Special Report

50 Health Tips Every Woman Should Know

Source: ljubaphoto / Getty Images

46. Quit smoking

While more men than women smoke, there is a big difference in the reasons each gender smokes. Men do it for the reinforcing effects of nicotine, while women do it to regulate mood, according to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse. “There is no level of smoking that’s good. Period. There is no such thing as ‘but I smoke only a few days a week,'” Dr. Alfred Casale, associate chief medical officer for Geisinger and chair of the Geisinger Heart Institute. The ill effects of smoking are well established and include increased risk of several cancers, including cancers of the lung, mouth, throat, and esophagus. Smoking also increases the risk of heart attack, emphysema and chronic breathing problems.

Source: monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

47. Stretch

Stretch classes were a popular exercise fad a few decades ago. But while such classes may not be necessary, stretching is. Stretching is important not just after a workout but also regularly because otherwise muscles go into a contracted state from sitting. Contracted muscles lead to cells aging faster, which eventually leads to wrinkles. Women who wear high heels should stretch the plantar fascia and calves especially often in order to avoid injury. High heels put the foot on an angle, pulling muscles and joints out of proper alignment, eventually leading to pain, not just in the feet, but in the neck and shoulders as well.

Source: Delmaine Donson / Getty Images

48. Accept cellulite

Cellulite, or fat deposits underneath the skin, causes a dimpling of the skin, especially around women’s hips and thighs. Up to 90% of all women could experience cellulite, which is more common in women because of how fat is distributed in the female body. There are many different ways that are being tried to treat the condition, but there is not a single one that can be called a cure. Some work for some women, and to a different degree. In general, weight loss and exercise help at least improve the appearance of cellulite.

Source: Valentina_G / Getty Images

49. About supplements

More than half of all Americans take supplements. In order for the body to function properly, it needs many nutrients, which it gets from a well-balanced diet. If your body lacks certain vitamins, you may have to take supplements, but not without talking to your doctor first. A rule of thumb is to take, if you have to, one multivitamin a day, no more. And whether they actually help is not certain as studies have provided little to no evidence of protection against illnesses. In fact, a recent study has shown that a common ingredient in many supplements is dangerous for pregnant women.

Source: metamorworks / Getty Images

50. Take care of your gut

The gut is important because it plays a key role in overall health. Early research suggests it may help lower the risk and help treat some diseases, including cancer, arthritis, and heart conditions. A recent study has suggested that being a man or a woman may play a role in gut health. There seems to be “a sex-dependent effect on shaping the gut microbiota according to diet.” HIgher levels of certain bacteria were observed in women. The trillions of microbes that live in our gut have an important role, often helping to keep us healthy — and these are the best foods for your gut health.