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31 Instant Health Boosters

Try one of these tips each day — you’ll feel better and get fitter and smarter in just one month.

By Heather Hurlock

1. Give lip service.

Thirty minutes of making out can improve allergy symptoms. Research shows that kissing reduces the amount of chemicals your body releases in response to allergens.

2. Turn up the heat on your sheets.

Bedding contains thousands of dust mites that can irritate sensitive skin and exacerbate eczema, according to a new study. Wash sheets in H2O that’s at least 140 F. to make sure you kill the critters.

3. D-stress.

Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D can decrease your risk of developing a stress fracture by 20 percent. Active women should strive for 1,000 IU of vitamin D and 2,000 milligrams of calcium daily to keep their bones strong, experts say.

4. Get your head examined.

Melanomas found on your scalp or neck almost double your risk of dying compared with those detected elsewhere on the body, report researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Because they’re often hidden by hair, malignant moles and other skin abnormalities are typically detected too late for treatment to be effective. See your MD for an annual skin check.

5. Clean up your mouth.

Two ounces of yogurt a day (the typical container holds six ounces) may protect you from gum disease, a recent study in the Journal of Periodontology shows. The “good” bacteria in yogurt helps fight germs in your mouth.

6. Play red light, green light.

For increasing your endurance, four to six 30-second bursts of all-out cardio are just as effective as up to an hour of training at a lower intensity. Short on time? Use intervals to get stronger more quickly.

7. Reboot your brain.

Mundane tasks, such as entering data into a spreadsheet, can switch your mind into default mode, making you more likely to mess up within about 30 seconds, scientists say. Feel like you’re operating on autopilot? Snap out of it by going for a quick walk down the hall.

8. Debug your desk.

As many as 283 species of bacteria can thrive in ordinary office dust, including nasty streptococcus, the main cause of strep throat, and staphylococcus aureus, which can lead to MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection, according to a recent report. Wipe down your workstation, keyboard, and phone regularly with a disinfectant such as Formula 409 Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner or Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner.

9. Shrug it off.

Strengthening your trapezius muscle, which runs from your shoulders to your neck and upper back, can reduce chronic neck pain by up to 80 percent.

10. Juice your looks.

A diet rich in vitamin C and linoleic acid (a fatty acid found in many vegetable oils) can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, dryness, and thinning skin, according to a study.

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