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40 Little Health Habits Every Black Woman Over 40 Needs to Thrive

These routines can take as little as 20 seconds. But they can boost memory, weight loss, sex drive, sleep quality and more.

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Can a habit or one-off task that takes less than five minutes really make a life-altering difference in your health? You already know the answer is yes if you stop to think about it. There’s a simple action you’re already taking daily that might add years to your life. It’s handwashing to prevent the spread of disease.

But that’s only one mini time investment that pays huge health and wellness dividends. Dozens of smart, simple steps you build into habits can save your life and also transform it as you start to feel more happy, youthful, energetic, sharp and sexy. Some of them will surprise you. Others are common sense. How many of them do you make a common practice?

1. Facetime a friend. Loneliness comes with serious health risks.

2. Make an omelet. Boost your immune system and prevent type 2 diabetes with foods rich in vitamin D, like salmon, cheese and egg yolks.

3. Pray, and you’ll boost your self-esteem and alleviate depression.

4. Save a life in 20 seconds. In the age of COVID-19 wash your hands for at least that long.

5. Make your household healthier in a hurry. Disinfect doorknobs, light switches and other household surfaces with antimicrobial wipes.

6. Fight disease at the drive-through. Cut your daily calorie intake by about 350 calories to improve your cholesterol, blood pressure and chronic inflammation levels. That’s as simple as ordering two grilled chicken thighs instead of extra crispy.

7. Schedule that scan. Book your annual mammogram.

8. Put those beans in to soak. Plant-based diets lower the risk of developing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

9. Pour yourself a cup of calm and focus. On a deadline at work? While the caffeine in green tea helps you pay attention, you may feel less aroused or agiated than with coffee, thanks to the calming substance L-theanine.

10. Spend a few minutes at the sink to protect against stroke. Brush for two minutes, floss and gargle with mouthwash to help prevent heart disease.

11. Mix yourself a mocktail. Limit alcohol to keep your skin hydrated and glowing. Drinking less will also lower your risk of breast cancer.

12. Turn in and get turned on. Plump your pillow and turn off the light. Catching up on sleep can rev up your sex drive.

13. Recharge your vibrator. Self-pleasure helps guard against vaginal atrophy and dryness.

14. Take menopausal misery off the menu. Avoid caffeinated drinks and spicy foods, which may trigger hot flashes.

15. Supplement with zinc to support immune function and help protect against respiratory infection. Fewer than half of older American adults consume enough zinc, which becomes more difficult to absorb as we age.

16. Treat yourself to a piece of dark chocolate to lower blood pressure and reduce risk of heart disease.

17. Refill your water bottle throughout the day for weight loss, healthy joints and youthful skin.

18. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen daily to help prevent premature aging and skin cancers.

19. Say grace. It’s one of many ways to practice mindful eating.

20. Reach for health on the shelf. Read food labels.

21. Head to your happy place. Meditate to become more focused and sleep better.

22. Dial your doctor. Schedule your annual pelvic exam.

23. Keep it tight. Want stronger orgasms and fewer bladder leaks? Exercise your pelvic floor.

24. Stand tall. Good posture helps relieve pain and boosts confidence.

25. Keep track of your carbs, protein and fat (macronutrients) consumption with a free nutrition app.

26. Prep your pantry to fight prediabetes. Toss the white and brown sugar and add flavor with spices like ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

27. Be good to your gut. Nosh on pickles and Greek yogurt or take a daily probiotic supplement to regulate your bowels.

28. Scent your home with soothing lavender. Try adding essential oil to a diffuser. There is some evidence that the aroma may help relieve hot flashes and pain.

29. Prioritize this procedure. Schedule a baseline colonoscopy starting at age 45. If found early, precancerous polyps can be removed.

30. Get help quitting. Phone your doc about smoking cessation resources.

31. Fill your plate with veggies and lean protein to boost your libido.

32. Grab some greens at the market. Build healthy bones and a sharper memory with calcium- and fiber-rich dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and collards.

33. Manage migraines. Snack on magnesium-packed seeds and nuts, or take a magnesium supplement.

34. Brush before bathing. Try dry brushing to exfoliate your skin, unclog pores and improve circulation.

35. Get healthier hair and stronger nails. Put biotin-rich produce like sweet potatoes, broccoli and avocados on your grocery shopping list.

36. Do a five-minute fitness activity. Sitting is the new smoking, so get up and move more.

37. Massage your feet. While moisturizing after a bath or shower, take the time to rub and relax your hardworking feet. Not only does tootsie TLC relieve stress, it also boosts circulation to help keep muscles and tissues healthy.

38. Spice up your life. Cooking with turmeric and cayenne can reduce inflammation and relieve arthritis pain.

39. Give your skin a youthful boost with foods rich in Vitamin C.

40. Keep limber at work by doing leg lifts, desk chair swivels, torso twists, side lunges or walking in place for three minutes or more every half hour.