Most of us assume that ageing means living with declining health. We think it’s normal to be on prescription drugs, undergoing invasive surgeries and suffering from degenerative diseases. So, while we may be living longer, we’re not living better–that’s the paradox of ageing. Now, from the author of The Plant Paradox, comes a plan for living a long, healthy, and happy life: The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age.

As the director of the International Heart and Lung Institute in Palm Springs, California, and The Center for Restorative Medicine in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara, Dr Steven Gundry has worked with thousands of patients to discover that the “diseases of ageing” we most fear are not simply a function of age; rather, they are a byproduct of the way we have lived over the decades. In his new book, he maps out a new approach to ageing well—one that is based on supporting the health of the “oldest” parts of us that have the power to keep us young: the microorganisms in our bodies.

The gut bacteria that make up our microbiome largely determines our health over the years. For the past 19 years  Gundry has treated patients based on the power of these “gut buddies”, as he calls them, and has seen dramatic reversals of diseases– many of these changes directly linked to alterations in their gut bacteria. His book is the culmination of the results he has observed in patients, analysis of an enormous amount of recent research on the gut biome and his study of the world’s longest-lived communities.

In The Longevity Paradox Gundry reveals:

  • DNA is not necessarily responsible for “inherited” ailments–research has shown that the makeup of an individual’s gut bacteria can be a predictor of many health outcomes, more so than genetics.
  • Inflammation is actually a SYMPTOM and not the root cause of what really ages us. Ageing is the result of a lack of the right bacterial population in your gut, along with a leaky guy that allows bacteria and other particles to pass through the intestinal barrier.
  • The all-important connection between gut health and the brain and why neuroinflammation is responsible for cognitive decline and degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • What a “brain wash” is and why this wash cycle that takes place at night is so critical when it comes to preventing neurodegenerative diseases.
  • How we can break the cycle of arthritic pain (and why NSAIDs anti-inflammatory drugs are actually making it worse).
  • The importance of eating seasonally—and why having all foods available to us at all times has compromised our gut bacteria.
  • How mimicking fasting allows our mitochondria to rev up our entire immune system and kills off old, inefficient, dysfunctional cells.
  • The importance of exercise and how it actually changes the microbiome.
  • Why chronic cardio (think intense cardio and endurance running) is actually damaging the heart and why yoga and meditation are good for your gut.

Gundry also challenges and breaks down the ageing myths we’ve all come to accept and offers a revolutionary new way to look at heart disease and cholesterol:

MYTHS

Blue Zone populations enjoy long lives thanks to eating whole grains: Gundry maintains they live long lives DESPITE eating so many grains, not because of it and reveals the habits that DO contribute to longevity.

High metabolic rate is a sign of good health—A high metabolic rate is a sign that your metabolism is inefficient and working harder than it needs to. Heat generated by high metabolic rate ages you quickly.

Saturated Fats Should Not be Demonized—Gundry debunks the long-held myth in paleo and keto communities that saturated fat and butter are good for you. Fats from plants are great for longevity—polyphenols in olive oil, pistachios, walnut, almonds, etc.

One of the most explosive ideas in The Longevity Paradox is the idea that heart disease, at its root is an autoimmune condition, a disease begins in the gut. He reveals the research that shows that the more gut bacteria diversity there is, the less blocked arteries there are. When bad bugs take over, they cause your arteries to become rigid, dramatically increasing your chances of developing heart disease. Gundry also posits that cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease and offers a compelling explanation for why it gets a bad rep, revealing that triglycerides are the real enemy.

Gundry shows that our gut bugs are in the driver’s seat when it comes to diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s to more common ailments like arthritis, weight gain, the appearance of our skin. They are what’s controlling our quality of life as we age. The good news is, it’s never too late to support these microbes and give them what they need to help them—and you—thrive. The Longevity Paradox outlines a nutrition and lifestyle plan to support gut health and live well for decades to come.

The Longevity Paradox is published by HarperCollins and is available in New Zealand on 1st April, retailing at NZ RRP $35.00.

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