Thursday, February 2, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Book Review: The Big 5 by Dr. Sanjiv Chopra

There was a lot of buzz on Facebook about Dr. Sanjiv Chopra and Gina Vild's soon to be released book, "The Two Most Important Days" inspired by Mark Twain's quote:

In one of the posts, I thought Dr. Chopra was referencing something from his soon to be released book and he corrected me and told me it was from "The Big 5" released in May of 2016. I told my husband that The Big 5 was on my Christmas wish list and he delivered....and so does Dr. Chopra in this life changing book about 5 simple things you can do to live a longer, healthier life.

You need to know that I did not fare well in Research and Statistics in graduate school but Dr. Chopra's presentation of research to support his presentation of why Coffee, Vitamin D, Running or Walking, Nuts and Meditation are 5 simple things we can all do to live a longer, healthier life.

His combination of whimsy, wit and wisdom make this a thoroughly enjoyable read.

"The conventional wisdom is that coffee can cause palpitations and it can cause rhythm problems. I think, though, that conventional wisdom is not always right...." I enjoyed reading about the origins of coffee, the research and his own clinical experiences in the chapter, "Coffee--A Cup of Health."

Isn't that the truth?! How many times in my healing journey of the past 10 years did I have to turn away from conventional wisdom and tune into the wisdom of my own body.

He offers the suggestion that we not be so quick to slather on the sunscreen before going outdoors and goes on to cite evidence that spending time in the sun can actually prevent certain types of cancer. The benefits of Vitamin D and getting Vitamin D from the source (although supplements can be beneficial) which by the way is a hormone not a vitamin, will surprise you!

Ten years ago I was diagnosed with a "progressive neuromuscular disease," Post-Polio Syndrome. The doctors offered a cautionary tale (which I sincerely hope has changed) that if you use it you will lose it. As he does throughout the book, Dr. Chopra posts tidbits of wisdom on a stand alone page, "Exercise is the best 'drug.' It has powerful lifesaving effects for people with serious chronic conditions."

In his chapter, "Run (or Walk) for Your Life," Dr. Chopra cites studies about the mental, physical and emotional benefits of regular exercise. Even for the elderly, exercise decreased mortality and improved functioning. He also cites research that compares running and walking. No spoilers here - you are going to have to read the book to find out the results of the study.

"Nuts to You!" highlights the nutritional benefits of nuts. It's counterintuitive to consider that a high fat food can have tremendous health benefits. Dr. Chopra explains why incorporating nuts into your diet can enrich your life.

In "Meditate Once a Day-Twice" Dr. Chopra shares his personal journey with meditation and the challenge to design research studies that measure the benefits of meditation. However, with enhanced imaging and greater understanding of psychoneuroendocrinology, science is catching up to document the positive effects that meditation has to enhance our quality of life.

The big 5: Coffee, Vitamin D, Exercise, Nuts and Meditation. The gift of a wonderful prescription from Dr. Chopra to each of us to live longer, healthier lives.

To your health and wellness,

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