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Healthy Aging by Andrew Weil

Non-Fiction: Health. Hardcover from Knopf. Published in 2005. 309 pages. On load from the Hackley Public Library, Muskegon, MI.

Mike Cope recommended this book earlier this year, and I was finally able to get it via interlibrary loan. I finished it last week. One of the chapters was a bit more info than I wanted on how we age – and was a bit difficult for me to fully understand. I realize, however, that it was included to give a basis for the diet recommendations that he made later on. Sadly, I just only barely understand the chapter! (Weil would probably say I should go back and give another try at understanding it to give my brain some exercise, but I think I’ll pass.)

I was very impressed with Weil’s advise about aging – especially his thoughts on learning to appreciate aging rather than just trying to deny it. I think he makes a valid point when he says that we do ourselves a disservice by denying that we are aging – “…the denial of aging and the attempt to fight it are counter-productive, a failure to understand and accept an important aspect of our experience.” Excellent advice.

I do not have a lot of experience with diet recommendations and thus am unable to judge his advise by weighing it against other things I’ve read, but it seems to be reasonable. He gives good advise for exercise for both body and brain, which does seem to line up well with other things I’ve read on the subject.

Publisher’s summary:
Spontaneous Healing . . . Eight Weeks to Optimum Health . . . Eating Well for Optimum Health . . . The Healthy Kitchen–in each of his widely acclaimed, best-selling books, Dr. Andrew Weil has been an authoritative and companionable guide through a uniquely effective combination of traditional and nontraditional approaches to health and healthy living. Now he gives us a book about aging that is unlike any other in the breadth and depth of its information and understanding. Hugely informative, practical, and uplifting, it is infused with the engaging candor and common sense that have been the hallmarks of all his books.

At the heart of Healthy Aging is Dr. Weil’s belief that although aging is an irreversible process, there are myriad things we can do to keep our minds and bodies in good working order through all phases of life. To that end, he draws on the new science of biogerentology (the biology of aging) as well as on the secrets of healthy longevity – diet, activity, and attitude – that he has gathered firsthand from cultures around the world.

In Part One – “The Science and Philosophy of Healthy Aging” – he explains how the body ages, and he explores the impact of gender, genes, environment, and lifestyle on an individual’s experience and perception of the process of aging. He describes the various would-be elixirs of life extension–herbs, hormones, and antiaging “medicines” – separating myth from fact and clearly delineating the difference between the spurious notions of preventing or reversing the process of aging and the real possibilities of inhibiting or delaying the onset of diseases that become more likely as we age. He writes movingly about the ways in which an acceptance of aging can be a significant part of doing it well, and of recognizing and appreciating the great rewards of growing older: depth and richness of experience, complexity of being, serenity, wisdom, and its own kind of power and grace.

In Part Two – “How to Age Gracefully” – Weil details an easy-to-implement Anti-inflammatory Diet that will protect the immune system and aid your body in resisting and adapting to the changes that time brings. And he provides extensive practical advice on exercise; preventive health care; stress management; physical, mental, and emotional flexibility; and spiritual enhancement – all of which can help you achieve and maintain the best health throughout the lifelong process of aging.

Healthy Aging–a book for people of all ages – is Andrew Weil’s most important and far-reaching book yet.

Online book shopping:
Powell’s: Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being
amazon.co.uk: Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being
amazon.com: Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being
Audible.com: Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being

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