The Longevity Paradox — Summary and Review

The Longevity Paradox Book Cover

The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age (The Plant Paradox)

by Dr. Steven Gundry

Published: 2019 | 384 pages
Rating Amazon:  stars rating 4.5 
Rating by reviewer:  stars rating 4.4 
Author of the article: Abdul Saboor Khaliq
Date of the summary: Jun 20, 2020

This is a book on how to live healthier and longer, without inflammation and other health problems. Great emphasis is on diet and bacteria in the gut.

The Longevity Paradox Book Cover

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Introduction

This summary of the book "The Longevity Paradox; How to die young at a ripe old age" is written in an attempt to allow the readers to adopt a healthy lifestyle ensuring longevity by taking time out of hustle and bustle of their lives and reading this quick summary in a few minutes. The book is a real eye-opener to all the things we have been doing wrong in our mundane lives. The good part is that it still gives hope to all the readers from all age groups and geographical regions. Adopt this healthy lifestyle starting from today, and live a healthy life.

In this book, The Longevity Paradox, the writer has explained the key factors needed to live a healthy life free of ailments even at ripe old age in the most eloquent yet palatable way for us readers. According to the writer, age is just a number, and it doesn't define the quality of life and health. The writer has put a great deal of emphasis on the microbiome hoarding our bodies, mostly in the gut, thus calling them the 'gut bacteria.' Just like there are both good and bad fish in every pond, every living gut has good and bad bacteria residing in it. But it is totally on us which of the two we want in our gut. The writer has given a complete lifestyle which we can adopt to live long and stay hale and hearty. And for our convenience, he has made a proper time table and schedule of all our routine activities from diet to walking and exercise. In the end, he has even given a list of organic and natural food products that are beneficial to our bodies and recipes of healthy yet delicious dishes. All that is left for us to do is to adopt this plan to stay healthy.

Interesting quotes from the book

You are not what you eat; you are what your gut buddies digest. And they can digest only the specific food they have evolved to recognize and process for you. On the Longevity Paradox program, you are going to start eating for your gut buddies instead of for yourself, and they will repay the favor in spades.

— Dr. Steven Gundry, The Longevity Paradox


Some of my patients don't like the idea that tiny one-celled organisms can control the mood, emotion, and will power of a ‘higher’ creature such as human beings. They want to believe that they are in charge of their brains. Well, I’m sorry but you are going to have to get over it. You are nothing more than a transport vehicle and condominium for your microbiome. You might as well give them what they want.

— Dr. Steven Gundry, The Longevity Paradox


As Hippocrates famously and wisely said, 'All disease begins in the gut.' The good news is that all the disease can be stopped there as well.

— Dr. Steven Gundry, The Longevity Paradox


Summary of the book The Longevity Paradox

Grab a cup of tea, or green tea, and be all cozy and sit in a time machine, and let's go millions of years back to understand the evolution of life as we know today. Life began with the single-celled prokaryotic bacteria, which did not even use oxygen to grow. They used hydrogen sulfide, a gas that is toxic to us, to fulfill their needs. And oxygen was lethal for them. And when the changes in Earth's environment resulted in the rising levels of oxygen, these bacteria found themselves in an imminent need of protection against the evil oxygen, and they did so by improvising and developing a two-way relationship with their host cells. They used the bodies of their host, to have shelter and food, and in return, provided their host with energy. And with all the energy, came good and big things, that makes sense, right? Their hosts evolved into newer beings. Many of the bacteria reside inside the gut of animals since the gut is an organ hidden deep inside the organisms, safe from all the deadly oxygen, hence mimicking the earlier anaerobic environment. This is how, dear readers, we came into being! With a trillion of bacteria residing inside us. From now on, every time you say 'I,' you mean 'you' and all the bacteria boarding in you. Sounds funny, right? But that is how it is. And to add a little icing on the cake, allow me to tell you that the total DNA you have, is made up of a whole lot of foreign DNA, and that too the DNA of tiny simpler organisms, such as bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. And it is through all this DNA the bacteria communicate with you. When it comes to your health, you really should be thinking of the health of all the foreign buddies living inside you . Their fate is your fate after all. Now don't be all confused and perplexed, thinking how can things this tiny be the boss of you. But Hey! Don't worry! You still get to be the boss, since you are going to provide an environment for your gut buddies to thrive and bad bacteria to wither .

The work network of gut buddies

To understand the lifestyle that we should adopt for longevity, we should first know the working of our little pals in the gut. What things are hazardous to them and what their raw material is. They work through their extensive connection with the mitochondria in our cells . The writer has referred the mitochondria as sisters to the gut bacteria because of their cruciality in one another's life.

The poison for gut buddies

Our present Western lifestyle, harms our gut buddies, therefore to us, leading to poor quality of life and shorter life span. Our gut buddies digest the food for us, thereby making it available for us. Not only has our diet failed to provide our gut buddies with the necessary raw material, but also it has been killing the gut buddies and promoting the bad bacteria over the years. Sure, you will say what about the advancements we have made over the years? Some of these very advancements are killing the gut buddies hence you. Frightening, right?

  • Unchecked use of broad-spectrum antibiotics is just an example.
  • Glyphosate not only kills the bacteria but also kill their ability to produce phenylalanine and tryptophan, the two essential amino acids which are the basic ingredients for thyroid hormone and mood-elevating serotonin and endorphins. It also reduces the ability of the liver to convert the vitamin into its active form leading to vitamin D deficient state in the body, and you know very well what happens to bones and cartilage when there is deficient vitamin D.
  • Triclosan, found in hand sanitizers, soap, deodorants, is killing your gut buddies. It also acts like estrogen in the body and stimulates precancerous cells to divide profusely.
  • The bad gut bacteria love simple sugars, even if it is coming from fruits. They thrive on all sorts of simple sugars. That explains why saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose present in artificial sweeteners is harming your bodies.

The raw material for gut buddies

Speaking of raw material, the gut bacteria feel merry to work on simpler substances, such as oligosaccharides and galactooligosaccharides found in breast milk. They also love food containing hyaluronic acids, such as tubers and sweet potato.

The optimal work-station for gut buddies

We all work a little better when given a deadline to finish a job. The deadline is just a stressor. The same goes for gut buddies. They work better under a little stress, which you can provide by restricting calories to let's say 900 Calories a day for a few days in a week.

Inflammation-the big culprit

We all have heard of the word "inflammation" at least once in our lives, and we are aware that it is of no good for any of our bodies. The writer has explained it further so that we can understand where the root of problems lies and deal with it accordingly. It all begins with a breach in the gut mucosa, which serves as a fence for our body. This breach lets the bad substances such as lectins and LPS in, and the cytokines, which are the 'cops' of our body, in return, start the inflammatory response. This forms the bases of disease in all the organs of the body, such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes, rapid aging, and almost all the auto-immune diseases. The writer agrees with the role of genetic predisposition of diseases such as cardiac diseases, obesity, arthritis, and auto-immune diseases but believes that it is really in our control to alter the course of these diseases once any of them manifests itself. Some of the agents causing inflammation and ulcers in the gut are:

  • NSAIDs
  • PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) such as Zantac, Nexium
  • Lectin
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • WGA (wheat germ agglutinin): It gets absorbed through the intact mucosa and causes inflammation in the kidney. It also mimics insulin leading to muscle and neuronal wasting, thus causing peripheral neuropathies, Parkinsonism, and other lethal diseases.

MYTHS FOR A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Let us take a quick dive into the things we have been thinking as healthy for us but are only doing us damage.

Myth: Mediterranean diet

We all have grown old thinking Mediterranean diet of the people living in Blue Zones is the key to stay young. And we all perhaps have been using loads of grains to mimic the Mediterranean diet. Dear readers, allow me to debunk this tiny myth for you that grains only do us damage. Other things in their diet that are so enriching that they even compensate for the grains they have been eating along. Some of these things are as follows:

  1. Nuts and soybeans
  2. Corn, tortillas, beans
  3. Fish and goat meat and milk
  4. Olives and olive oil
  5. Coconuts, taro roots, purple sweet potatoes, and anchovies

You must be a bit surprised to see so many starches in the list of good things. They are not regular unhealthy starches. They are resistant-starches. Our bodies can't convert them into lethal sugars. Thus, eating them does not promote bad bacteria and inflammation. On the contrary, our gut buddies love resistant starches. They get short-chain fats, acetate, propionate, and butyrate from them.

Myth: Animal protein is essential for strength and longevity:

Animal proteins have been promoted as a healthy diet, but the truth is otherwise. Researches have shown animal proteins to be the cause of early aging and Alzheimer's disease. You need protein, and you should get it from plant resources.

Myth: Growth hormones promote youthfulness

We have always considered growth hormones to be the cause of all the charm, but some researches have shown that people with fewer levels of growth hormones tend to live longer. People living in blue zones have shorter stature and lower levels of growth hormones are an example.

Myth: A high metabolic rate is a good sign

Over stressing yourselves is just going to exhaust your muscles and vital organs like the heart and does no good.

Myth: You need iron with advancing age

We have always been taught by our culture to take iron supplements as we age. But the truth is that iron in excess disrupts mitochondrial functions and forms the basis of many diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinsonism, and Lou Gehrig's disease. We are well familiar with how women lose iron in their monthly cycles, and they live longer than men.

Myth: Saturated fats are bad guys

The key to remember here is to avoid saturated fats like animal fats and take unsaturated fats like plant oils, olive oil.

Myth: Milk does good to body

We have always been told that milk is healthy, but Hey! Isn't it all lactose, a simple sugar? Also, milk has got casein A1, which is an inflammatory protein. Only goat milk is suitable since it has the benign casein A2.

You can cure diseases as simple as a headache (they can be the indication of a serious hemorrhage) to as complex as multiple sclerosis by just controlling what you eat and a few things in your lifestyle. The key is to avoid substances that promote the bad bacteria, kill the good ones, and cause inflammation in the gut lining or anywhere in the body. Extensive researches have been made in the domain of heart diseases by cardiologists. It has now been proved that the plaques blocking the coronary arteries are just autoimmune reactions against lectins binding the lectin binding protein N-acetylneuraminic acid. Cholesterol is not doing any damage to the human body. The real culprits are TAGs, and we all know that consuming starch and simple sugars raise the TAG level because sugars are converted into these TAGs. You really can be 75 years old and have the bones, cartilages, and muscles of an active athlete just by eating the right things and including exercises in your daily routine. Science has now discovered that humans can even regenerate neurons at old age because the raw material necessary to do so is present in old age too. To avoid all sorts of complex neurological diseases, you just have to stay clear of the substances causing inflammation. The cause of Multiple Sclerosis is demyelination of the neurons, which is due to our immune system attacking the myelin sheaths because our gut buddies are not producing polysaccharides. Our gut buddies have even known to control our mood by generating raw material for hormones like serotonin, endorphins, etc.

The Longevity Paradox Foods

After explaining the physiology of normal body mechanics, the pathophysiology of diseases, and the role of gut bacteria in the most eloquent yet simple way, the writer tells us all the food we should be eating and the edibles we should be avoiding.

GOOD AND BAD FOOD

PREBIOTICS

These are the fibrous long-chain sugars on which the probiotics (gut buddies) feed. These include tubers such as tiger nuts, yam, chicory, mushrooms, jicama, sweet potatoes, taro root (cassava), yucca, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, radicchio, artichokes, and Belgium endive, and are all good sources of prebiotics.

GROUND FLAXSEED

Flax seeds are beneficial because of their prebiotic nature and a significant amount of lignans in it. Lignans are a type of polyphenol. They also have copious amounts of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid, which supports the gut against inflammation. Use caution while using them since they lose all their good qualities once oxidized. Keep them at cool temperatures.

ARTICHOKES

They are a rich source of multivitamins, minerals, and prebiotic fibers.

LEEKS

Add them to salad and TADA it all becomes delicious and full of prebiotics.

OKRA

Looking for vitamin C and zinc to boost your immunity? Okra is the choice for you.

JICAMA

Oranges become just an overrated source of vitamin C in front of Jicama.

CRUICEFEROUS VEGGIES

Broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts have loads of fibers, polyamines, vitamin B1, B2, B6, C, K, potassium, zinc, and magnesium.

THE CHICORY FAMILY

The veggies in this group not only give a conspicuous appearance to your salads but also provide you with ‘INULIN', the favorite diet of your gut buddy, Akkermansia.

NUTS

When it comes to nuts, there are good and bad both just like the good and bad bacteria. The good ones provide you with butyrate and polyamines to support your gut and mitochondria.

Good nuts include:

  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia
  • Nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pistachios

Got quite a variety in this domain, eh?

Bad nuts include:

  • Cashew
  • Peanuts

MUSHROOMS

Who doesn't like his fish with mushroom sauce and salads with the chopped mushroom? Mushrooms are sure to provide you with glutathione, ergothioneine, polyphenols, and polyamines. Just stay clear of the death cap and amanita.

FRUITS

In the domain of low sugar fruits, nature has indeed blessed us with quite many. They are enriched with monounsaturated fats, multi-minerals, and vitamins. Some are delicious and a vital part of our fruit salads, while others are used in skin masks and massages.

A list of these low sugar fruits is as under:

  • Avocados
  • Green Bananas
  • Raspberries, blackberries, and mulberries
  • Figs
  • Coconuts

We are all being told by our grandmothers that the more you eat the fruits, the merrier you are. Fruits are simple sugar, aren't they? Simple sugars are the best buddies of bad bacteria, aren't they? From this day onwards I hope we all be able to avoid grapes (except in fermented form), plums, ripe apples, ripe bananas, pineapples, ripe mangoes, peaches, kiwi, nectarines, citrus fruits, apricots, dates, cherries, and pears.

FATS

The anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) are good, but they require salicylic acid for their effect. That is why the intake of 80 mg coated aspirin (salicylic acid) is advised a few times a week. Stay clear of omega 6 fats such as arachidonic acid.

Some good sources are:

  • Fish oil
  • Perilla seed oil
  • MCT oil
  • Olive oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Thrive algae oil
  • Citrus flavored cod liver oil
  • Coconut oil

Bad oils include:

  • Grapeseed oil
  • Corn oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Partially hydrogenated canola oil

DAIRY ALTERNATIVES

You say ‘dairy,' my mind pops up the pro-inflammatory casein A1. Incorporate the goat milk and dairy products as a careful replacement and coconut yogurt for yogurt delight. And to your surprise, ghee is free of casein A1 because of its peculiar way of formation.

PROTEINS

By now, we have been made pretty clear that animal proteins do no good. Some good protein sources are:

  • Tempeh
  • Hemp tofu and hemp seeds
  • Lentils and beans
  • Approved nuts and seeds

SEASONINGS

Avoid commercial salad dressings because those guys are high on simple sugars. Use the following instead:

  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Vinegar
  • Mustard
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Iodized sea salt
  • Red chili pepper flakes

SWEETENERS

Introduce yourselves to the healthy ones:

  • Stevia
  • Inulin
  • Yacon
  • Monk fruit
  • Xylitol

MISCELLANEOUS

Some miscellaneous anti-inflammatory food products include:

  • Millet seeds
  • Coffee seeds
  • Extra dark chocolate

The longevity paradox meal plan

The writer has been very generous to us by giving us a complete plan so that our minds don't have to work much. You can just divide the days of your month into the following

Fat mimicking days

You will eliminate the animal proteins and limit calories to 900 to get the effect of calorie restriction for a month.

Free days

Eat all the calories you want, but just eat what is good for your gut buddies hence you.

Brainwash day

Skip dinner once in a while to give good blood supply to your brain when you sleep.

Optional calorie restriction

If you have got enough will power restrict calories for some of the days to 600.

Intensive care days

If you are suffering from some degenerative disease, give yourself a kick start by adding more of the brainwashing days.

At the end of the book, the writer has given some very delicious and easy recipes made from the good buddies' friendly diet.

THE LONGEVITY PARADOX LIFESTYLE PLAN

Sound health doesn't rely entirely on food. You will have to adopt a whole healthy lifestyle to stay young at a ripe old age.

Let me give you bullet points with brief descriptions to summarize for you:

Exercises

Add exercises like brisk walking, jogging, crunches, planks, squats, and meditations.

Don't overstress

Chronic stress severe in intensity can be the cause of the right ventricular enlargement, heart failure, and arrhythmias. Oner stressing and severe exercises should be avoided at all costs.

Heat up a little

Exposing yourselves to the sauna room or steam room results in the production of heat shock proteins to counter the stress.

Chill yourselves with the breeze

Exposing yourselves to the cool environment once in a while causes the metabolic rate to stabilize and the gut buddies to produce GABA and serotonin.

Sleep

Sleep is a widely studied yet mysterious domain. And this mysterious lady comes with many benefits. It is needed for brainwashing and cleansing. It keeps the levels of ghrelin and leptin in check thus promoting satiety and optimal weight.

Blue screen spectrum

Avoid the blue lights, particularly after night, because they don't influence gut buddies in a good way.

Connect

Having physical intimacy like hugs and kisses with your loved ones provoke the release of endorphins, and you feel relieved. Even having friendly pets do the job.

Supplements

When your diet is deficient in some important food nutrients, you take the supplements in the form of coated oral formulations. There are many Consult physician before taking them.

What can we learn from the book The Longevity Paradox?

Lesson 1: Be good to your gut buddies

You have trillions of bacteria hoarding your gut. They make important raw materials to be used by various organs of your body. They digest the complex food for you. It is only wise for you to provide them with good food and stay away from bad food.

Lesson 2: Learn which foods are good for the body and which are not so good

Foods containing multi-minerals, multivitamins, antioxidants, polyphenols, polyamines, and fibers are all good food. Plant proteins and plant oils also do wonders for health. Simple sugars, lectin-containing food, and foods containing pro-inflammatory substances are all bad food.

Lesson 3: Live a healthy lifestyle

You get to decide what kind of lifestyle you want to adopt to stay happy and healthy. Your lifestyle does not just include dietary habits. It also includes exercises, walks, sleep-wake cycles, and day to day activities. And all these things collectively influence your gut bacteria, and in return, all organs of your body.

Review of the book The Longevity Paradox

In this book, the writer has given a complete guide to living a healthy and long life by narrating all the recent researches and advancements and giving examples of people who have enjoyed a healthy life at a ripe age too. The writer has simplified things for his readers. The book itself clearly states the impact of exercise, stress, and other activities on one's health, but the writer has made it all about gut bacteria. That is the one thing where the book feels like lacking sense. The longevity paradox program has been explained explicitly.

Conclusion

The book is highly recommended for young and old, sick and hearty, and people of all geographic areas. the book gives hope to us all. Our age groups, genders, present health conditions, residencies don't matter. We can still expect a hale and hearty life if we start living by the program from today.


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