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22 Live-Long Tricks

Wash your hands before going to the bathroom.

Think of all the germs you touched while pushing that grocery shopping cart or handling toys at your child's preschool, says Ganem. To avoid transferring them to your private parts, he advises washing your hands thoroughly for at least 10 seconds before peeing.

Make time for me-time.

The list of reasons why chronic high stress is bad for us seems never ending: It can lead to depression, high cholesterol, and weight gain, to name a few. "You want to keep everyday stress levels low, so that when something really nerve-racking happens, your body's stress response isn't over the top," says Pam Walker, Ph.D., a Dallas-based clinical psychologist. Find regular outlets for blowing off steam, such as yoga, journaling, or having fun with friends.

Take a daily multivitamin.

It's good health insurance for imperfect diets — which many of us have, says Michael F. Roizen, M.D., author of You: Staying Young. He recommends choosing a multi that contains the following nutrients: vitamin D (800 to 1000 IUs); calcium (600 mg twice a day — you'll need a separate supplement to meet these needs); magnesium (400 mg); and folic acid (400 mcg; 800 mcg if you're pregnant or trying to become pregnant).

Sport UV-blocking shades.

"Sun exposure can have significant long-term effects on your eyes and on the sensitive skin around them," says Elaine Hathaway, M.D., an ophthalmologist in Highland Park, NJ. Some potential risks: cataracts, macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in older Americans), and basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. To protect your peepers, look for sunglasses that promise to block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays, and wear them year-round since the sun's rays are damaging even on cloudy and winter days.

Sip white tea.

White tea is gearing up to replace green tea as the ultimate health brew. While both beverages contain cancer-fighting antioxidants called polyphenols, the leaves and buds used to make white tea undergo less processing than green tea leaves and as a result retain more antioxidant power. Studies have also found that white tea extract may help fight some common bacterial infections, including strep and staph.

Relax the right way before bed.

Sleep deprivation doesn't just leave us groggy and grumpy — it also puts us at greater risk for obesity, heart problems, depression, and motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, more than half of American women get a good night's sleep only a few times a week, according to the National Sleep Foundation's 2007 Sleep In America Poll. One likely reason: Eighty-seven percent of us opt to zone out in front of the tube for an hour before bed rather than turning in early, and watching television stimulates the brain, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. To ensure sound slumber, TiVo your favorite late-night shows for later viewing, and crawl into bed.

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