Quick read packed with good advice for a healthy life

Quick read packed with good advice for a healthy life

David B. Agus, M.D., the author of "The End of Illness" and one of the world's leading cancer doctors and researchers, is back with a second small but important book, "A Short Guide to a Long Life."

In his new 190-page book, Agus explains rules to live a healthy life, focusing greatly on prevention and general well-being tips. These are not necessarily new or controversial rules, but Agus presents them quickly and with facts to back them up. Plus, he's a doctor of terminally ill patients, and he often knows what poor lifestyle choices have led his patients to him.

After the introduction, the book is divided into three sections: What to Do, What to Avoid and Doctor's Orders.

In part one about what to do, Agus discusses rules we've all heard before, such as keeping a healthy weight, get a flu shot every year and exercise daily. But some of the other tips are less talked about or well-known and actually easy, such as smiling and being positive, growing a garden, regulating your body (eat and sleep at the same time each day) and finding out your family medical history.

Agus states, "I won't endorse anything that's not backed by well-controlled clinical trials." So, the things he is recommending are backed by research.

This book could quickly turn into one of those where you feel guilty about all the things you are or are not doing. But Agus also states that you have to know your body and your health, and everything should be discussed with your doctor and your family. Besides, how can he be wrong when he suggests we should all have a glass of wine with dinner?

In the what to avoid section, he again goes over some of the typical things we hear, including to avoid bad ingredients (too many preservatives) and fad diets (eating only grapefruit is not good for anyone) as well as protecting our skin from the sun. But he also mentions some points that we may not consider every day, such as stop taking vitamins and replace them with real food, have some downtime each day and don't keep your medical information a secret from your loved ones.

This is actually my favorite section of the book because he gives a few tips on how to stop doing bad things, which seems easier than adding a lot of new things to our lives.

In the Doctor's Orders section, the author provides useful lists for readers, including what should be checked during each decade of life, from blood pressure to dental health to various screenings.

He also writes several Top 10 lists on various subjects, such as the Top 10 Actions to Reduce Your Risk for Illness and Top 10 Reasons To Take a Walk. Even just reading this shortest section, you can get some advice to help you live healthier.

This is a book that could change your life, literally. Even following half the tips can make a huge difference in how you feel each day from feeling more well-rested to less stressed out. Agus also dispels myths — these can at times be even more harmful than having a bad diet. If you are going to check out a new book this summer, "A Short Guide to a Long Life" is a great one to start with.

Margo L. Dill is celebrating the release of her second novel, "Caught Between Two Curses," a young-adult novel exploring love, family and the Curse of the Billy Goat on the Cubs. She also is the author of "Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg," a middle grade historical-fiction novel. She lives in St. Louis with her family.

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