There’s nothing quite like the news of a high-school buddy’s dropping dead of a heart attack at 45 to make a man start eating oatmeal. Suddenly, your own mortality is front-page news in the tabloids of your mind. Every ache you feel is arthritis, every bump a fresh tumor worming into your brain. You start reading the obits. Start taking multivitamins. You even contemplate making that appointment for a physical.
Do it. We’ll wait.
There. You see? Fear is a good thing, “a fine spur,” as the Irish say. Fear has served men well ever since we were salty snacks for large reptiles.
So, use it now-as a motivational tool. Ask yourself, Am I gonna die? Answer: Yeah. And probably before the woman sleeping next to you does. On average, American men die 5 years sooner than their female counterparts. If you’re skeptical, just look around at all the widows drinking highballs and playing pinochle in retirement communities.
Ask yourself, Am I gonna lose my hair/erection/tastebuds/mind? Yeah. Maybe. But hopefully much later rather than sooner, like when the highlight of your day amounts to crushing ants with your cane. There’s the spur, the call to action: You want to delay the decline and fall as long as possible. Here’s how to start: This week, pick five of the easiest health changes you find in our action plan here. Make them part of your life. Do likewise the following week, and so on. We’re giving you the smartest and simplest health, nutrition, anti-stress, anti-aging, and prevention tips—thousands of dollars’ worth of medical advice for free. Disclaimer: For life-preserving emergencies like angioplasty, don’t DIY. Call a professional plumber. And once your health is on track, don’t miss our 100 Scientifically Proven Tips for Maximizing Your Longevity.
Figure Your Heart Disease Risk
Subtract the diastolic number (the bottom number) in your blood-pressure reading from the systolic number. If the result is greater than 60, you need to consult your doctor. As arteries stiffen, systolic blood pressure increases and diastolic pressure goes down. Once that’s done, check out these other Surefire Signs Your Heart is Super Strong.
Order the Petit Filet Mignon
The Big Tex might trigger a heart attack. Researchers found that some healthy men produced 60 percent more clotting agents after they ate meals with about 55 grams of fat. For the ultimate filet-searing meccas, here are the 50 Best Steakhouses in America.
Get A Baseline Test For Your Heart
If you’re under 40 and feel fine, insist on having an EKG test during your next physical. This provides a healthy baseline that your doctor can use for comparison with future EKGs when you’re older.For more about heart health, check out our interview with the one and only Dr. Oz.
Don’t Blame the Burritos
If you feel a persistent, uncomfortable pressure in your chest, head to an E.R. A study of 2,404 heart-attack patients showed that 40 percent waited more than 6 hours before seeking treatment. That’s too long. The longer you wait, the more heart muscle you’ll lose. Remember: if you’re feeling “extremely” stressed out these days, that’s not a good thing—be sure to see our 30 Ways Successful Men Cut Stress.
Survive A Heart Attack
Improve your chances by following these steps:
—Call 911 for help (or better yet, have someone else do it). Tell the 911 operator “chest pains,” not “heart attack.” It’ll save you the time of having to explain your symptoms.
—Chew an aspirin; the medicine will enter your bloodstream more quickly and may prevent the formation of a clot.
—Wait for the ambulance. If you try to drive yourself, you may black out behind the wheel.
Boost Your Brainpower
Exercise doesn’t just deliver physical benefits; it also increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, thereby making you mentally quicker and maybe even protecting you against Alzheimer’s. Researchers found that 4 months of daily walking improved mental agility in 55- to 75-year-olds.
Manage Stress By Being Optimistic
People handle stress more effectively if they can believe that things are improving. So make sure you always have something you’re looking forward to. Hope makes stress manageable.
Start Collecting Friends
To live long and prosper, you need friends. One study estimates that being social can gain you nearly half a decade. And that’s just one of the 30 Life Skills Every Man Needs to Know.
Save Your Marriage, Save Your Health
An unhappy marriage increases your chance of getting sick by 35 percent and shortens your life by 4 years. If fitness fanatics would spend just 10 percent of their weekly exercise time working on their marriages instead of their bodies, they would get three times the health benefits.
Check In with Yourself For 5 Minutes A Day At the End of the Day
During this respite, ask yourself two questions: What have I done today that was meaningful? and What meaningful change do I intend to make in my life tomorrow? If you practice this daily, you’ll find life less troublesome and your place in it clear.
Lend A Hand
Men who do volunteer work live longer than those who don’t.
Stop A Panic Attack
Panicky people hyperventilate because they’re breathing too fast-meaning their blood is losing carbon dioxide. To stay in control, breathe in through your nose while pinching one nostril shut. You’ll breathe more slowly because you can’t inhale as much air through one nostril as you can through your mouth.
Challenge Yourself to Stay Happy
Men are not maintainers; we’re builders. (That’s why vacuuming holds no allure for us.) We are happiest when we’re creating something-a career, a home, a family. Make sure there’s always a project on your workbench, something new you’re trying to accomplish. And then see 25 Ways to Be Happier Now.
Treat Depression with Exercise
Exercising for 40 minutes can reduce stress. Studies show that doing it on a regular basis can be as effective as taking antidepressants. Here’s one surefire way to Banish Your Belly and Your Stress Levels.
Take A Nap To Relieve Stress
The ideal nap time is between 2 and 3 p.m. if you get up between 6 and 7 a.m. For the most benefit, keep it short—around 20 minutes. Whatever your routine, here are 10 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight.
Clean the Garage
Having a sense of control over some aspect of your life can reduce stress. Getting organized, even in small ways, may help you feel more like the captain of your ship.
Find Your Ideal Bedtime
If you’re not sure you’re getting enough sleep, move your bedtime back a half hour every night until you awaken when you want to without an alarm clock.
Eat Cherries to Fall Asleep Faster
Cherries and cherry juice are concentrated sources of melatonin, a popular over-the-counter sleep aid.
. . . Or Munch A Bowl of Dry Cereal
A low-fat, low-calorie carbohydrate snack eaten 30 minutes before bed will help make you sleepy.
Put A Show On Your Pillow
That’s a quick test to find out if your pillow supports your head and neck at a normal angle. Fold your pillow in half and put a shoe on top; if it springs back, it’s okay.
Improve Your Sleep Efficiency
The amount of sleep you need (typically 7 to 9 hours a day) remains constant throughout your life. To increase your sleep efficiency, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine in the late day and evening; establish a regular go-to-bed routine; don’t watch TV, read, or eat in the sack (beds are for sleeping and sex); and if you don’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get up and do something relaxing until you do feel sleepy. Once you’re fully rested, you’ll finally be ready to Build a Sharper Brain.
Build Your Heart Muscle
The heart responds to exercise in the same way ordinary muscle does. Just as your chest expands with repeated bench presses, your heart grows with regular aerobic exercise. “Over the long term, exercise can slow your resting heart rate by as many as 20 beats per minute,” says Paul Thompson, M.D., director of preventive cardiology at Hartford Hospital. A well-trained heart can be about 30 to 40 percent larger than a normal one. And because it’s so big, it can pump about 50 percent more blood with every beat. Weight lifting is good for your heart, too (see number 10). If you’re short on time and need a great cardio boost, check out the World’s Fastest Full-Body Workout.
Eat More Soluble Fiber
It lowers blood cholesterol. Good sources include oats, barley, peas, flaxseed, and apples. For more great nutrition advice, see The 10 Best Carbs for Your Abs.
Check Your Resting Heart Rate
General rule: The less your heart has to work, the better. So fire up that fitness tracker, buddy. (Don’t have one? Here are the 5 Most Futuristic Fitness Trackers.) If you’re going old-school, you can test your heart’s fitness by taking your pulse and figuring your resting heart rate. Place the first two fingers of one hand lightly on the opposite wrist, just below the thumb. Count the number of beats in 10 seconds and multiply that number by 6. The normal range at rest is 60 to 100 beats per minute, but trained athletes can have rates in the 40s.
Pet Away High Blood Pressure
To lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, get a dog. Studies show that petting a dog when you’re under stress can keep your blood pressure down.For more great stress-relief hackss, don’t miss our full-day, Stress-Conquering Game Plan.
Toughen Your Ticker
Weights can make your biceps look good, but they’re also good for your heart. Why? In addition to lowering cholesterol and blood-pressure levels, stronger muscles make physical exertion, especially lifting or carrying things, less taxing. This may help you avoid straining your heart during exertion, which can cause a heart attack. Additionally, here are the 10 Ways to Gain Muscle Fast.
Raise Your HDL
If you don’t have enough of this good cholesterol scouring your arteries, even low amounts of LDL (the bad stuff) can form dangerous blockages. The higher the HDL, the better. Once you get over 60 milligrams per deciliter, it’s a strong positive factor in avoiding heart disease. The best ways to boost HDL include drinking three glasses of orange juice per day, running at least 7 miles per week, and dropping 10 pounds if you’re overweight. Here’s your Stay Lean for Life Plan even if exercise is out of the question.
Take Vitamin E and Aspirin Daily
Check with your doctor first, but this dual defense can significantly lower your risk of heart disease. Researchers found that the antioxidant-and-blood-thinner combination helped to reduce levels of plaque in clogged arteries by more than 80 percent. The benefit of the two treatments together is so great that it may help men prevent atherosclerosis even if they can’t lower their cholesterol levels.
Keep Your BP Normal, Have More Sex
A study of 220 men found that those with normal blood pressure had sex 25 percent more often than did men with high blood pressure. Why? Men with normal BP have more testosterone, doctors say. And if you want to spice things up in between the sheets, be sure to try out any of the 30 Best Sex Toys That Will Enhance Your Sex Life.
Beat Hypertension with Bananas
Have at least one a day-the potassium may lower your blood pressure. And start exercising. Exercise alone may be the most effective nondrug method for normalizing mild high blood pressure, but it can take 2 to 3 months to produce results. Lowering your stress helps, too, so here’s 30 Ways Successful Men Cut Stress.
Never Catch A Cold
Cold viruses are transmitted through the air and by touch, so the best way to prevent a cold is to keep your distance from someone who has one, to wash your hands often, and to avoid touching your eyes and nose-prime entry points for offending viruses. For more tips, here’s 7 Cold and Flu Myths—Busted.
Prevent Kidney Stones
Drink at least eight glasses of lemon water a day. Lemons contain potassium citrate, a chemical that may stop kidney stones from forming.
Sidestep a Hangover
Drink lighter-colored alcohols, such as gin and vodka. They are less likely to cause a hangover than darker ones (brandy, whiskey, red wine) because they have fewer congeners, the by-products of fermentation and aging that give beverages their distinctive flavors and colors. Last-call tip: Order a double virgin-screwdriver. Fructose, one of the sugars in orange juice, can speed up the metabolism of alcohol by as much as 25 percent. And don’t miss our guide to Boozing Without Gaining Weight.
Give the E.R. A Head Start GIVE THE E.R. A HEAD START
Keep important medical information in your wallet. Carry a list indicating drug sensitivities or allergies, prescription and nonprescription drugs you are taking, the name and phone number of your primary physician, medical conditions you are being treated for, and a history of major medical problems experienced by your parents. Also, carry a copy of your baseline EKG in your wallet. If you’re interested in trying “concierge medicine,” where your GP comes to you, be sure to read Score Your Own Private Doctor.
Have A PSA Test
Detect prostate cancer early. The American Cancer Society and the American Urological Association recommend both an annual digital rectal exam and an annual PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening beginning at age 50. (If you’re African-American, or if you have a family history of prostate cancer, start this test at 45.)
Walk For 30 Minutes Daily
That’s all you need to do to move from couch spud to moderately fit, a change that will provide you with significant health benefits.
Never Get Cancer
Only 5 to 10 percent of cancers are inherited. The rest are due to interactions with the environment, mainly smoking. One of the most important things you can do to cut your risk is eat at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. A 14-year study found that men whose daily diets were highest in fruits and vegetables had a 70 percent lower risk of digestive-tract cancers. Here’s the easiest way to reach your quota: Never eat a meal that doesn’t contain a fruit or vegetable. While you’re at it, don’t miss our First-Aid Kit for Your Kitchen.
Hold A Stretch For 60 Seconds
When you reach your 40s, your muscles become less pliable. Stretch for a full minute to reduce injury. If you’re under 40, 30 seconds is adequate. So no need to go full yoga here, buddy. Also, here’s our pick for The World’s Single Best Stretch.
Dry-Brush Your Teeth
It cuts tartar by 60 percent and reduces bleeding of the gums by 50 percent. Using a dry, soft brush, start scrubbing the insides of your bottom teeth; then hit the insides of the top ones before working your way to the outer surfaces. Finally, rinse, spit, and brush again briefly-this time with toothpaste.
Stop Drinking Soda
Aside from providing you with more than your share of empty calories, soft drinks contain high amounts of fructose, which researchers have found may weaken your bones.
Store Your Toothbrush In Mouthwash
Put it bristle-end down in a glass (and replace the mouthwash every few days; yeah, wash the glass, too). This will minimize germs.
Avoid Cold Sores
If you are prone to them, limit your intake of arginine-rich foods, such as beer, chocolate, cola, peas, and peanuts. The herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores needs the amino acid arginine to initiate its dirty work.
Dilute Juice to Trim Calories
Natural fruit juices contain lots of calories. Cut the calories in half by cutting the juices with water.
Snack on a Tablespoon of Peanut Butter Instead of Candy or Cookies
Research shows that men who eat a diet high in monounsaturated fats are more likely to lose weight and keep it off than men following lower-fat diets. See here for our 5 Perfect High-Protein Snacks.
A survey of more than 2,000 people who lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off for more than 5 years found that 78 percent ate breakfast 7 days a week.
Keep a Food Journal
Recording what, when, and how much you eat can help reveal unhealthy eating patterns. But you have to write everything down-even those olives in your martini. Why? A USDA study found that men typically eat twice the amount of grains, fats, and sweets and half of the fruit they estimate that they have.
Drop Pounds without Ever Going Hungry
Stop eating when you’ve finished 80 percent of what you would normally eat, and wait for 20 minutes to pass. You’ll feel satisfied because it takes your stomach 20 minutes to signal your brain that you’re full.
Know How Big A Portion Should Be
A serving of pasta (1 cup) is the size of your closed fist. Three ounces of steak, chicken, or fish is as big as a deck of cards. One teaspoon of butter is roughly the size of the top of the thumb (from tip to joint). A proper muffin is the size of an apple, not a grapefruit.
Run Away From Situps
Working your abs won’t help you lose pounds or your belly. It takes 250,000 crunches to burn 1 pound of fat, according to researchers at the University of Virginia. That’s 100 crunches a day for 7 years. You can fry a pound of fat much more easily, in just 2 weeks, by each day eliminating 100 calories from your diet and riding the stationary bike for 20 minutes. For more great fitness tips, here are 5 Ways to Lose Stubborn Fat.
Eat Your Largest Meal At Lunchtime
And lighten up on dinner. That gives you hours of activity to burn off those calories. If you consume a lot of calories late in the day, you’re more likely to store those calories as fat. Avoid snacking and drinking alcohol after 7 p.m.
Cut 100 Calories A Day
That’s roughly the amount of calories in a handful of chips or a light beer. Eliminating one of those a day would be the equivalent of 700 calories a week and could lead to nearly a 10-pound weight loss in a year.
Judge Cholesterol with Contact Lenses
A diet full of fat, protein, or alcohol weakens your tears’ ability to block cholesterol from adhering to the lenses. This results in cloudy deposits. If your lousy diet is destroying your contacts, just imagine what it’s doing to your arteries.
Enter A Pissing Match
To see if you are experiencing signs of prostate trouble, answer the following questions, with answers ranging from zero to five. Over the past month, how many times have you…
—Had the sensation of not emptying your bladder completely after you finished urinating?
—Had to urinate again less than 2 hours after urinating?
—Found that the flow of urine stopped and started several times?
—Found it difficult to postpone urination?
—Had a weak urine stream
—Had to push or strain to begin urination?
—Had to get up to urinate after going to bed?
Add your score. If it’s 18 and above, see your doctor.
Light Up Your Lungs
Hold a lit candle 6 inches from your face, open your mouth wide, and take a deep breath. Try to blow out the candle without pursing your lips. If you can extinguish the flame, your lungs are functioning normally.
Do A Gut Check
Studies show that “central obesity” (that’s a potbelly to you) raises your heart-disease risk. To check your belly, use a measuring tape for a reading on your waist at the midpoint between your bottom rib and hipbone. Then measure your hips at their widest point. Divide your waist size by your hip size, and you’ve got your waist-to-hip ratio. If that ratio is .90 or less, and your waist is less than 40 inches, you’ve just eliminated one key risk factor for heart disease.
In a quiet room, extend your arm straight out to the side and lightly rub your thumb and forefinger together. Slowly move the rubbing fingers toward one ear, taking note of how far away they are when the sound becomes audible. Repeat on the other side. Under age 60, a person with normal hearing should be able to make out the sound at 6 to 8 inches.
Tell Your True Age
This skin-elasticity test will measure your functional age (how old your body acts), as opposed to your chronological one: Pinch the skin on the back of your hand between your thumb and forefinger for 5 seconds and then time how long it takes to flatten out completely. For people up to 50 years of age, the skin should spring back in about 5 seconds; up to age 60, 10 to 15 seconds; and up to 70, 35 to 55 seconds.
Test Your Stress
Answer this question without reflection: Are you winning? A positive answer likely means you feel up to the challenges you face and have a sense of control over your life. A negative answer may indicate that you feel you’re in a losing situation and lack control. In this case, you may be vulnerable to stress. If you are, here are 10 Ways to Beat Stress in 10 Minutes or Less.
Check Your Vision
If you’re over 40 and get headaches or eyestrain from reading, you may have presbyopia: loss of the ability to focus sharply for near vision. To tell if you do, open a phone book and choose some numbers. (If you normally wear glasses, keep them on.) Move the book away until you can focus on the numbers. If you must extend your arms fully or bend them only slightly to see clearly, you’re probably ready for reading glasses or bifocals. See an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a more precise test.
Live Relaxed, Live Long
If we had to give only one piece of health advice to men, it would be “eliminate the stress in your life.” Chronic stress in men has been linked to everything from allergies to heart disease. Experts say that up to 90 percent of visits to physicians may be for stress-related disorders. Take time to breathe. Also, don’t miss our 10 Ways Successful Men Cut Stress.
Skip The Second Cup of Coffee
The caffeine in two cups adds 16 beats a minute to your heart rate and makes you more irritable and anxious. Really jonesin’ for that second cup of Joe? Fret not: here’s the best way to get an energy boost without coffee.
Kur Your Fatigue
If you wake up unusually early, say 4 or 5 a.m., head for the bathroom and dampen a hand towel with cool water. Spend a few minutes lightly wiping your arms, legs, and torso; then go back to bed. The body is very warm when it comes out of REM sleep. Once you have cooled it down and you get back into bed, your body will heat up even more, almost as if it has a slight fever. The result should be a deep, restful sleep and more dreams. This technique is part of a kur, a relaxation treatment at many European spas.
Get An Extra Hour of Sleep
It provides the energy equivalent of 2 cups of coffee but only if you go to bed earlier than usual. Sleeping later doesn’t work because it disturbs your circadian rhythm, making you feel somewhat groggy and out of sorts for the rest of the day.
Put Your Alarm Clock In A Drawer
Seeing it only reminds you how late it is, which makes you anxious, which keeps you up.
Get A Better Night’s Sleep
—Tune your radio to a spot between stations. This produces low-level “white noise.” Research shows that a constant low level of noise helps people fall asleep. Electric fans also do the trick.
—Face the alarm clock away from you. A digital-display light can wake a light sleeper.
—Have small bites of foods such as cereal or pasta. They contain tryptophan, an amino acid that becomes serotonin, your brain’s sleep agent.
Use A Golf Ball to Stop Snoring
Many men are positional snorers-they snore only when they sleep on their backs and their tongues droop back over their airways. The fix? Wear a pocket T-shirt backward to bed with a golf ball in the pocket. If you roll onto your back, you’ll land on the ball. But if face-up is your only sleep sweet spot, try elevating your head. This strategy helps to keep the airway open. Place a brick or two under the bedposts at the head of the bed. Don’t use extra pillows; they’ll only kink your airway and make snoring worse.
Snooze Someplace Else
If you’re suffering from insomnia, you may want to spend a night at a hotel, a relative’s house, even a different room of your home. Many insomniacs come to associate their bedrooms with their inability to sleep. By getting solid slumber elsewhere, you’ll restore your confidence in your ability to sleep.
Eat Less, Live Longer
Researchers found that mice on a low-calorie diet lived longer than those with a higher calorie intake. More important, researchers also discovered that switching mice from a higher-calorie diet to a lower-calorie one eliminated up to 70 percent of all genetic signs of aging that the animals had previously shown. This suggests that much of the damage of a high-calorie diet isn’t permanent and can be rectified by a simple change in how much you eat. For help, here are 10 Slimmer Sandwich Recipes. (Just remember: no chips.)
Eat More Marinara
Two to four servings of tomato sauce a week can cut your risk for prostate cancer by 34 percent.
Eat More Watermelon
Like tomatoes, watermelon contains lycopene, a phytochemical that may reduce your prostate-cancer risk by as much as 34 percent. A single 1-inch slice has as much lycopene as four tomatoes.
Drink Cranberry Juice Daily
The tannins in cranberries prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract and causing painful inflammation known as prostatitis.
Eat Salmon At Least Once A Week
One serving a week can halve your risk of a sudden fatal heart attack. The secret ingredient is omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon has more of this heart protector than almost any other fish. Another reason to eat salmon: Two servings a week can fight arthritis by increasing bloodflow and reducing inflammation and pain around joints.
Protect Your Erection
Mother Nature’s original blue potency capsule is the blueberry. They’re packed with compounds that help relax your blood vessels, improving circulation, says Mary Ellen Camire, Ph.D., a professor of food science at the University of Maine. Plus, “they’re loaded with soluble fiber, which helps push excess cholesterol through your digestive system before it can be broken down, absorbed, and deposited along the walls of your arteries.” Lower cholesterol and better bloodflow mean more blood to the penis to ensure maximum potency and performance as you grow older. Eat blueberries fresh or in a smoothie at least three times a week.
Have One or Two Cocktails Per Day
Doing so can ward off heart disease in two ways: first, by modestly boosting blood levels of HDL, the cholesterol that clears arteries of fatty deposits; and second, by making platelets, or clot-forming cells, less likely to stick together and obstruct bloodflow. Findings from more than 30 long-term studies suggest that those who imbibe within this range reduce their risk of heart attack by 25 to 40 percent when compared with nondrinkers. If at any point you over-serve yourself, we’ve got your back with these Hangover Fighting Foods.
The Physician’s Health Study, a study of 21,000 men, reveals that men who eat an ounce of nuts at least twice a week have a 30 percent lower risk of dying of heart disease than men who hardly ever eat nuts. Plus, nuts are rich in vitamin E, which may help keep the brain healthy and reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sip Your Vegetables
During days when you can’t eat your five servings of fruits and vegetables, drink one tall glass of low-sodium V8 at lunch and dinner. For your fruit fix, have a 12-ounce glass of a 100 percent red-grapefruit-and-orange-juice blend.
Choose the Right Popcorn
Low-fat microwave popcorn has two-thirds fewer calories than the regular variety. Best-tasting in our book is Pop-Secret 94% Fat Free. Half a bag gives you just 110 calories and 2 grams of fat.
Drink Skim Milk
To avoid osteoporosis–brittle bones–make sure you get 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. One 8-ounce glass of skim milk delivers about 300 milligrams.
Take Vitamin C Twice A Day
Take two 500-milligram Cs—one in the morning and one with dinner. This may provide more protection from cancer and heart disease than a single large dose because the vitamin passes through your body within 12 hours of ingestion. So while a single dose taken at breakfast will keep your body’s level of vitamin C elevated till around dinnertime, two smaller doses taken at opposite ends of the day should keep the level up—and provide disease-fighting benefits—round the clock.
Thwart Cankers with Yogurt
If canker sores are a constant presence, your mouth may be screaming for more acidophilus. This beneficial bacterium can help regulate your mouth’s natural flora, which can otherwise run amok and cause sores and gum problems. Eat a cup of yogurt as a snack every day. And we don’t mean the frozen kind. Look for yogurts that contain active cultures.
Eat more Garlic
A diet rich in garlic makes your aorta more flexible and can increase circulation. In fact, a clove of fresh garlic every day can decrease your total cholesterol by almost 10 percent. Garlic also has powerful antiviral properties that fight infection. Just a couple of cloves of garlic, mixed into food, will jump-start your immune system and improve your chances of fighting off a cold or flu.
Order the Chilean Red
To reduce your risk of cancer, drink red wine from Chile. Compared with Cabernet Sauvignon from France, Chilean Cabernet contains 38 percent more flavonols, antioxidants that plunder cancer-causing free radicals.
Down Your Vitamin E Supplement with Whole Milk
The nutrient, which helps to protect against heart disease, is fat soluble. You’ll improve absorption if you take it with a drink containing some fat. (Skim milk or water won’t do.)
Order Thin-Crust Pizza
It has a third fewer calories than thick-crust pizza. Blot the oil with a napkin and save even more calories.
Get Rid of Hiccups
Rub an ice cube on your Adam’s apple for a minute. The coldness interrupts the reflex arc from your brain to your diaphragm that causes hiccups.
Fade A Black Eye
Eat pineapple and papaya; both contain an enzyme that helps your tissues absorb blood more easily, so your shiner will disappear faster. Avoid aspirin, which prevents blood from clotting. It’s the seepage of blood that leads to the black and blue.
Break A High Fever
Anything up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit is mild and can be treated by drinking plenty of fluids. But to quickly bring down a reading above that, put an ice pack under your arm or near your groin. Icing either spot will cool your body’s core.
Fix Lower-Back Ache While Driving
It’s caused by slouching. Tilt your rearview mirror up a bit. That way, you make yourself sit up perfectly straight to see the cars behind you. If you can’t see the cars, you’re slumping.
Support A Crumbling Arch
To relieve plantar fasciitis, a painful strain in the ligaments that run the length of the foot, roll a can of frozen fruit juice back and forth under the arch. This applies ice therapy while stretching your ligament.
Chew Away Heartburn
Chewing a stick of sugarless gum for a half hour after meals can prevent or reduce heartburn. Chewing increases saliva flow, which neutralizes stomach acid and washes it away from your esophagus.
Crunch Away Back Pain
Seventy-five percent of all lower-back problems can be prevented by building your ab muscles. Aim for 12 to 15 crunches a day. (But remember: to echo #33, this is not a fat-loss measure.)
Wipe Out Cold Sores with Aspirin
The herpes simplex virus can be fatal to your social life. Save it with aspirin. Popping 125 milligrams of aspirin daily can cut the duration of a cold sore from an average of 8 days to 5. How? Aspirin helps to reduce the inflammation that causes a cold sore, so the area heals faster.
Soothe A Knock To the Nuts
If you take a hit to the groin, put your jewels on ice to reduce inflammation. To get the blood flowing, lie down and lay a rolled-up T-shirt underneath your testicles, with the ends of the roll resting on your thighs. Take Tylenol for the pain. If you see swelling or bruising, go to an E.R.
Take the Bite Out Of Bee Stings
Reduce the inflammation with ice. Then rub aspirin or meat tenderizer on the site to break down the venom. Relieve the pain and itching by dabbing the area with a pasty salve of water and baking soda.
Quiet A Cough In A Theater
The trick isn’t to stifle the cough, but to let air explode out quietly. When you feel a cough coming on, blow air forcefully through tightly pursed lips. This gets rid of the air a cough would expel but short-circuits the vocal cords. You may have to do this a few times until the urge to cough subsides.
Kill A Canker with A Tea Bag
Hold a wet tea bag on the sore; the tannin from the tea acts as an astringent.
Lose the Wallet, Beat Back Pain
If you’re having lower-back pain, try taking your wallet out of your back pocket. Sitting on your wallet can put pressure on your sciatic nerve, the major nerve running through the buttocks.
Speed Pain Relief with Coffee or Tea
Ibuprofen washed down with a caffeinated beverage relieves headaches and other pains more effectively than ibuprofen taken with water.
Knock Out Jaw Tension
Clenching your teeth can make muscles tight and provoke jaw pain. For quick relief, press a fist under your chin and then try to open your mouth, resisting jaw movement with the fist. Hold for 10 seconds.
Drink Your Allergies Away
A chemical in green tea blocks the production of an allergy-triggering compound called immunoglobulin E.
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