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

by Kristina Grish
36. Whittle your middle
A 2010 American Cancer Society study found that a large waist size doubled one's risk of dying from any cause. "Abdominal fat cells secrete compounds that increase inflammation and reduce sensitivity to insulin, thus increasing the storage of fat," says Andrew Weil, M.D., founder and director of the Arizona Center {or Integrative Medicine. So eat low-glycemic index foods (thin) whole, plant-based picks), and exercise regularly to fight fat.

37. Don't be a buzz kill

A 2010 University of Texas study conducted over 28 years found that the way we explain the events in our lives can be a significant predictor of longevity. "Our thoughts and feelings and the way we respond to stress affect the way and rate at which we age," says Brenda Stockdale, director of mind-body medicine at RC Cancer Centers and Advanced Medicine in Atlanta. Good reason to be optimistic and choose to see the good in a situation--or at least talk about what went right along with what went wrong when you're sharing a story.

38. Develop your passion
 For years, experts thought learning something new every year, like a language, would enhance brain health. However, the Center for BrainHealth recently discovered that we need to be a master of one or two skills, rather than be a jack of all trades, to strengthen our brains.
39. Be a social butterfly
A 2010 Brigham Young University study found that those with strong ties to family, friends or co-workers have a 50 percent lower risk of dying than those with fewer social connections. Getting the emotional and social support you need to manage stress and feel happy makes life meaningful, fun and stimulating. Research shows people with social support may also be more active, eat better and stress less.

40. Have a beer
Scientists at the University of California, Davis, found that beer is a substantial source of silicon, which stimulates the production of collagen to keep bones strong and joints healthy by maintaining flexibility in cartilage. The study found that most beer brands contain between 6 milligrams and 57 milligrams of silicon per liter, and those with high levels of malted barley and hops have the most. We say go organic and drink in moderation. If you're not down with a brew, silicon can also be found in foods like bananas and brown rice.

Kristina Grish is a writer in New York City.