Whether you’re in your teens, thirties or in your sixties, there are some healthy habits that each of us should commit to for the sake of our bodies and in order to maintain our health as long as possible. It isn’t about longevity, but rather having a wonderful quality of life, for as long as possible.
In your 30s, women start to experience gradual bone and muscle loss. Fertility starts to wane as you get older and you may even begin entering early perimenopause, which can cause mood swings, sleep disturbances, and/or anxiety. Fibroids (benign uterine tumors) and endometriosis (a condition where the uterine lining migrates to other internal organs) are two conditions that are also more common at this age. Depression and mental health disorders are also likely to surface. Our hormones also change — women experience higher than average sex drives, bladder weakness, and menstrual cycle changes as estrogen and progesterone levels dip. Although we emphasize healthy living year round, this National Women’s Health Week we wanted to hone in on these ten healthy habits we think are most important to get on board with especially before you’re 30:
1. Eat more plant-based foods
Vegetarian diets are much healthier than the average American diet, particularly in preventing, treating or reversing heart disease and reducing the risk of cancer as it limits the intake of chemicals used in raising animals for meat. Vegetarians inherently eat less animal fat and cholesterol and instead consume more fiber and more antioxidant-rich produce, making their intake easier to break down and more pure. Processed foods, sugar, and complex carbs are killing us slowly — vegetarians can live an average of 13 years longer than their counterparts.
2. Brush at least twice a day
The bacteria from the food we eat produce acid throughout the day, leaving a film coating over your teeth. Ideally, you should be brushing after each meal to prevent the acid byproducts from eating into your enamel and causing cavities. Mouth, gum and teeth health is often correlated with heart health as well. Even the most generic bacteria in dental plaque can make its way into the blood stream and travel through the arteries. This is especially dangerous if the plaque results in blood clots, which can cause a heart attack or even a stroke.
Taking time every day to focus yourself, assess where you are in terms of your goals and needs, and focus on your breathing can have beneficial affects on your mental and physical health. Whether you take time to quiet your mind, pray to God, or work on breathing through your nostrils to improve circulation, taking time to focus, and close out the rest of the world and it’s noise, is crucial. Being at peace with yourself is the first step to mental health and mental health is often overlooked, but it is one of the most important elements of your health and life. Be sure to find someone to speak to if you find these issues surfacing.
4. Start writing
Your 30s are a time when reality can truly bite: our youth is officially over and there are more responsibilities than ever for women between work, child rearing, taking care of older parents, and financial concerns. Depression and substance abuse issues during this time such alcoholism or drug abuse may accelerate and certain latent mental disorders such as panic attacks, schizophrenia, or bi–polar disorder can come to the forefront during this time. Writing this out every day can help situations seem less overwhelming, help you develop a strategy for coping with daily circumstances, and organize your priorities. Being able to prioritize is part of adulting — know what is important to you by spending time to think about it and then, plan your days around achieving those goals for a feeling of satisfaction and contentment with yourself. Try taking notes on your cell phone to deal with moments of chaos or clarity.
5. Stop eating late at night
This is a vice for many of us, but if you have a habit of snacking in bed at night or eating dessert, it’s important to know that nighttime is the worst time to be eating! Not only do our metabolisms slow down, but going to sleep ensures we don’t burn any of the ingested energy, causing it to immediately be turned into stored energy, or fat, for “later use”. Plus, if you forget to brush your teeth, you’ve just given your mouth a fresh dose of bacteria to host for another 8-10 hours, almost ensuring an attack on the enamel of your pearly whites. Eating late at night can also cause indigestion, acid reflux, nausea and weight gain, so try to stop eating at least 2 hours before going to bed. If you get into bed after dinner, make sure you sit straight up so that gravity keeps the acid in your system and prevents it from damaging your digestive tract.
6. A workout routine
In your 30s, bone and muscle loss begin. This can slow your metabolism and lead to weight gain, especially if you don’t increase exercise or make dietary changes. Working out with weights is the best way to preserve and build muscle mass; try an aerobics class with 5 pound dumbbells! If that’s too much, try yoga stretches first and floor exercises to build your core muscles.
7. Take a multivitamin
Our changing bodies need different nutrient and minerals as we age; for example, women need extra calcium and vitamin D to prevent against osteoporosis and arthritis. Women in their 30s should aim for at least 15 milligrams of vitamin E each day to reduce the signs of aging and boost immunity. Vitamin C facilitates the absorption of vitamin E, boosts immunity and reduces risk of heart disease. Women nearing pregnancy or childbirth should take folic acid to protect the health of their baby and iron to maintain immunity and vitality.
8. Stop smoking
Not only can smoking cause and increase the likelihood of diseases like throat cancer, mouth cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and heart disease, it also severely impacts and degrades one’s quality of life. Nicotine in cigarettes and the tar or resin from marijuana work together to damage the air sacs in our lungs by sticking to them and limiting their functionality. Researchers estimate that smokers live ten years less than their counterparts; to tack on ten years to your life, quit smoking at least 15 years before you turn 50. If you can’t quit right away, try creating a plan with stepping goals to reduce your intake till you can!
9. Put Your Phone Away
Before bed and always, make time for the people around you and the thoughts in your head. The whole day is filled with information being thrown at us, but how much time do we take to process that input? Make some time for yourself each night; whether its meditation, chatting with your partner, or masturbation, taking a break can lower stress (cortisol) levels in the body making it easier to sleep and have a healthy functioning body.
10. Switch to organic products, including tampons
It’s more important than ever to watch what you put in your body; stay away from chemical, toxins and unregulated materials. Stick to fresh produce from local farms if you can, try buying products with 8 or less ingredients (all of which should be recgonizable), stay away from processed foods, and consider using organic cotton products. If you don’t already, try using Maxim Hygiene’s bleach-free, cotton tampons to ensure no chemicals or dioxins (byproducts of chlorine bleaching) are entering your bloodstream!
To help gear you up for taking on some of these healthy habit tasks and as part of our month-long celebrations around our 10th Anniversary, we partnered with our friends at Fruitful Yield Health Foods on a giveaway sweepstakes packed with female wellness essentials. Enter your chance to win:
- A $25.00 Gift Certificate to Fruitful Yield’s online store
- A year’s supply of Maxim Hygiene Products
- Intimate balms
- Healing creams
- A copy of one of the biggest women’s health movements sweeping the nation
Two lucky winners will win an assortment of the above products with the Grand Prize valued at $240.00 and $325.00. The sweepstakes ends on May 22nd, 2018 at 11:59pm EST. Click here to enter and then take a minute to try one of the above suggested healthy habits tips. Good luck on the giveaway and healthy wishes always!