Book Review: The 17 Day Plan to Stop Aging

Book Review - The 17-Day Plan to Stop AgingAuthor: Dr. Mike Moreno, M.D.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Book Publication: 2012

Reviewed by Susannah Kent

Average human longevity has extended considerably over the last century, from 47 years to a remarkable 80. And while a longer life seems to be a given for many, healthy vibrant old age is unfortunately not. Family physician and author of bestseller The 17 Day Diet, Dr. Mike Moreno has devised a plan he believes will help you “live to see, and more important enjoy your 100th birthday or beyond.”

The 17 Day Plan to Stop Aging is a four-cycle (17 days each to: restore, rebuild, refine, and renew) plan that focuses on lifestyle strategies meant to keep you strong and healthy, out of medical care, and thriving into old age.

Moreno begins by explaining the five major factors of aging: inflammation, oxidative stress, glycation, methylation, and immune impairment, suggesting that if you “control these factors as they apply to every key system in your body [circulatory, respiratory, neurological, immune, digestive, endocrine, musculoskeletal, and reproductive], you’ll be postponing old age.”

In Chapter 2, the five basic anti-aging essentials or building blocks that support healthy aging are described: movement, healthy weight, hydration, no smoking, and supplementation. The effect or lack of each is addressed in more detail in the sections on specific body systems.

Moreno also provides a useful refresher on how each body system works, how aging impacts it, foods and supplements that will help support and enhance the system as we age, and how the five anti-aging essentials affect each system specifically. This is followed by a quiz to help you assess your own current health as regards the particular system in question. With this information in hand you can then begin the 17-day protocol.

The author’s daily plans include suggestions on what to eat, what supplements to take, and what activities to perform. During a day of the Restore Cycle you might do a series of squat jumping jacks when you get up; have a healthy breakfast of oatmeal and blueberries; practise breathing and do some meditation; have a lunch that includes one vegetable high in carotenoids, and try to memorize the licence plate of the car in front of you and see if you can still remember it 10 minutes later. The evening could feature a supper that has vegetables sprinkled with the anti-inflammatory spice turmeric, a 30-minute walk, and doing a crossword puzzle.

While much of what can be found in The 17 Day Plan may be familiar, there is still lots of interesting information to consider. For instance, recent research indicates that when blood levels of selenium decline, as they do with age, “mental functions suffer as well.” The easy solution on Moreno’s plan is eating one Brazil nut a day. And the timid couch potato will rejoice to know that regular physical activity doesn’t have to be a sweat fest at the gym. Hey says, “your body doesn’t know or care whether you take it to a fancy sports club with state-of-the-art equipment, or if you are just taking an extra lap around the block before you walk into a store… you are still incinerating fat, and increasing your muscle mass.” And exercise can improve not only your circulation, but your sex life as well “because of its positive effects on your reproductive system.”

Moreno readily admits there is no magic pill to turn back the clock, but his plan is filled with safe, sensible advice on how to eat better and move more, giving the reader the power to experience an old age that does not have to include prescription medicines, walkers, respirators, or nursing homes.

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