Dr. Weil has raised dispensing health advice to an art form. Instead of making his audience feel inadequate or guilty about bad habits, he seems to subconsciously convince readers to do better merely by presenting health facts in a non-threatening way. Healthy Aging
is his most scientifically technical book yet (you'll learn all about enzymes like telomerase and cell division and the chemistry behind phytonutrients like indole-3-carbinol, and the connection between cancer and other degenerative diseases like diabetes) yet by far his most fascinating.
His main mission here is to recommend "aging gracefully," which he considers accepting the process instead of fighting it. As the director of the country's leading integrative-medicine clinic (combining the best of traditional and alternative worlds), of course he disses Botox and the slew of $100-a-jar face creams out there. It's also no surprise that he focuses on proper nutrition, moderate exercise, and meditation and rest among his "12-point program for healthy aging." (Triathletes and exercise addicts should take special note of the research linking excessive exercise and ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.) He occasionally references his earlier works, including 8 Weeks to Optimum Health
. But the most eye-opening sections are those that discuss the spirituality of aging and its emotional aspects. "Aging can bring frailty and suffering, but it can also bring depth and richness of experience, complexity of being, serenity, wisdom, and its own kind of power and grace," he writes. At 63, Weil is still a bit shy of senior status, but is aging well indeed, with the legacy of his late 93-year-old mother (whos touchingly eulogized by Weil in this book) to guide him.--Erica Jorgensen
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. America's best-known complementary care physician offers a convincing portrait of aging as a natural part of life that can be active, productive and satisfying. Using the examples of his mother, who died at age 93; centenarians from Okinawa and Sardinia; and myths and legends, Weil (Eating Well for Optimum Health
) explores common Western beliefs and attitudes about aging and urges readers to develop healthier perspectives. The 60-year-old author assesses the growing and lucrative field of anti-aging medicine, takes the position that aging is not reversible, and offers many ways for readers to prevent conditions and illnesses that limit mortality and ensure well-being into the later years. He provides scientifically based information on why and how the body ages and advice on key components of good health at every age: exercise, nutrition, vitamins and herbs, and stress-relieving activities. Much of this advice is available in Weil's previous works as well as on his Web site. The real value is Weil's courageous stand, one likely to meet resistance in a culture devoted to external indicators of eternal youth. Refreshingly, Weil embraces the notion, popular in Eastern cultures, that age brings wisdom, peace and prosperity of a different kind.
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