Live your best life now, no matter what your age. Here, looking and feeling your best, from A to Z!

A | Aspirin

Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), inhibits blood-platelet clumping, a major factor in both clotting and inflammation. "People who have had heart attacks or are at risk for them are advised to take a small dose of Aspirin every day — 81 milligrams — to prevent heart attacks and strokes," says Dr. Akbar Panju, professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton. Because there is a risk of a gastric bleed or bleeding in the brain, the Canadian Medical Association advises consulting a physician before starting Aspirin therapy for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. This is particularly important if you are allergic to Aspirin, or have bleeding disorders or suffer from ulcers.

B | Berries & other antioxidants

Berries — especially blueberries — are loaded with powerful disease-fighting antioxidants. "Many believe free radicals and oxidative damage (what happens to our cells when free radicals attack) are responsible for aging," says John Berardi, author of the cookbook Gourmet Nutrition (www.gourmetnutrition.com). "This means a high intake of antioxidants from foods like rich-coloured fruits and veggies, green tea, high-percentage cocoa chocolate and others can be critical to our anti-aging efforts." You should eat five servings of antioxidant-rich foods every day.

C | Connecting

"Connecting with old friends and close family members, enjoying the benefits of shared memories and common experiences can make you feel more grounded in your history," says Lindsay Sukornyk, executive leadership coach and founder of North Star Coaches in Toronto. "Developing new friendships is a great way to stretch yourself in new directions. You will benefit by surrounding yourself with people who love and care about you."

D | The Sunshine Vitamin

No wonder Scandinavians love herring. The fatty fish, like salmon mackerel and sardines, is one of the few good dietary sources of vitamin D, other than fortified foods like milk, margarine and cereal. In winter, northerners don't get enough sunshine on their skin to produce adequate vitamin D (10 to 15 minutes are needed daily). People with dark, melanin-rich skin are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency. The vitamin increases calcium absorption, which is needed for healthy bone tissue. Scientists now believe vitamin D also plays a role in reducing some cancers, including colorectal, breast and prostate. The Canadian Cancer Society suggests older people supplement diets with 1,000 IUs daily.

E | Eye care

"People over the age of 40 begin to develop presbyopia, a condition where the [eye's lens] loses part of its elasticity, resulting in a loss of reading vision," says Dr. Sheldon Herzig, medical director of the Herzig Eye Institute in Toronto. "There are a number of innovative treatment options that can provide permanent vision correction," he says, ranging from laser or radio frequency energy used to reshape the cornea, to lens implants. Eyeglasses are the reliable standby, and bifocals or multifocals are getting chicer by the minute. It's crucial to have regular eye examinations, which can detect sight-destroying diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

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