LUCHA CONTRA EL CÁNCER
What you eat and how active you are in your 20s and 30s will impact your heart health in your 40s and beyond.
By Brenna Stone
Reach your ideal body weight with yoga. Foto: Flickr/Lululemon athletica
There is more incentive to reach your healthy body weight than simply looking and feeling good. Getting rid of those excess pounds may also play a role in the prevention of major chronic illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.
With 33.1% of Hispanic women being obese and 33.6% being overweight in 2010, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the goal of reaching a healthy weight is at the heart of women's health issues for Latinas. Find out why losing weight can be a powerful force for your well-being.
Excess fat and cancer risk
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, being overweight can increase your risk for several types of cancer , including breast cancer. Why is this? Fat has several functions in the body. It keeps us warm and is used as a source of energy. It also produces different substances, including the hormone estrogen and several proteins.
They, in turn, have various functions in the body, including encouraging cell division and growth. Cell reproduction is a normal thing, but when too much of it is going on because an excess of cell-stimulating substances are moving through your blood, then there is an increased risk for abnormal cell division and cancer. By simply reaching and staying at a healthy body weight, you can help to lower your risk for kidney, colon and breast cancers, among other forms of cancer.
Your weight and your heart
Being overweight or obese raises your risk for developing coronary heart disease, a dangerous condition in which plaque builds up along artery walls, causing a narrowing and hardening of the arteries and limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Over time this can lead to chest pains, the heart muscle can weaken, and if blood flow is completely cut off, a heart attack occurs.
Carrying around excess fat is connected with higher blood lipid levels. The more lipids in your blood stream, the more opportunity for plaque build-up. This leads to a cascading series of problems: high blood pressure, more build-up, and more strain on your heart. Heart disease usually takes years to develop. What you eat and how active you are in your 20s and 30s will impact your heart health in your 40s and beyond.
Reaching your ideal body weight
What is the magic formula for reaching that golden number, having more energy, feeling great about how you look, and lowering your risk for health problems like cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and respiratory problems? A combination of a nourishing diet and regular exercise.
Get on a low-fat, nutrient-rich diet today. You don't have to deprive yourself of food or feel hungry to lose weight. Simply make healthy food choices. Skip the sugary, fried, and fatty foods, opting instead for fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and fish. The delicious, healthy menu options are endless.
To trim your midsection and to dramatically reduce your risk for disease, make exercise a part of your lifestyle. If you are new to working out, then start with something that you can easily do like walking in your neighborhood or swimming at your local pool.
Make exercise fun by joining a yoga or cycling class or making plans to workout with a friend. Your weight does matter, but not because you need to be considered slender or skinny. It matters because you deserve not to have to face major health problems in the future.