Board certified Gastroenterologist, Health magazine Medical Editor and Today show contributor Dr. Roshini Raj (Roshini Rajapaksa) joined me recently to discuss simple ways we as women can improve our health and the steps we need to take to do so!
Candace Rose: What are some things that we as women can do to become healthier?
Dr. Roshini Raj: "Well number one the theme of this week is it's your time and that means we are empowering women to really prioritize their own health. You know, women take so much time taking care of those around them they often neglect themselves and that's a big issue. So we really want to encourage women to get to the doctor for those regular checkups, not engage in risky behaviors like smoking or not wearing seat belts and one of the two keys to good health is really exercise as well as nutrition."
Candace Rose: And when it comes to physical exercise, do you have any tips on starting an exercise routine that we can actually stick with?
Dr. Roshini Raj: "Yes, absolutely. We know that exercise has so many health benefits including preventing heart disease, cancer, now dementia (possibly) and it's really important to get into a daily exercise routine, but I know it's not easy. When you're first starting out you might be a little out of shape, you might experience some aches or muscle pain, and one way to address that is a topical over-the-counter solution like Aspercreme. There's no embarrassing odor, which is good for us women and it has been clinically proven to relieve muscle and joint pain, minor pain and even arthritis. So you want to address any pain you may have; you want to talk to your doctor if you're going to start a more intenser regimen, but really I say small changes can make a big difference. So just starting to move more, walk more- whether it's taking the stairs instead of an elevator or parking a few blocks away from work so you have to walk at least 10 minutes to work and back, things like that can really make a difference."
Candace Rose: What can we do to prevent injuries?
Dr. Roshini Raj: "Well, I think stretching is really important- both before and even after exercise. People don't realize, but stretching after exercise is important. You want to keep the circulation to the muscles so you're less prone to injuries, but also talking to your doctor as well is a great way to prevent any major injuries."
Candace Rose: Do you have any tips on diet and eating right?
Dr. Roshini Raj: "Absolutely. Nutrition is one of the keys to really maintaining good health, and recent studies show that one out of three adult Americans do not meet their daily nutritional requirements. So women especially need to be aware of this and healthy snacking is a great way to get those nutrients. One great snack that I love is a beverage- it's a new beverage called Ensure Clear which basically has 21 minerals; three times the proteins of juice; no fat, which is of course wonderful. It comes in Blueberry Pomegranate or Peach flavor which are delicious! It's just a very quick, convenient way to get those vital nutrients and minerals.
And then when we're actually talking about something you can actually chew on, I love Golden Raisin regular raisins. California raisins are naturally sweet- there's no sugar added; they have fiber and antioxidants, which we know are so important for our health. There's zero cholesterol and zero fat which is wonderful, and you can add it with some nuts or granola, it's a great way to get a healthy snack."
Candace Rose: What can we as women do to improve our mental wellbeing and gain confidence?
Dr. Roshini Raj: "I think in general, women need to manage their stress better and first of all recognize the stress that they're under. As women often if you're a working mom or you're a stay-at-home mom there's a lot of stress involved there; caring for elderly parents as well. I think talking to people about your stress is very important, whether it's friends or loved ones or even a professional counselor or a support group. And then there's certainly things you can do on your own to manage stress like exercise which I think is a wonderful stress reliever, as well as yoga or meditation- these are all ways you can address your stress so that it doesn't affect you not only mentally but stress can have physical affects as well."
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
Dr. Roshini Raj: "Well, I think that sleep is also something that a lot of women don't think about, but good sleep is very important when maintaining overall health, as well as weight control and mental health. So you really want to try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a day and make sure it's good quality sleep. And to learn more you can go to the site News2Know.com."