Why do some older women smoke (when they surely know better by now)? It may make them feel sexy: a recent study discovered that postmenopausal women who smoke have higher androgen and estrogen levels than non-smoking women, with sex hormone levels being highest in heavy smokers.

Previous studies have shown that high levels of estrogens and androgens are potential risk factors for breast and endometrial cancer as well as type 2 diabetes. Cigarette smoking is a well established risk factor for chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Researcher Judith Brand says, "The observed increase in sex hormone levels with cigarette use suggests that tobacco smoke, apart from its direct toxic and carcinogenic effects, may also influence chronic disease risk through hormonal mechanisms. The good news is that the effect of cigarette smoking appears reversible, as an almost immediate reduction in sex hormone levels was seen in women who quit using cigarettes."

But don’t worry: You don’t have to choose between sex and cigarettes–there’s plenty of evidence that people’s sex lives don’t have to diminish with age. We have an obesity epidemic going on, which is now spreading worldwide as more and more countries adopt a Western diet, and smoking only makes it worse.

One of the keys to staying young and sexy is eating right and exercise, which can be as pleasant as a brisk daily walk. In Anne Strieber’s diet book, she has a special chapter on exercise titled "The Tyranny of the Body," in which she states unequivocally that walking is the very best exercise there is (and leave your cigarettes at home). And if you love Anne Strieber’s diet book and diaries, PRE-ORDER the new novel that she thought of and Whitley Strieber wrote!

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