Modern Safety Tips For Young Women

by Caryn Murray

Safety tips for women are usually passed on from one mother to the next, which means they might become somewhat out of date. However, these modern safety tips are for this generation of young women.

Health & Safety Tips for Women

Eat a healthy diet. “You are what you eat” is as simple as you can eat healthy and be healthy, or eat unhealthy and be unhealthy. (That might clear up the visual image of turning into a giant carrot.)
Women Walking

Exercise daily. This doesn’t have to be as unpleasant as it sounds. Going for a walk is better than sitting on the couch and watching TV after dinner. If you’re not doing this already, try it for a week and see how much better you will feel! Other fun ways to exercise include dancing, riding a bike or rollerblading, and swimming.

Woman Drinking Water

Drink plenty of water. Seriously, water really does help. You’re more hydrated, focused, and have more energy. Soda does not quench your thirst. The average person is supposed to consume 64 oz. of water every day. That’s not as much as it sounds because it is eight 8 oz. glasses, or less than 4 regular sized cups. Even if you only drink 2 bottles of water a day, you will notice a difference in how you feel.

Washed Clothes

Wash new clothes before you wear them. This is a random tidbit of safety advice that can prevent an unwanted reaction.

Sexual Safety Tips for Women

  1. The biggest mistake a young woman makes sexually is to depend on condoms to prevent pregnancy. (Or worse, to skip out on condoms when they are not available.) It is of utmost importance to do everything within your power to avoid an unplanned pregnancy, and that means taking birth control and other steps until you are in a stable relationship and have decided you are ready to take on the responsibility of children.
  2. Rape is something that is a more common threat to women then it is to men. Modern young women should be prepared by knowing and understanding the realities of the situation. A woman should know never to let her drink out of her sight (or accept an opened drink from a stranger) and to be prepared with basic self defense tips for women. Rape is more common with somebody the victim knows than a complete stranger, and sexual safety means understanding and preventing potential threats to your own sexual health.

Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy Eating PyramidIn our media-centered society, it can be nearly impossible to keep up with the latest nutrition news and sort out the real advances in nutrition from the fad diets. And with so many of us leading very busy lifestyles, it can be even more difficult to eat healthy on the run.  This article will offer some basic tips that will help you develop and maintain a healthy diet and not get caught up in the latest fad diets.

To begin your healthy diet plan make sure you include all of the major food groups: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat and lean protein, and healthy fats.

Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that protect us from diseases and infections including stroke, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.  Fruits and vegetables also contain fiber to aid our digestive system and help us to feel full longer.

To maximize the vitamins and minerals from produce, try to eat five servings per day and eat a variety of colors throughout your day and week.  Some examples of nutrient-rich fruits include dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, apples, oranges, and bananas.  To avoid getting bored with your fruits and vegetables, try as many new ones as possible and eat in season for maximum flavor.

Whole grains: Whole grains are important because they give us energy in the form of carbohydrates.  They also contain dietary fiber that can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.  The fiber in whole grains also provides sustained energy and helps us to feel fuller longer.

Whole grains also contain B vitamins, folate, iron, magnesium, and selenium that support healthy metabolic, circulatory immune systems.  Most adult women need about 6 servings of whole grains per day, although requirements vary with activity level.

Avoid eating refined grains—i.e. foods made with enriched or white flour—as much as possible as refined grains do not supply the fiber and minerals that whole grains do and often contain high amounts of sugar.  To eat more whole grains, try whole wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, bulgur wheat, barley, quinoa, and oatmeal.

Protein: Proteins support healthy bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Proteins provide our bodies with important vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, iron, and magnesium; they also support hormone and enzyme production and support the metabolic, immune, and circulatory systems.

Most Americans get their protein from meat and dairy products.  If you eat meat and dairy products, be sure to choose low-fat dairy products such as skim milk and lean meats such as chicken and turkey over beef.  This reduces saturated fat intake, which lowers bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease.  In addition to meat and dairy, however, fish, nuts, seeds, and legumes such as tofu and beans can serve as excellent sources of protein and are naturally low in cholesterol and saturated fat.

Healthy fats: Fats provide energy and are vital for building and maintaining cell membranes and producing important hormones.  They slow down the body’s absorption of nutrients so that we can go longer without feeling hungry.  They are also carriers for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Try to reduce your saturated fat intake and increase your intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats by eating less animal fats—butter, cream, and fatty meats—and eating more olive oil, non-hydrogenated (expeller pressed) vegetable oil spreads such as Earth Balance, sesame oil, and natural nut butters.  Other healthy fat sources include avocados, almonds, and flaxseeds.

Here are a few more tips to establishing and maintaining a healthy diet.

Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is important for maintaining energy levels, body function, and a healthy body weight.

Limit your alcohol intake. Most women should drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per day.  Although a single glass of red wine provides some cardiovascular and metabolic health benefits, most other alcohols such as beer and liquor are detrimental to our health and contain “empty” calories.

Limit your intake of sugars, particularly refined sugars such as high fructose corn syrup. Sugar is highly caloric and does not contain much nutritional value.  It can contribute to tooth decay and high cholesterol and causes a sharp spike in energy levels in contrast to the prolonged energy levels we can obtain by consuming whole grains.

If you are trying to lose weight, don’t starve yourself. When you restrict calories suddenly, your body goes into “starvation” mode and will halt your metabolism, making it very difficult to lose weight.  Instead, eat several small meals per day to keep your metabolism functioning at maximum speed.

At each meal, try to include a complex carbohydrate—a fruit, vegetable, or whole grain—and a low-fat protein. This will provide your body with the most energy while consuming calories sensibly.

Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast supports a healthy body weight, sustained energy levels throughout the day, and an active mind.

There are lots of great resources for eating healthfully.  Here are a few helpful links:

Health Magazine

Cooking Light

Holiday Health Tips

Staying healthy during the holiday season is one priority that often gets pushed to the back burner. But being sick on the holidays is certainly a bummer. Stay healthy this holiday season with these tips from Safety Girl.

  1. Wash your hands frequently. Washing your hands is one of the best ways to stay healthy because so many germs are spread through touch. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, rinse your hands, and dry them with a clean paper towel. Carry antibacterial hand sanitizer in your purse and in your car for the times when you can’t access a sink. Make sure your children wash their hands frequently, too.
  2. Dress for cold weather. Staying warm when the weather is cold will prevent your immune system from being compromised and will help prevent illness. If you’re going to be exposed to the cold weather, dress in layers of lightweight, warm clothing, such as long underwear and fleece clothing. Don’t forget appropriate footwear, such as snow boots, a warm coat, hat, gloves and a scarf. If you have children, make sure to send them to school with warm clothing if they will be waiting outside for the bus and/or playing outside at recess.
  3. Drink responsibly. If you’re going to a holiday party, make sure that you have appointed a designated driver. If you go to a party alone, choose not to drink, or make arrangements to take a taxi home if you do. If you’re hosting a party, collect your guests’ keys when they arrive and don’t let anyone drive home after drinking.
  4. Don’t forget about food safety. Make sure to keep raw meats separate from all other foods and be sure to cook all food thoroughly. When serving food, always have plenty of serving utensils and don’t leave any foods out for more than two or three hours. Be sure to clean up immediately after a holiday party to prevent germs from developing.

National Women’s Health Week

Women all over the country are celebrating National Women’s Health Week, May 13-19, 2012. This weeklong observance begins every year on Mother’s Day (the second Sunday in May), and is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health with the goal of uniting communities, businesses, government, and health organizations in an effort to promote better women’s health.

“It’s Your Time” is the theme for this year’s National Women’s Health Week, and this year’s events place special emphasis on encouraging women to take the time to lower their risk of developing lifestyle related diseases by improving physical and mental wellness. This year, the Office of Women’s Health is placing special emphasis on the following five health tips:

  1. Get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes of intense physical activity, or a combination of these two activity levels every week
  2. Eat a nutritious diet
  3. Visit a doctor to receive regular checkups and preventative tests
  4. Avoid unhealthy behaviors (including smoking, drinking, and even driving without a seatbelt)
  5. Maintain good mental health (including managing stress effectively and getting enough rest every night)

Women’s health events vary by state, city, and community, but include races, fitness classes, fun runs and walks, health fairs, luncheons, classes, and lectures. On the national level, women are encouraged to take the National Woman Challenge and the National Woman’s Checkup Day Pledge. In conjunction with President Obama’s fitness challenges, the National Women’s Health Week Woman Challenge encourages women to commit to almost daily routine physical activity for six weeks. The National Women’s Checkup Day Pledge, motivates women to schedule regular check ups and preventative screenings and schedule at least one health screening this month.

Although women’s health is a popular topic, women’s health day is an important week to bring women’s health to the forefront of our minds. As women, we are often caregivers for loved ones—including parents, spouses, and children—or work in a care giving or service field. With our focus often on the health and well being of others, it’s easy for us to put our own health at a lower priority level. This week, or this month, make a resolution to think about your own health and wellness a little more by taking important steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

Beat Belly Fat This Holiday Season

Thanksgiving CupcakesWith the holiday season coming up, you may find yourself feeling a little bit heavier (or maybe a lot!) than earlier this year. For most of us, this weight gain goes to our hips, thighs, butt, breasts, and—perhaps most of all—our bellies. The bad news about belly fat is that it’s especially dangerous: it is associated with higher rates of heart disease, diabetes type II, high cholesterol, and other chronic health problems. The good news, however, is that belly fat is usually the first fat to burn off when you start losing weight.

The best way to beat belly fat is the hard way: diet and exercise.

Dieting can be tough during the holidays. Do your best to keep your eating in moderation: avoid eating too many sugary or salty foods, which are known contributors to fat around the belly area. Focus your attention on eating foods that make you feel good, both before and after eating. Try to structure some healthy meals complete with complex carbohydrates, colorful fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. If you absolutely need to eat sweets or salty foods, see how much self-control you can exercise by only eating a sliver of cake, two bites of a cookies, or a few chips and absolutely no more.

Make a commitment to do some moderately vigorous cardio training. Although moderate exercise (think brisk walking and biking) has long been the prescription for weight loss, more recent studies have shown that vigorous exercise may be better for weight loss. If you have a gym membership, hit the cardio room: cycle it up on the elliptical machine, do some high-intensity intervals on the treadmill, or take a spinning class. If you can’t get to a gym, try to get outside to jog or take a brisk walk with jogging or power walking intervals if it’s not icy.

Vary your workouts in front of your home television. With the weather getting colder, try having fun with kickboxing, dancing, and weight training DVDs. For a calmer workout, try yoga or pilates. These DVDs are often short—some are only 15-20 minutes—help you break a sweat, and allow you to have fun learning a new routine.

Finally, remember to relax! The holidays can be stressful, so be sure to take care of yourself by eating right, working out, and sleeping well. Your body will thank you come January when all your friends are hitting the gym with those ambitious New Year’s weight loss goals.