When I heard Cameron Diaz speak at an intimate gathering of meditators, I was blown away by her passion and knowledge of the science of aging. Since then, I've been waiting for her second book, The Longevity Book, and was thrilled to get my hands on an early copy.
Cameron’s first tome, The Body Book, was a primer for how to eat and move for total wellness, with a blend of science and holistic health. So what motivated this second book? When she was peppered with nonstop questions about her age on the eve of turning 40, Cameron realized just how scared society is of (and ill-prepared for) the aging process. Especially when it comes to women.
But as she reached her 40s, Cameron still looked and felt pretty good—and was more focused on a midlife celebration than a midlife crisis.
So she wrote The Longevity Book for a slightly older woman than The Body Book. Whether you’ve found the first gray hair (or a hair in an unexpected place), are going through menopause, or are easing into your 70s, the book will empower you, help you understand what's going on in your body, and inspire you to live a healthier life.
What I love about both of Cameron’s books is that she approaches these topics with a tone that's in tune with a modern psychology—in sharp contrast to typical women’s lifestyle media. What does that mean? You're not going to find “anti-aging” strategies, tips to look 25 years younger, prescriptions for Botox, or ridiculous Photoshopping in this book.
What you will find is intimate glimpses into Cameron’s life, morning routines, and philosophy along with easy-to-digest science and expert opinions. Cameron’s pillars of health focus on rest, nutrition, and movement, which is in alignment with mindbodygreen and our approach to health and wellness. She also adds in some red wine, meditation, and laughter.
You’ll finish the book feeling more informed about the natural process of aging and excited to make changes to help you thrive now … and decades into the future.
Here are 11 ways The Longevity Book enlightened and inspired me:
1. “Beauty appreciates, not depreciates. It grows, not fades. With age, I have developed a more nuanced understanding of what beauty really is. Beauty is not just something you are born with. Beauty is something you grow into.”
2. “What I’d like for you to be aware of as you take that journey is that aging isn’t just about your face (your neck, or your upper arms, or your hands, or …); It’s about your whole body. And how you take care of your whole body will affect each and every one of your parts, inside and out.”
3. “Gray has become a metaphor for hiding or embracing aging for fashion or statement, but it is purely biological at its basis. Like cellulite and wrinkles, gray hair is the result of a cellular reaction to time and to your environment.”
4. “We spend a good portion of our lives asleep—or trying to sleep—and the quality of that time spent sleeping determines our mood and our mental sharpness, and not just the next morning but the next years of our life. Because sleep is not just a by-product of being awake. It is a wholly other way of being that heals our bodies and our minds.”
5. “The balance of its components—rest, nutrition, and movement—is what I have found to be the perfect formula for getting me energized, excited, and ready for the day ahead. “
6. “The most exciting discovery we made about how women can age longer and stronger is that eating well, working out regularly, reducing stress, getting enough rest—and even enjoying a glass or two of red wine—are the cornerstones of health and vitality.”
On the Microbiome
7. “Microbiome research is still evolving, but it looks like the same behaviors that we know prime us for unhealthy aging—eating processed foods, being sedentary, smoking, or being chronically stressed out—may also decrease diversity in our microbiome.”
8. “The microbiome can even play a role in stress-related diseases of the central nervous system, like depression and anxiety. In the future, we may see therapies for mood disorders that have microbiome-modifying factors. In fact, some emerging therapies for depression use electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve to trigger changes in the brain.”
On the Brain and Aging
9. “Levels of serotonin neurotransmission decrease with aging, making it harder for our brains to 'read' serotonin’s message. Exposure to daylight and exercise are natural ways to enhance serotonin production, which is one reason why spending time outside in the summertime or getting in a good workout (or even better, going for a run or a hike outdoors) put you in such a great mood. The happy effect of serotonin is important, because your mood has an impact on your longevity.”
10. “The two major risk factors for Alzheimer’s are age and gender: At age 65 and older, women have almost double the risk of Alzheimer’s as men. Nearly two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women.”
11. “Women on average, have longer telomeres than men, and some scientists believe this is part of why women live longer than men.”