Dr. Meera Garcia, chief of the Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, regional director of women’s health services for New York-Presbyterian Medical Group Hudson Valley, and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Why I care for women: I grew up in Bangalore, India, and Dayton, Ohio, and although the cultures were wildly different, I noticed that women who understood their bodies seemed to be healthier, more self-aware and self-assured. Since that realization, I have worked to educate women to know as much as they can about their own bodies, to address their physical and emotional needs, and to welcome challenges in all facets of their lives with confidence.
Words of wisdom: We must live as healthily as we can, knowing that we cannot control every factor that will affect our health. The first step is a diet that consists predominantly of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean proteins such as legumes, eggs, and seafood, with only occasional meat, and lots of soluble (decreases cholesterol) and insoluble (prevents constipation) fiber. The second step revolves around maintaining ideal body weight. A normal body mass index (BMI) reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high-risk pregnancy, and cancer. And finally, as heart disease is the silent killer of women, 30–40 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three or four times a week, whether it be brisk walking, running, biking, or swimming, is conducive to a healthy heart.