Special Report

50 Health Tips Every Woman Should Know

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11. Avoid fad food trends

Some food trends — such as the raw fish poke dish or adding turmeric, which is derived from the root of a plant of the ginger family and has antioxidant properties, to lattes and soups — get the thumbs-up from nutritionists. But not all food trends get their approval. Juice cleanses are criticized by nutritionists because they don’t provide enough nutrients and are an all-liquid diet that will leave you craving for food later. The natural sweetener agave is high in fructose content, and when it’s consumed in high amounts might cause problems for the liver. The biggest food fads of the past 50 years may surprise you.

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12. Eat sitting down

Adult women’s calorie consumption declined when they were eating while seated, according to a 2007 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This is because women who were seated tended to eat more slowly. Studies have shown that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you are full. Eating more slowly while seated helps the brain get that message. Just don’t eat these foods that you only think are healthy.

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13. Get a Pap smear every 3 years

About 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and a third of them die from it. The current recommendation for women age 21 and older is to get a Pap smear every three years to screen for cervical cancer, according to the American College of Physicians. Starting at age 30, women can lengthen the screening interval to five years if they do a combination of Pap smear and test for human papillomavirus (HPV).

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14. Don’t shun birth control pills

In addition to preventing pregnancy, birth control pills have many other health benefits. The pill can help to control acne, lighten menstrual periods and mitigate menstrual cramps, and better manage premenstrual syndrome. The pill can also reduce or help prevent cysts in breasts and ovaries, bone thinning, endometrial and ovarian cancers, and infections in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus.

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15. Consider the HPV vaccine

Human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, is a virus passed among sexually active people, mostly in the late teens and early 20s. Some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer in women. Each year, about 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 women die from this disease. The CDC recommends that girls 11 and 12 years old get two doses of HPV vaccine, one within six to 12 months of the first. The vaccine is also recommended for girls and women who have not yet been vaccinated or completed the vaccine series through age 26 years. The HPV vaccine is recommended for young men through age 21.