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Doctor: Women need to do 'heart math'

October 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
When it comes to taking care of others, women have it covered. But when it comes to taking care of themselves, women tend to come up short. One local woman has realized how a few changes could make a big difference in her life.

For 11 years, Lena Kennedy has organized the Southern California Women's Health Conference, and this year she's taken her leadership role to a new level.

"My goal is to lose a hundred pounds," said Kennedy. Her inspiration: Dr. Oz's ambitious weight-loss campaign.

As a women's health advocate, she knows heart disease is the number-one killer of women.

Dr. Theresa Swida, Glendale Memorial Medical Center, says women need to do their "heart math."

"How do stress, hormones and nutrition add up?" said Swida.

She offers women the three top things they should be doing when it comes to eating, lifestyle and supplements.

"Number one is sleep. Number two is stress reduction. Number three is laughter," said Swida.

Numerous studies show how laughter can be healing.

Swida says people sacrificing sleep for exercise are doing it the wrong way.

She says it really comes down to concentrating on vegetables, lean proteins. And don't go low fat, go healthy fat.

"Avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, olives. Lots of good sources of fat," said Swida.

As for supplements, Swida is a true believer in probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.

"Number one: vitamin D with good levels. So you need to be tested and make sure your levels are adequate."

Swida says losing a hundred pounds like Kennedy wants is going to take time, patience and a good attitude.

"It's a change in lifestyle. It's deciding how you're going to live," said Swida.

About 1,500 people participated in Friday's free event. Many came to get educated and inspired.

"It's not so much about losing the weight, it's about being healthy," said Kennedy. "Exercising so my heart will stay here longer, so that I will be here longer."

Besides free workshops and medical information, the conference also offered free health screenings.


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