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7 Things you didn’t know about your health

Kristina Marquez, BSN, MPH has been in the fitness and medical field for over 12 years and is an outdoor and endurance enthusiast residing in Buffalo, New York.

New facts on womens health

As you’re looking for the perfect holiday gifts for your loved ones, don’t forget to put Y-O-U on the list and get this book! Our Bodies, Ourselves is the book on women’s health which, in its 40th anniversary edition, delivers cutting-edge information on all things we wonder about our physical and mental health. Here are the top seven women’s health facts you should know heading into the New Year.

Woman visiting with nurse

1Your cosmetics may be toxic

According to Our Bodies, Ourselves (OBOS) body image experts, "nearly all of our personal care products are made with at least one, usually several, ingredients never tested for safety." Harmful preservatives, chemicals and carcinogens are in cosmetics, fragrances and personal care products. Fragrances contain chemicals linked to hormonal imbalances, infertility and disruption of brain function. Visit EWG.org to check out your favorite beauty products and see how they rate.

2Dieting doesn't work

OBOS nutrition experts reinforce that "dieting is notoriously unsuccessful at producing substantial long-term weight loss" and most dieters will regain the weight, plus more. Take control of your body and make real changes. Get away from conveniently packed foods and snacks. The new you starts with the new guide to eating well:       

  • Eat whole foods and limit processed foods. Processed foods have more salt and less potassium, which can lead to high blood pressure, swelling in your hands and feet, kidney disease and low energy.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies. We keep saying it, and the new food guide pyramid shows it! Fruits and vegetables neutralize toxins in the body and help digest the other foods you eat. You should buy organic if you eat these regularly: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, bell peppers and spinach.
  • Eat food that makes you feel your best. Eat a type of diet that makes you feel your best. Keep a food journal and note when you feel tired, bloated or irritable, and limit those foods that seem to be triggers. Take note of when you feel your best and eat more of those foods.
  • Eat local produce. Decrease your grocery bill each month by buying local from farmers markets or stores that carry locally grown food.

3Natural remedies can ease PMS

Try natural remedies to kick PMS to the curb and limit the medications you take for that time of the month. Omega-3 fatty acids, acupressure and ginger supplements can decrease cramps by natural pain-killing properties and increasing blood flow.

4Factors for a healthy relationship

Expectations of a healthy relationship have changed in the last 40 years. The largest study on singles reported by OBOS states "72 percent of single men and women are happy to live with someone and not marry." Women want a relationship of equal responsibilities and expectations, where each partner keeps her/his own identity yet helps the other partner grow. Women need three things to be happy in a relationship: personal space, their own hobbies and interests, and regular time out with friends.

5How to "ohhhh" for the Big O

Yes! That feeling of ecstasy — orgasm — that you might have thought you missed may have been there all along. The big O has a new definition. OBOS states that an orgasm can be "a subtle feeling of warmth, loss of emotional awareness or exclusively physical." Not in the mood? The only tried and proven solution—exercise! OBOS reports that "exercise is the only factor consistently linked to sexual desire and satisfaction."

6You can lower your cancer risk

Breast and cervical cancers are two of the leading cancers that affect women. Women and girls ages 9 to 26 can get the Gardasil vaccination to "protect against human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes 70 percent of cervical cancers," according to OBOS experts. Breast cancer risks can be lowered by choosing hormone replacement only during perimenopause; breastfeeding infants longer; exercising more than three hours a week; and using only ceramic or glass to heat food in the microwave.

7New health care rights that affect women

Updated health care regulations that may affect you are:

  • Free preventive screenings with no copays or deductibles
  • Guaranteed time to pump at work for breastfeeding moms
  • New limits and cost for abortions
  • Birth control, but it may be not covered in some plans until 2012

Watch: Lips against lead

A video campaign to ban lead from lipstick.

More health tips for women

Health care: 5 Tips for saving money
How to get more out of your health care
5 Common women's health problems

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