Looking and feeling young for decades is not just the province of the wealthy and surgically enhanced. Living to be 100 is simpler than most people imagine. In his new book, Secrets of Longevity, Dr. Maoshing Ni shares the secrets gleaned from generations of medical knowledge in his family, and a 20-year study of centenarians in China. Living to be 100 is
not the product of an expensive supplement, brutal daily regimen, plastic surgery or anything out of the average person’s reach. A few simple changes in the most basic areas of our lives: diet, environment, activity and relationships, can help us reap great rewards. Below are excerpts from the book.
What You Eat: Diet and Nutrition
Sweet Potatoes and Yams: Not Just for the Holidays
These powerhouse foods contain higher amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin C than carrots, more protein than wheat and rice, and more fiber than oat bran. Sweet potatoes and yams also happen to be a rich source of DHEA. This is a precursor hormone—a substance that remains latent until it converts into a hormone that the body needs. DHEA can become estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone, all essential for your body’s anti-aging defenses to work. As one ages, however, the body’s levels of precursor hormones like DHEA drop precipitously. Eat these vegetables year-round and celebrate a long life.
How You Heal: Herbs, Remedies, and Elixirs
Anti-Aging Herb with a 5,000-Year Track Record
In China, ginseng is more valuable than gold due to its seemingly miraculous properties of restoring health. Scientists in the West have confirmed ginseng’s efficacy in various traditional uses. Ginseng enhances body functions and the immune system to help people adapt to the negative effects of physical and environmental stress. It boosts energy gently, rather than stimulating the central nervous system, as coffee does. There is also strong evidence that ginseng can help the body fight off infection, protect liver and heart health, normalize cholesterol and blood sugar levels, regulate the function of hormones, and improve memory and cognitive functions.
Where you are: Environment, Ecology and Community
The Energy Points of the Compass
The principle of feng shui is based on the ancient Taoist concept of energetic polarity. The terms yin and yang describe the opposite yet complementary energy states in the universe. A balance between the two polarities can help you stay in beneficial energy alignment and lead a healthy life. The two yin directions are north (the negative pole) and west, the sunset direction.Yang is associated with south (the positive pole) and east, where the sun rises.
Activities in our lives can also be categorized as yin or yang. Sleeping, relaxation, reading, and bathing are yin activities, while exercise, cooking, engaging in hobbies, and studying are yang. Therefore, your bedroom and bathroom are more appropriately located in the northern and western parts of your home, and your office, kitchen, living room and dining room should be in the southern and eastern locations
What You Do: Exercise, Lifestyle & Rejuvenation
100 Million Tai Chi Practitioners Can’t Be Wrong
The fact that more than 100 million people practice tai chi around the world is a testament to its widely acknowledged benefits. Studies have concluded that practicing tai chi for thirty minutes, three times a week for at least three months can slow bone loss in osteoporosis, lower blood pressure, lessen anxiety, improve sleep, increase functional mobility and balance, enhance circulation, and improve one’s cholesterol profile. The best part is that tai chi is a gentle exercise that can be performed by anyone at any age. A majority of Chinese centenarians are practitioners.
Who You Are: Genetics, Relationships, Love,
Sexuality and Faith
Travel Light, Forgive and Forget
My father taught me this: “Forgiveness is the power that enlivens relationships. Forgiveness keeps life moving forward, creates love and harmony, and makes you spiritually strong.” Once you forgive, you should also forget.
The benefit of this letting go is that you no longer carry your unpleasant experience with you on life’s journey. One unique characteristic of centenarians is that they are quick to forgive and forget. They quickly move on from negative experiences and celebrate the positive ones in their lives. By exercising your power to forgive and forget, you will deepen your relationships, enriching and prolonging your life in the process.
Secrets of Longevity is available in bookstores everywhere and on amazon.com