Healthy Aging Naturally

16 October 2020

Healthy Aging Naturally: Proven Strategies for Disability-free Longevity
by Felix Veloso, M.D.
Published by YNWP
Review by Shelley A. Leedahl
$18.88 ISBN 9-781988-783604

The 2019 UN World Population Prospect report suggested that by 2050, 25% of the North American and European populations may be 65 or older. Clearly, now’s the time to address what an aging population will mean for society, and how those of us approaching our “golden years” can live happier and healthier lives as we age.

University of Saskatchewan professor, author, and neurologist, Dr. Felix Veloso, brings more than 40 years of expertise to the subject, and I found his well-researched book, Healthy Aging Naturally: Proven Strategies for Disability-free Longevity, full of vital information and interesting statistics. Furthermore, he’s wisely structured his book with a conversational through-thread – between “Dr. Ferurojo” and patient “Anita Tykinlee” – so readers feel they are actually part of a story. Tykinlee asks the questions we might ask if we were in a doctor’s office, concerned about our own or an aging loved one’s health, and Ferurojo/Veloso does an exceptional job of answering her questions in an easy-to-understand, conversational style while also organically inserting the scientific facts – and quoting numerous studies from around the globe – to support the answers. There’s a lengthy Notes section crediting original sources, a helpful Glossary, and even “Suggestions for Additional Reading”. It’s an altogether brilliant package.

Dr. Veloso covers wide-ranging subjects, including diet and the many benefits of tea, exercise (special attention’s given to Tai Chi, of which he’s a strong proponent), sleep, immunization, elder abuse, and falls. As my own father, in his late 80s, is falling frequently, it was noteworthy to read that this is in fact normal: “Nearly one in three Canadians aged 65 or older fall every year”. In the chapter “FallSafe,” Dr. Veloso discusses risk factors – including “Fall anxiety” – and prevention.

I enjoyed learning about the world’s five “Blue Zones,” where “people live statistically longest” and many follow a Mediterranean-style diet. I didn’t know that a study’s proven that consuming “hot-spicy foods promote[s] healthy longevity;” that drinking tea “reduces death after a heart attack by up to 44%;” or that several studies have determined that there’s a correlation between regular exercise and cancer prevention, progression, and recurrence.

Lack of sleep is an issue many experience, and Dr. Veloso breaks down how “Sleep Slows Senescence”. He shares an anecdote about an otherwise healthy young Chinese man who “died after going 11 days without sleep as he attempted to watch every game in the 2012 European Soccer Championship”. Every living organism sleeps, from “microscopic cyanobacteria to gigantic blue whales to massive sequoia trees”.

This 2020-published book also address COVID-19, and delivers advice on how best to protect oneself from the global virus. As well, it addresses the efficacy of vaccination, “one of the greatest advances in public health in the history of mankind,” and puts vaccination risk into dramatic perspective: There’s a “1 in 1,000,000 risk of death for all types of vaccinations” compared to “1 in 6,250” for driving, and “1 in 100,000” for dancing!

Dr. Veloso’s remarkable handbook for healthy living is a tremendously enjoyable resource.


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