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Discover the secrets to living a long, radiant and healthy life in the latest published volume from longtime wellness pioneer Ann Louise Gittleman. Her book, Radical Longevity: The Powerful Plan to Sharpen Your Brain, Strengthen Your Body, and Reverse the Symptoms of Aging, hit shelves this week.
The 70-year-old New York Times bestselling author has nearly 50 years of wellness experience under her belt. With a lifetime of implementing learnings into her own life, Gittleman herself is an example of healthy, graceful aging. Her own lifestyle serves as much of the inspiration behind this latest tome.
“I don’t regret aging,” says the author. “It is a privilege denied to many.” Rather, this guidebook believes aging must be embraced and is a time to rejoice in. “In fact, I want to make these the best years of my life,” she said to Clean Eating. And to do this, she presents 7 New Rules for Radical Longevity. These rules work together, much like the systems in your body, to achieve overall wellbeing.
Gittleman’s 7 New Rules for Radical Longevity
1. Immunity Is Everything
Did you know that a 2019 Harvard study found air dryness to be a significant risk factor for determining potential development of respiratory infections? This, and other critical lifestyle factors that impact immunity, are covered under rule number one.
Gittleman also shares a list of her top immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals. The list includes vitamin D, a supplement particularly important for aging populations. Not only does it improve your body’s ability to battle viruses, it’s also involved in bone and respiratory health. She also covers how vitamin C fights infections, how inadequate zinc levels are linked to inflammation, quercertin’s antiviral effects and melatonin, “the body’s number one anxitodiant hormone.”
2. Take on Toxic Overload
The concept of toxins and eliminating them are controversial, but to Gittleman, this is an essential step. According to this specialist, we live in an increasingly toxic world. It’s more pertinent than ever to understand how heavy metal exposure impacts our physiology. This chapter discusses how toxicity is linked to many conditions, from memory loss to osteoporosis to gastrointestinal issues to energy depletion.
Gittleman shares the most common toxic heavy metals, like aluminum, cadmium and lead, plus targeted strategies to eliminate them from the body. For example, to reduce the amount of aluminum entering your bloodstream, make a habit of checking ingredients in medicated products. Everything from deodorants, medications like antacids and painkillers, dental work and infant formula can contain aluminum.
3. Stop AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products)
Advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, are proteins or lipids that form when certain foods are cooked at very high temperatures. These harmful compounds are found more commonly in products like red meat, certain cheeses, butter, margarine and fried and highly processed foods. Gittleman discusses how AGEs can accelerate aging and are linked to degenerative diseases like diabetes, chronic kidney disease and Alzheimer’s. She also shares AGE-reduction solutions: avoiding fried and processed foods, filling up on phytonutrient-rich veggies, upping your antioxidants and more.
4. Free Up Fascia for Youthful Movement
Fascia is the connective tissue that provides structure to muscles and internal organs. A connected web of fascia weaves around your entire muscular system. Throughout your life, things like physical trauma (e.g. from surgery, infection or inflammation) to bad habits (e.g. low activity and poor posture) leave a roadmap in the fascia through scar-like tissues. These are called fascial adhesions. The fibers, once mobile, become increasingly rigid. Degenerating fascia may be at the root of arthritis symptoms.
Fascia can be “massaged” to regain flexibility via treatment to the lymphatic system, according to Gittleman. This system consists of a liquid tissue traveling through the fascia from node to node. Encouraging lymph flow can help free up fascia. The author also suggests a daily walk, bouncing lightly on a trampoline, stretching your muscles and regularly hydrating, to name a few.
5. Activate Cellular Rejuvenation
Cells are the building blocks of the body, and this chapter covers optimizing cell health with healthy dietary habits and lifestyle strategies. Cleverly named “mem-Brains” by epigenetics scientist Bruce Lipton, PhD, cell membranes control much cell activity. This includes the way a cell’s hormone receptors interact with hormones. To rejuvenate cell membrane health, Gittleman suggests turning to dietary fats — a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Her top recommendation is hemp seed oil, which contains the perfect 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Beyond the membrane, Gittleman shares tips for overall cellular health. For example, she recommends best practices for optimally hydrating cells and improving sleep, a period during which the body repairs itself.
6. Mind Your Minerals
Aging can come with a plethora of illnesses, but few are as scary as Alzheimer’s. The author tackles what she calls an often-ignored “but potent” trigger for this disease hiding in your home: inorganic copper. Gittleman cites research from Dr. George Brewer from the University of Michigan Medical School. His work explores a relationship between increased use of copper in plumbing and a rise in Alzheimer’s in the twentieth century.
Another essential mineral Gittleman suggests reducing later in age is iron. While many people – particularly women – are low in iron, men and post-menopausal women are not so likely to be deficient. “Iron overload as we age is at least as much a concern as iron deficiency is when we are younger, and is just as dangerous,” says the author. Iron overload is linked to oxidative stress, arthritis, fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome and more.
This rule covers simple solutions to dump excessive copper and iron if you are at risk of having too much. To target excessive levels of copper, try avoiding supplements containing inorganic copper, testing your drinking water levels and balancing copper-rich foods like soy and shellfish with zinc-rich foods like meat, pumpkin and eggs. To target excessive iron levels, her suggestions include supplementing with vitamin C (increases iron absorption), IP6 (binds excess free iron and blocks iron from creating free radicals) and curcumin (reduces iron stores in the body, including in the liver).
7. Optimize the Gut-Brain Connection
At CE, we’re well-aware of the gut-brain connection, so it’s no surprise to see it has a role in graceful aging. This chapter covers how your microbiome impacts aging factors. A healthy microbiome influences regulation of everything from immune response to blood sugar regulation to the balance of hormones to weight loss efforts and much more. Increasingly, scientific evidence is finding links between the gut and the brain. One common example is the feelings of “butterflies in your stomach.” This is an emotional response, but amazingly, we feel it in our gut.
This chapter discusses helping your brain health, both mental and physiological, work in tandem with gut health. Begin by filling up on probiotics through fermented foods or a reputable probiotic supplement. Probiotics populate the gut and are referred to as “good” bacteria, living in us from birth till death.
The chapter goes on to discuss targeted emotional solutions for enhancing mood. This final rule also highlights how communal living can be hugely beneficial for health in later life and suggests solutions for finding sources of community, such as volunteering, mentoring and faith-based services, among others.
Radical Longevity goes on to share environmental, nutritional and lifestyle strategies to optimize health in later years. These include a small but robust collection of recipes, from starters to sides to mains to sweet treats. The book concludes with targeted strategies for renewing health from tip to toe. Insights cover everything from internal well-being (brain, heart and skeletomuscular health) to external wellness (rejuvenating skin, combatting hair loss) to improving interpersonal relationships (finding community, reigniting sex life).
For Gittleman, the golden years do not mean your fate and the fate of your health are sealed. “To me, aging gracefully means not accepting the limitations we think we have as we get older,” she said to CE. “That is one of the things I hope people take away from Radical Longevity – you don’t have to stop living your life simply because of your chronological age. By utilizing the latest research and putting some simple strategies into practice, we can continue aging with grace, grit, beauty, vitality and with the hope that the rest of our life will be the best of our life.”
Read our full interview with this inspiring wellness warrior here.
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