Mom Knows Best: 5 Health Habits to Share With Your Daughter

July 7, 2016

She’s the first one you turned to for protection — the one you looked to for friendship, support, and advice. You’ve shared almost everything with her, from confusing body changes to heartbreaking school crushes. Your mother’s mannerisms and good looks aren’t the only things you’ve inherited; you’ve also adopted her habits, both good and bad.

Image of gappy teenager with mother and grandmother

Now that you are a mother yourself, you understand just how much influence you have on your daughter — and how important the health habits and advice you pass on to her are. Here are five health lessons your mother was right about that you should be teaching your daughter:

1. Eat Right — Starting With Breakfast

 Although weekdays get hectic, starting your day off with a healthy breakfast is a habit your daughter will benefit from her whole life. It jump-starts her brain, provides her with energy throughout the day, and lowers her risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

For lunch and dinner, opt for whole grains, leafy greens, and lean proteins. And don’t forget to include an entire rainbow of foods — it not only makes dishes look more appealing, but incorporating fruits and vegetables of all colors into your diet also has real health benefits at any life stage.

2. Hydrate Yourself

One of the simplest habits your mom insisted on is also one of the easiest to overlook — drinking plenty of water. Dehydration can cause a plethora of unpleasant symptoms, including agitation and fatigue. Remind your daughter to keep a large water bottle on hand each day to refill as she empties it, and do the same yourself.

If you’re feeling adventurous in your quest for hydration, chlorophyll, the dark green pigment found in plants, is available in liquid form. A tablespoon a day provides many benefits, including increased oxygen and energy and a reduced risk of cancer.

3. Take Your Health Seriously

Set an example for your daughter by prioritizing annual gynecological checkups, scheduling important screenings like Pap smears, and letting her know what to expect from these proceedings. While she may hear about health issues like HPV or breast cancer on the news, educate her about lesser-known dangers such as ovarian cancer.

Empower your daughter by helping her make informed decisions about her health and encouraging her to become an expert on her own body. Remind her that open communication with her doctor is absolutely crucial in catching illnesses as early as possible. And explain that when she’s sick, she needs to stick with her prescriptions all the way to the end. Unfortunately, women are more likely to slack on their medication diligence, which risks exacerbating illnesses.

4. Always, Always, Always Use Sunscreen

Help your daughter keep her skin firm, youthful, and melanoma-free by reminding her to apply sunscreen every day and stay out of indoor tanning beds. Additionally, read labels and stay up-to-date on any potential dangers associated with the cosmetics that either of you apply to your skin. Some contain small levels of carcinogenic chemicals.

5. Get Out and Move

 Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of women in America, so help your daughter develop healthy habits to take care of her heart. Turn off the TV, get off the couch, and get some exercise.

 According to the Mayo Clinic, watching more than two hours of television per day can lead to serious health risks, including attention problems, emotional and social challenges, lower academic performance, regular sleep difficulty, and obesity. Many factors are out of your control, but you can be proactive in keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check.

Eating balanced meals, respecting your body, and remaining committed to your overall health are just a few habits you picked up from Mom along the way. Don’t let those valuable lessons go to waste now that you’re a mother yourself. Help your daughter learn the same healthy habits your mother instilled in you. She’s watching you, and your actions speak louder than words.