22 Live-Long Tricks
Play some head games.
Keeping your mind stimulated boosts memory and brainpower and slashes your
risk of developing dementia nearly in half, according to a study conducted at
the University of New South Wales in Australia. Look for fun ways to challenge
your brain: Try to memorize the phone numbers programmed into your mobile phone
and make calls without using speed dial; brush your teeth or try using
chopsticks with your nondominant hand; mentally tally the total cost of your
groceries as you put each item in the shopping cart; or start a monthly trivia
game night with friends.
Turn the tube off during dinner.
You already know that watching television at mealtime can lead to mindless
eating and subsequent weight gain. Now, a study in the Journal of the
American Dietetic Association suggests that families glued to the TV at
dinnertime eat fewer fruits and veggies during the meal. To protect your
family's health— and their waistlines — move the TV out of the kitchen and put
it near the treadmill instead.
Cook with herbs and spices.
Flavoring recipes with fresh herbs and spices rather than cooking with the
old standbys — salt, butter, and sugar — can cut sodium, fat, and calories and
improve a food's overall health benefits, says Suzanna Zick, N.D., a
naturopathic physician at the University of Michigan. "Many herbs such as
thyme and oregano are similar to green, leafy vegetables in that they're high
in vitamins and minerals," says Zick. Seasonings such as saffron and basil
are believed to contain cancer fighters, and "warming" or spicy herbs
such as nutmeg and black pepper may also help lower blood pressure.
Treat yourself to dark chocolate.
For years, experts have touted chocolate's ability to help fight cancer and
protect your heart. The latest good news: Enjoying about 30 calories of dark
chocolate a day (one or two dark chocolate Hershey's Kisses) can help lower
your blood pressure enough to reduce your risk of dying from heart disease by 5
percent and of stroke by 8 percent, according to a study in the Journal of
the American Medical Association.