7 Practical Books about Diet, Lifestyle, and Aging Well
Written by: the Editors of goop
Published on: January 24, 2020
Updated on: November 14, 2022
New research from experts in the field of longevity has challenged traditional notions of aging, replacing them with a new paradigm: What (and when) we eat, whom we surround ourselves with, the quality of our thoughts, and where we find meaning are all important for a long, healthy life. We’ve rounded up the seven books about longevity that are worth the read.
And for your viewing pleasure, in “The Health-Span Plan,” the fourth episode of our Netflix show, The goop Lab, we set to learn more about the mechanisms of aging, the impact of fasting on disease, and what we can all do to increase our health spans. You can learn more about what we discovered here.
Researcher Valter Longo, PhD, studies ways to promote human longevity (you may have seen him on our Netflix show). In this book, he describes how exercise, a diet high in plants, and periodic fasting are beneficial for healthy aging. Aware that most people would say that the fasting bit is less than ideal, Longo developed the fasting-mimicking diet, which has been shown in several mice studies and a human clinical trial to have similar health benefits to fasting. The Longevity Diet explains Longo’s research, recommendations, and recipes for a pescatarian diet for when you’re not doing the fasting-mimicking diet.
Harvard geneticist David Sinclair challenges our ideas about aging with groundbreaking research on how we can slow down and potentially even reverse aging, thanks to his work with sirtuin genes. He argues that we can not only achieve longevity but also improve our vitality, creating longer and healthier lives worth living. Sinclair tells this story by presenting the research, much of it conducted by his own lab, as well as a new, optimistic vision for the future of humanity.
Decreased telomere length is a symptom of aging. The Telomere Effect explains Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn’s discovery of telomerase, an enzyme that protects us from aging by lengthening the telomeres on the ends of our DNA that shorten with age. Together with psychologist Elissa Epel, Blackburn shares the ways that our environment—and even our thoughts—can influence these telomeres, meaning we can slow down aging through diet, exercise, sleep quality, and stress management.
At age forty, American cardiologist John D. Day was hypertensive and stressed. During a lecture series Day held in Asia, he learned about Longevity Village, an area in Bapan, China, inhabited by numerous centenarians—one of whom was a 114-year-old man named Boxin. Day and his wife, Jane, decided to spend time in Longevity Village, and in this book, they recount the lessons they learned about longevity, health, happiness, and human connection.
This feel-good book poses a simple but radical question: What is your reason for being? Or as the Japanese call it, your ikigai. Weaving in narratives and interviews with Japanese centenarians along with studies, history, quotes, and even a brief Tai Chi lesson, this little book offers big advice on how to live a long, happy, and meaningful life.
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” advises Michael Pollan, providing guidelines to sensible eating and nutrition as a follow-up to his 2006 book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Pollan examines how we as a nation have largely switched from fresh to processed food, consuming products (instead of food) that boast nutritional claims without basis. Pollan makes an argument that any foodie could rally behind: Let’s spend more time and money—as a society—on what we’re eating.
In the much-anticipated follow-up to his New York Times bestseller How Not to Die, physician Michael Greger wades through the murky waters of fad diets and weight-loss trends to present a clear, timeless guide to nutrition based on established and emerging research. He covers every question you could have about weight loss: surgeries and diet drugs, the microbiome, nutrients, health-boosting foods, exercise, intermittent fasting, sleep, and appetite-suppressing supplements.