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The 7 surprising health benefits of being a woman

Women are often underestimated for a lot of things. But, now they won’t have to timidly accept misogynistic comments about their physical strength for science has time and again proven that women enjoy surprising health benefits as compared with men.

Women's Health By Ariba Khaliq / Aug 01, 2015

We really aren’t the “weaker sex”

Next time someone refers to you as the “weaker sex”, tell them how thankful you are to the female hormones that bestow upon you a host of body payoffs that men don’t get. Men, as careless as they are, prefer to pay less attention to their health and their “macho-ism” keeps them from going to the doctor to get things checked. On the other hand, lifestyle choices that women tend to make work towards making them healthier. Here are 7 surprising health benefits you will enjoy because you were born with two X chromosomes.

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You blow out more birthday candles

Chicks rule longevity. The National Center for Health Statistics say that a girl born in 2012 can expect to live until age 81.2 whereas a boy will live for an average of 76.4 years. What accounts for those four years, you ask? Well, researchers aren’t sure. It might have to do with lower rates of heart diseases in women as compared with men. It could also be because women maintain stronger social ties with friends and family and social ties are associated with longevity.

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Women can tolerate more pain

Research doesn’t reflect the notion “Mard ko dard nahi hota (Men don’t feel pain)”. In fact, it is the other way round. Women appear to have a higher pain threshold than men. Pain threshold is the point beyond which a stimulus causes pain. Of course the amount of pain that women experience during childbirth (labor and delivery) should help validate this point.

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Men are more prone to head and neck cancers than women

According to statistics by the National Cancer Society, about 30,000 men will be diagnosed with oral cavity or pharynx cancer, while just 12,000 women will. The same trend goes for oesophageal cancer- 14, 000 men can expect to develop it this year, while only 3, 000 women may. The reason behind head and neck cancers discriminating based on sex is tobacco and alcohol use. Though women are catching up on men in terms of drinking and smoking, men still are far ahead and so they develop these cancers higher in numbers.

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Older women are less susceptible to melanoma

The American Academy of Dermatology says that rates of melanoma are higher in women before age 45. The trend of this least common yet deadliest form of skin cancer can be attributed to the popularity of indoor and outdoor tanning. But after the age of 45 years, men bear the brunt of this disease in high numbers. The accumulated skin damage over time after years of working outside or playing outdoor sports without applying sunscreen may be the reason behind high numbers of white men getting the disease by the time they reach their 50s and 60s.

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Women have a keen sense of smell

Wonder why soaps, perfumes, scented candles and the likes are mostly catered to female noses? Because women appear to have sharper odour detection ability as compared with men. A study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that girls have up to 50% more cells in their olfactory bulb (the first region of the brain to receive signals about odours). But, the study doesn’t explain why women are superior sniffers. The two postulates could be: One, a better sense of smell helps women detect pheromones that help her pick the right partner; second, women can better protect their offspring given their ability to detect rancid odours.

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“Good” cholesterol levels are higher in women

HDL, or the good kind of cholesterol is essential for a strong heart. It prevents accumulation of plaque in the arteries of premenopausal women, hence keeping early heart diseases at bay. Such ailments may already be developing in men in the same age group. Throughout a woman’s childbearing age, her oestrogen levels peak and this raises good cholesterol levels in their bodies. After menopause, oestrogen output drops off and HDL cholesterol goes off with it. However, you can keep a check on your cholesterol levels by eating nutritiously, maintaining healthy weight and having cholesterol tested regularly.

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Women can recall better

And, that’s why a woman remembers what her partner did six months ago on a Thursday night at 5:37 p.m.. Jokes apart, several scientific studies have validated that women are better at remembering things. According to a 2014 Norwegian study of about 37,000 people from the journal BMC Psychology, though older people in general had more memory issues, men of all ages, young and old, were more forgetful than their female counterparts. The exact reason for this is not known but it might be due to brain degeneration caused by cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. And as we have just learnt, both of these problems strike more men than women.

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