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Keys to wellness

Virtually every decision you make affects your physical and emotional well-being. Each time you decide in favor of optimal health, you help thwart “bad” genes and harmful environmental factors. Use the following points as a guide.

Eat well. Enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and eat a low-fat diet. Don’t skip meals and make sure you include enough calcium in your diet.

Drink plenty of water. Eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day are vital for good digestion and elimination, glowing skin and high energy. Water transports nutrients, acts as an internal buffer and enhances weight-control efforts.

Exercise regularly. Devote at least 30 minutes a day to physical activity.

Sleep tight. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Stop smoking. Go cold turkey, try the patch, join a support group. In short, do whatever it takes to quit!

Watch your alcohol intake. One alcoholic drink a day may help your heart, but more than that may increase blood pressure and a woman’s risk for breast cancer.

Control your weight. Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are linked to obesity, so take steps to achieve and maintain your ideal weight.

Protect your skin from the sun. For best protection, avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more.

Take charge of stress. Too much stress puts your body into a constant state of alert, promoting symptoms such as insomnia, headaches, anxiety and depression.

Stimulate your mind. Keep mental faculties sharp well into old age by challenging them! Read, take up an instrument, do crossword puzzles.