lowfat cheese. Most of the calories in regular cheese come from its fat content (primarily unhealthy saturated fats, which boost heart-disease risk). Lowfat versions have up to 6 fewer grams of fat per ounce; your waistline will thank you. (Jan. 1983) The Best Advice On ... Everyday Healthy Habits

24. Protect your skin. Apply sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 every day -- whether you're on your way to the beach or the office. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and the "healthy tan" is a myth. (June 1992)

25. Pay attention! Turn off your cell phone during your commute. Studies show that dialing and driving raises your risk for accidents. If you must make a call, pull over first. (May 2005)

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