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10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing
By Johnathan Miskin
As a guide to longevity this is truly a remarkable book and a must-read essential to good health. Although it contains and refers to quite a number of medical terms, acronyms, conditions, medicines (drugs) and treatments, which at first may seem at least a little complicated, it is written in such a way that almost anyone would be able to follow the frame of thought put forward in each of the clearly marked, relatively short chapters, sections, and sub-sections.
As its title and sub-title, ‘How to Live Longer, Look Younger and Feel Great’ suggest, this book is all about living healthily in an effort to live longer and prosper in life. The book and the programmes suggested do not guarantee immortality, however it does give a clear-cut and detailed guide on how to put off ageing through following various guidelines.
The book is set out over three main sections: ‘The Truth About Healthy Ageing’, ‘The Ten Secrets’ and ‘Your Anti-Ageing Action Plan’. From the beginning, the reader is given a ‘guide to abbreviations, measures and references’ to make things easier to grasp.
As highlights from the first section, one or two interesting concepts are introduced near the beginning. Firstly, one is introduced to ‘the Silver Tsunami’ and how to surf it – something you’d have to read first-hand to appreciate.
Another interesting concept is the ‘bioage Health Check’, which is a practical comparison between one’s biological and chronological age, the results of which essentially indicate whether a person is as healthy as he/she should be at a specific point in life.
The results of the ‘bioage’ test are obtained from a combination of a number of smaller tests, including pulse, blood pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), body-fat percentage, visceral-fat percentage, muscle strength, balance, flexibility, lung capacity, eye test, libido (most of which, if not all, can be tested at home), and blood tests (preferably done by the appropriate qualified professionals).
Even if one does not have all the results available, there are procedures and charts to assist with general estimations. However, for the most accurate overall picture one would need to physically complete each contributing test as instructed. To take the test online, just follow the instructions given on the website:
From the results of the ‘bioage’ test it becomes clearer which areas of one’s health, if any, need to be focussed on right away as a matter of urgency, or even just for general improvement.
As a secondary and very effective visual tool, the ‘healthy ageing pyramid’ may be used as a guide to make necessary changes in successive stages. The pyramid is very easy to understand and reminds me of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid, introduced in his 1943 paper ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’.
An absolute eye-opener is the importance of homocysteine levels. These are an indication of how well one of the human body’s fundamental processes, methylation, is currently working in one’s system. As a chemical process, “methylation is needed for just about everything in your body: making energy, making bones and joints, neurotransmitters and hormones, as well as detoxifying and, most importantly, repairing DNA and copying the correct information to make new cells.” This is definitely a test worth having done, if possible, sooner rather than later.
The 10 Secrets
In the second section of the book, the reader is introduced to the main focus and essential message over 10 chapters – each introducing one of the 10 secrets to healthy ageing mentioned in the title.
The 10 secrets cover 10 general areas of healthy living, which are further analysed by a number of sub-sections to each chapter. By the end of the tenth chapter, one has a holistic view and guide towards living a longer, healthier and ultimately, physically more comfortable and possibly overall happier life.
The 10 secrets include, but are not limited to, advice on avoiding Alzheimer’s, maintaining mobility of joints and stronger bones for longer, avoiding unhealthy weight issues and preventing diabetes, minimising stress and reaching optimal levels of sleep, having healthy and youthful-looking skin, avoiding cancer, maintaining a healthy heart and controlling blood pressure levels, improving digestion and steering away from unnecessary drug use (use of medicines), looking after one’s eyesight and finally, advice regarding the effects of hormones.
The above is a very broad outline of the actual content of the book. Many more critical factors to overall good health are covered, which are essential to be aware of if taking this topic seriously.
This book is an absolute ‘must have’ for anyone wanting to live a healthy life, or just improve one’s current health situation.
Background on the authors
In admiration of the authors, Patrick Holford and Jerome Burne, it was decided to take opening excerpts from the book in order to introduce them effectively:
“Patrick Holford BSc, DipION, FBANT, NTCRP is a leading spokesman on nutrition in the media, specialising in the field of mental health. He is the author of over 30 books, translated into over 20 languages and selling over a million copies worldwide, including The Optimum Nutrition Bible, The Low GL-Diet Bible, Optimum Nutrition for the Mind and The 10 Secrets of 100% Healthy People.”
“Jerome Burne is an award-winning medical and health journalist who, over the last 20 years, has been writing for most of the UK nationals about the latest developments in health and cutting-edge research. He is co-author of Food is Better Medicine that Drugs, with Patrick. He was an early champion of probiotics and higher doses of vitamin D and was one of the first in the UK to write about epigenetics – the ability of the environment to directly affect genes.”
The third and final section of the book brings all the information together to enable the reader to create an action plan, uniquely set out to suit individual needs.
The action plan is built on a solid foundation, and works through various topics, including dietary suggestions, the importance of (and advice on) certain exercises, the effects of alcohol, the list goes on...
In conclusion, two quotes from the book: “It is disrespectful to feed your body junk, and it has terrible consequences, regardless of how much money you have.”
“Oh, and laugh a lot. The hope is to have a rewarding life, and still be delighted by new things to the end. And I hope this book brings you something similar.”