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

by Kristina Grish
21. Eat like an Italian
In a 2011 Rush University Medical Center study, researchers found that the Mediterranean diet, long known to be heart-healthy and reduce risk of certain cancers, is now also associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline in older people. This diet--rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes, olive oil, potatoes and fish--also helped prevent Alzheimer's disease in subjects.
22. Take your magnesium
Seventy-five percent of Americans don't get their Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of this important nutrient, which affects age-related conditions like bone, heart and brain health, says Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., author of Magnesium Miracle (Ballantine Books). One of the most affordable and absorbable options is powdered magnesium citrate, which you can take with hot or cold water. A serving a day of magnesium-rich cacao and kale can also help.
23. Teach what you know
New research from The Center for BrainHealth shows that the brain develops stronger neural connections when we learn a skill well enough to teach it. So, test your ability to pass on info in new ways. "Start by teaching one person, then move to small groups, and then on to more public forums--each one places greater demands on the brain," says Chapman.

24. Beware of calorie trends
New studies show cutting calories leads to longevity, but be careful before subscribing to this trendy edict, says Ebanks. If insufficient calories are consumed, you won't have the energy for necessary, vigorous exercise. "Do you want to live better for as many years as you can, or live longer irrespective of the quality?" he asks. The Calorie Restriction Society is a proponent of the "more years" philosophy, 'but it requires trimming calories by 30 percent to 40 percent--a level Ebanks says is not sustainable for most people.
25. Keep working
Can't wait to quit your day job? Be careful what you wish for. New data from the United States, England and 11 other European countries suggest that the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline. Researchers found that the longer subjects kept working, the better they did on memory skills tests in their early 60s. Some experts say social and personality skills known to support a healthy aging brain--like getting up in the morning, dealing with others and knowing the importance of being prompt and trustworthy--may play a role here, because these factors are highly valued in the work environment.