In 2011, the first wave of the 76 million Baby Boomers will reach age 65, and one in three American adults will be senior citizens. Everyone wants to know how to live the healthiest and longest life.
50 Simple Ways to Live a Longer Life is an easy-to-comprehend resource packed with the most amazing health discoveries from the forefront of science. It leaves readers inspired to take active roles in extending their own lives and improving their own health.
Each chapter contains a different way to extend your life, plus a "Making It Real" section that tells readers what they specifically can do to achieve these benefits.
50 Simple Ways to Live a Longer Life offers fresh perspectives and intriguing information, even on those frequently covered topics like exercise and diet. This book is an affordable, easy-to-assimilate book that will help people add years and vigor to their life.
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About the Author
Suzanne Bohan is an experienced health and science journalist. She serves as a correspondent for the Sacramento Bee and worked as a health reporter for ANG Newspapers. She's also contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, and National Public Radio's San Francisco affiliate, KQED. She's won several journalism awards, most recently the 2005 David Perlman Award for Excellence in Medical Journalism. Bohan earned a master's degree in journalism from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree in biology from San Francisco State University.
Glenn Thompson, a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Business, received his law degree from Santa Clara University. He practiced law for two decades while owning and operating radio stations. He's also a devoted student of health and longevity, and has served as a health advocate. Publishing a book about simple ways people can extend their lives has been a goal for more than a decade.
The authors are married and live in Mill Valley, California.
Table of Contents
Imagine a Long Life The first step toward living a long life entails imaging yourself arriving at age 80, 90 or even 100, in good health. We'll discuss the success of visualization in endeavors like competitive sports, and how it's also applicable to pursuits like achieving longevity.
Stay Hungry The only scientifically proven way to increase lifespan is through dramatically cutting calorie intake. As thousands of animal studies have shown, including primate studies, a 30 percent cut in calories led to a 30 percent to 50 percent increase in lifespan. The federal government is sponsoring a first-ever human study to test the theory. We'll elaborate on this phenomenon, while addressing the challenges of sticking to such an eating plan.
Skip a Meal Recent studies suggest that people can reap some of the longevity benefits of reduced calorie intake by simply skipping a meal or two on a regular basis, even if a full day's calories are ultimately consumed in one sitting. The science behind this recent and remarkable finding will be detailed.
Make Every Calorie Count If you're going to eat less, or eat less frequently, to increase your odds of a long, robust life, you need to consume the most nutritionally-dense food to maintain your health and energy. Nutritionists will elaborate on this eating approach.
Get Physical Physical activity doesn't only improve heart health a kaleidoscope of maladies are also prevented or ameliorated by exercise. And, of course, it just makes you feel better. This section outlines creative approaches and new findings about this familiar topic of health advice.
Defy Stereotypes The power of suggestion does affect the functioning of older people, a finding portrayed in a Harvard study on aging stereotypes. We'll show how defying tired notions about aging can boost your functioning, and potentially increase your lifespan.
Go Fishing Rising awareness of the health benefits of fish convinced the U.S. government to advise people to regularly consume seafood. We'll incorporate the exciting news about preventing Alzheimer's disease through modest fish consumption. We'll also describe which fish to eat and which to avoid due to contamination.
Choose Your Fats Wisely Studies show that monounsaturated fats like olive oil are so healthful they should be a part of every diet. Yet other types of fats, like trans-fatty acids - which are directly linked to heart disease - shouldn't be consumed at all. We'll sort of out the good from the bad.
Be a Friend Positive social connections and strong community ties have been universally linked to longer lives and robust health. This section highlights the most compelling studies and provides creative tips to benefit from this research.
Have a Laugh Evidence keeps stacking up about the many benefits of laughter, including stress reduction and easing or even surmounting illness. We'll look at a few studies, and provide ideas for adding humor to your life.
Take Tea and See This section will quickly steep the reader in the growing body of knowledge about the health benefits of both green and black tea. Many medical experts are convinced tea helps prevent cancer and heart disease. We'll delve into their thinking.
Pump Iron Weight training, once the domain of body builders but now mainstream, should be part of any plan for a long, healthy life. This chapter describes the studies showing how strength training builds up bones, increases metabolism and keeps muscle mass from wasting away, while improving balance, grace, appearance and confidence.
Avoid Medical Error A well-publicized national report stated that more than 100,000 Americans die annually due to medical errors like incorrect prescriptions orders, unnecessary surgeries, and inattentive health care professionals. An empowered patient, as well the presence of a patient advocate, can prevent many of these errors. In this section, experts provide advice on the topic.
Eat Lower on the Food Chain Americans eat far more meat than needed, and excess consumption of red meat, in particular, is linked with a host of maladies prevalent in Western cultures. We'll describe the science behind the concerns about meat, and offer appealing strategies for working into meals more high fiber vegetable, fruits and grains.
Cut the Fat Gratuitous and hidden fats in our diet cause creeping weight gain over the years, and very few overweight people live to an advanced age. Health experts will comment on this cause of excess weight, and give tips for finding and cutting the fat.
Put the Salt Shaker Down Salt is ubiquitous in foods, especially prepared meals, and most Americans eat far too much. This section highlights the latest research on the health hazards of excess salt consumption, like the development of high blood pressure or osteoporosis, and provides ways to cut back.
Build Strong Legs As we age, our legs weaken, leading to loss of balance and falls, which in turn cause hip fractures, broken bones, and ultimately loss of mobility. And a lack of mobility is cited as one of the major sources of depression in older people. Geriatric physical therapists will weigh in on this issue.
Prevent Breast Cancer While breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for American women, most women do get through life without getting the disease. Here are steps women can take to stay free of breast cancer, such as moderating alcohol intake, getting mammograms, exercising, avoid a high fat diet and consuming folic acid and vitamin D.
Prevent Prostate Cancer Medical researchers keep finding ways to prevent prostate cancer through exercise and diet. The latest finding: Diets rich in lycopene, which is found in tomato sauce, watermelon and grapefruit, seem to help prevent and - in one study - reverse prostate cancer. We'll also discuss other promising research.
Prevent Colon Cancer A few simple dietary changes, combined with periodic testing, can eliminate this ugly cause of cancer. We'll round up the latest research and detail the tests given to detect the early stages of this disease.
Watch for Other Cancers Cancers of the lungs, skin, ovary, pancreas, esophagus, stomach and brain don't get as much press as other cancers, but they're just as deadly. We'll remind readers of the tests they can request to monitor for the first signs of these diseases, and provide an overview of prevention strategies.
Prevent Stroke Numerous studies show that people whose diets consist primarily of fruits and vegetables (high sources of potassium), suffer significantly fewer strokes than the rest of the population. Combined with regular exercise and low dose aspirin, people can reduce their incidence of stroke by over 50 percent.
Prevent Heart Attacks Heart disease is largely a life-style malady and the number one cause of death in America. We all know you can prevent the development of heart disease by not smoking, abandoning a poor diet, and keeping trim and active. More recent findings also show powerful links between moderate alcohol consumption and a reduction in heart disease. Tantalizing findings are also coming in about the heart-health benefits of green tea, folic acid, and vitamin C. We'll provide a wrap-up of the studies, and expert comment.
Prevent Osteoporosis Osteoporosis is a bigger killer than cancers of breast, prostate and colon combined. We'll show the latest in lifestyle changes and medicine that help ward off this malady of aging, which disproportionately affects women in developed countries.
Prevent Diabetes This is difficult-to-treat disease that's reached epidemic proportions. In a deeply troubling trend, it's now affecting children an alarming rate. While there are modest medical advances in managing the disease, the real remedy remains the simple formula of exercise and diet a message worth emphasis.
Prevent Alzheimer's disease Recent studies show that seniors who keep learning also keep their mental edge. To boost their brain power, seniors are also advised to take aspirin, exercise and consume fish high in omega 3 fatty acids, like salmon or trout. We'll give a round-up of the studies on maintaining mental acuity.
Lend a Hand It turns out giving is receiving. We'll describe recent studies showing that the act of giving time and attention to others significantly boosts longevity.
Chill Out Ever since Dr. Meyer Friedman coined the term "Type A" behavior, we've been put on notice that stress and anger are deadly. It damages not only the heart, but the brain and nervous system as well. We'll detail the best of stress reduction techniques, including meditation, visualization, Tai Chi and walking.
Walk It Off Studies of centenarians show one thing virtually all have in common: They enjoy getting out for a walk. Cares fade away while walking, and it's also one of the best forms of exercise. We'll present the current research that underscores these points.
Take an Aspirin Few drugs today protect health like old-fashioned aspirin, and the good news keeps breaking about its role in disease prevention. Taken in small, regular doses, aspirin helps to prevent heart attacks, strokes, colon cancer, and now has been linked to a lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease. We'll provide a wrap-up of the medical research on aspirin.
Take Your Best Shot Countless studies show that regular flu and pneumonia shots not only prevent their target illnesses, they may protect against stroke while saving 20,000 to 30,000 lives annually. We'll clarify who should get these shots and address concerns some people harbor about vaccinations. We'll also describe the promise and shortcoming of the newly-approved inhalable flu vaccine.
Stay Engaged Nurture your passions. Keep working. These are both recommendations of scientists who've studied those among us living to 100. We'll show the studies, and share the experts' advice and discuss how mental activity keeps senility at bay.
Keep Learning During past 10 years, we've begun to understand that your brain does continue to form new neural pathways, at no matter what age. We'll show practical strategies for boosting brainpower and staving off dementia.
Supplement Wisely One of this country's leading medical researchers, Dr. Bruce Ames, firmly believes that people who modestly supplement their diets with vitamins and minerals are healthier, suffer fewer serious diseases, and live longer. This chapter will provide a round up on the latest research and thinking on smart supplementation.
Drop Tobacco Although it's been said in many times and in many ways, tobacco use in all of its forms is the single biggest cause of preventable death in America. We'll highlight the state-of-the-art therapies and techniques to drop the habit.
Keep the Faith While it continues to defy medical explanation, those who practice religious faith, particularly through attending church, not only live longer but suffer fewer age-related illnesses. We'll explore the many fascinating aspects of this intriguing phenomenon.
Be Optimistic Revealing yet another of the mind's power to affect one's health, scores of studies show that an optimistic attitude translates to a longer life. We'll highlight the most compelling studies and discuss why optimists live longer.
Control Stress It's a medical irony that a little stress is good for you... It builds mental resilience, physical strength, and even on the cellular level, appears to prolong life itself. But cross that line, stress becomes a killer and shortens lives. We'll discuss the origins of stress and how attitude towards life's challenges contribute to stress, and present stress-reduction tips from experts.
Eat Whole Grains While the current food pyramid emphasizes grains as the foundation for a balanced diet, recent studies now suggest that whole grains are the real stars. A 2003 study shows that people who ate generous amounts of whole grains in breads and cereal products, suffered fewer deaths from all causes, in particular heart disease. We'll elaborate the findings and discuss easy ways to get more whole grains into your diet.
Toast Your Good Health A glass of wine or even a martini shows great promise for enhancing longevity. We'll talk with the nation's experts on the link between alcohol and health, along with their cautions about anything beyond moderate drinking causes more harm than good.
Don't Dwell on Genes Why bother with any of this advice if longevity is all in your genes? The genetic component of longevity is the biggest myth in popular views of aging. We'll explore who says what, and why, and dispel the myth that genes largely run your life's clock and determine your future.
Get Married Staying single may have its appeal, but if you're thinking about a long life, tie the knot. Married people, particularly men, have a lower death rate from disease, and faster recovery when they are afflicted. It seems the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We'll discuss these intriguing findings.
Get Some Rest In our frenetic, hyper-efficient world, sleep is equated with inefficiency, wasted time, and general sloth. We'll explode this myth, and show how sweet repose promotes health, enhances immunity, and extends life.
Watch Your Back This may seem an odd recommendation ... but if you've ever experienced back pain, it probably made you wish you were dead. A hurting back is an impediment nearly all of the other 49 "Ways", and an invitation to disease and immobility. We'll focus on techniques for maintaining back health into old age.
Take Folic Acid This unheralded vitamin is worthy of star treatment in pantheon of vitamins. It's so important that the federal government now requires manufacturers to include it in their grain-based products to prevent birth defects. But just as important, it's a powerful deterrent to heart disease and many forms of cancer. We'll summarize the best research on the health benefits of folic acid, and ways people can increase it in their diets.
Lose That Belly The latest research shows that obesity not only promotes disease but shortens lives. We'll discuss the strategies for confronting this nationwide epidemic, and why losing the belly is important to longevity.
Pick These Vegetables We all know to eat our vegetables, but try to whet your appetite for the nutritional superstars. We'll provide a list of well-known vegetables that are packed with anti-oxidants and other phytochemicals that prevent a myriad of diseases and enhance health.
Pick These Fruits Virtually all fruits are nutritionally rich, but some, like blueberries, strawberries, prunes, and raisins, are standouts. These fruits are loaded with anti-oxidants and other healthful nutritionalcompounds that work to preserve eyesight, help prevent heart disease and cancer, and may even delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
Worship the Sun, Wisely Sun exposure provides a classic example of how a little is good, and too much quickly becomes bad. It turns out the advice about staying in the shade may have gone too far. We need some sun every day to create vitamin D, which plays an underappreciated role in preventing a range of diseases.
Nurture Strong Family Ties The acceptance and steady presence of family members provides one of life's most crucial buffers against stress. This section details the ample evidence on the link between strong families and health.
APPENIDIX Compilation of preventive health screenings This appendix will list the preventive health screenings, like cancer and blood tests, mentioned throughout the book.