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Coming of age: 40 of the most surprising and inspiring tips

 
by Kristina Grish
 
 
(16-20)
 
16. Read beauty product labels
 
Suffering from a chronic condition such as diabetes? If you've started using an anti-aging skin-care product and notice improvement, it's important to continue to use it exactly as directed. "Don't skip days ff the label says not to," warns Ali. "Chronic disease patients need to stay on schedule in their fight against aging, because their condition can multiply the effects of free radicals on their skin--and a lot of dermal products contain antioxidants to help fight these free radicals."
 
 
17 Move it

New research from The Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas claims that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week, improves short-term memory by increasing blood flow to the medial temporal lobe--where memories are stored. Gettin' physical also lengthens our telomeres, says Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., founder and chief director of the institute, and the sooner you start, the better: Researchers recently found that women older than 70 who regularly exercised during middle age were in better health than those who didn't.

18 Think something nice

A recent study found that social exchanges characterized by conflict in mid-life were associated with poor decision-making later in life. Since you can't always avoid confrontational people, override your cranky thoughts with good ones. "Think of something positive about a person and your brain will latch on to those thoughts instead of negative ones," says Srini Pillay, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard University.

19. Eat bitter
 
Humans recognize six distinct tastes--sweet, sour, salty, bitter, savory and astringent--and each plays a role in feeding your body and mind. In terms of longevity, however, bitter-tasting foods are the best because they balance sugar cravings, support digestion and metabolize fat, says Stephan Dorlandt, C.N., a clinical nutritionist and herbalist in Los Angeles. Tasty bitters include yellow and green vegetables, such as yellow peppers, broccoli rabe, collard greens, mustard greens, radicchio and chicory.
 
20. Fight your traffic ticket
 
New research shows that being engaged in political activities--like appealing a decision made by a public authority, giving a speech at a meeting, or writing a letter to the editor--results in sharper thinking when you're older. "Political activities reflect self-efficacy, and there's a correlation between self-efficacy and cognition," says Pillay.