How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age by Steven R. Gundry, MD
I want to start this book review with my favourite quote from the book: YOUR SKIN IS JUST YOUR GUT LINING TURNED INSIDE OUT
This was honestly one of the best health books I have read this year. Here are my main takeaways.
RE: AGEING WELL
A strong gut lining is essential to looking and feeling great. A strong, impermeable gut barrier is the key to avoiding many of the diseases we associate with 'normal' ageing.
It is our HABITS that determine how we age, not our GENES. Dr Gundry explains that the reason we often have health issues similar to our parents is because they raised you and you share similar habits and live in similar environments, both of which shape the trillions of microbes in your body, skin, and even cloud around you. Ultimately those microbes and THEIR genes that make us age, not our human, inherited genes.
He goes on to explain (based off a 2018 study by the National Science Foundation) how our genetics play a relatively small role in determining our health and longevity, instead it is our gut microbiome that shapes the entire fate of our health.
RE: FOOD HABITS
Dr Gundry has spent years studying people in 'Blue Zone' communities where a large number of habitants comfortably live past the age of 100.
He believes that the true secret of these long-lived people lies not in what they do eat, but what they don't eat. And what they dont eat, across the board, is large amounts of animal protein: in fact not a single one of the Blue Zone populations consume significant amounts of any animal protein.
He goes on to cite how clinical trials prove that lowering animal protein intake massively lowers inflammation throughout the body.
He extensively lists what foods and supplements to avoid and what foods you should eat, and I have included a brief summary below.
FOOD TO AVOID:
All dairy products
All fruit apart from berries
All sugar sources
Eggs, soy, nightshade plants, corn, meat
FOOD TO EAT:
Vegetables and greens of all kinds, especially cruciferous
Protein in the form of Tempeh, Hemp Tofu, Pressure Cooked Legumes (beans, lentils, etc), Nuts and Seeds
Fats (and Oils (olive, avocado, MCT, Sesame seed, flaxseed oils to name a few)
Teas (green, black, herbal)
Condiments and Seasonings (fresh lemon juice, vinegars, mustards, ground pepper, sea salt, organic herbs and spices)
Multivitamins (he explains which are beneficial in excess)
Omegas and healthy fats
RE: WHY FASTING IS ESSENTIAL
Dr Gundry explains that new research confirms how our microbiome plays an essential role in determining whether or not we'll develop cancer and, if we do, how we will respond to the treatment. Cancer develops (very simply speaking) because we have abnormal cells that grow and multiply.
It is normal to have abnormal cells, but what is not normal is to constantly encourage those abnormal cells to grow by feeding them an endless abundance of energy (aka food).
According to Dr Gundry we absolutely must give our bodies a chance to rest and prune those abnormal cells by regularly but temporarily restricting our energy intake. By doing so it allows our mitochondria to produce energy for our healthy, noncancerous cells and kill off bad (and eventually cancerous) cells. Please note that this is a very simple summary of his words.
Giving your body a break from all food consumption by fasting should be a common health routine. Read more about how and why we should fast via this link.
To conclude, the Longevity Paradox has completely changed the way I think about what I consume on a daily basis. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to understand how to make long term lifestyle changes, and why these changes are essential, for a thriving, healthy and happy body.