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5 of the Best Books to Help You Live a Healthier and Longer Life

These science-backed picks should top your reading list.

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photo collage of books to help boosting your health and longevity
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It seems as if there is a new book published every day that purports to tell us how to live forever or become more stronger/thinner/happier/healthier in 30 days. While all of these promises sound pretty good to me (I mean, how could they not?), when it comes to health information, the source matters. As the former editor of a health magazine, I look for solid, research-backed advice, not fads. Extremes just don’t cut it for me. Oh, and please spare me the books written only for 25-year-olds.

With that in mind, I want to share five books that have proven science behind them. Each offers actionable ways to help lower the risk of disease, stave off cognitive decline, have more energy and even soothe our worried brains. That’s the kind of information I’m on board for.


The Official MIND Diet: A Scientifically Based Program to Lose Weight and Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Dr. Martha Clare Morris

With Laura Morris and Jennifer Ventrelle

Little, Brown Spark

December 26, 2023

According to The National Institute on Aging, the MIND diet, which combines elements of the Mediterranean and DASH diets (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension ), can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. In The Official MIND Diet, Dr. Martha Clare Morris, former director of the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging and the MIND Center for Brain Health at Rush University Medical Center, offers guidance on the nutritional program that she helped create.

The diet itself focuses on leafy green vegetables, berries, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and olive oil. The book includes research on how foods may limit cognitive decline as well as tips to help you stay on track. As a bonus, there are 50 recipes to make minding the MIND diet easy — and yummy.


Honest Aging: An Insider's Guide to the Second Half of Life

Dr. Rosanne M. Leipzig

Johns Hopkins Press

January 10, 2023

Did you really know what to expect as you got older? I’m not sure I did. In Honest Aging, Dr. Rosanne M. Leipzig, a top doctor with more than 35 years of experience, helps us plan physically, psychologically, functionally and emotionally for our upcoming years.

Leipzig, an expert in evidence-based geriatrics, offers guidance for common health concerns, including problems with memory, energy, mood, sleep, incontinence, mobility and falls. There are even tips on gastrointestinal problems, weight and sex — you know, all the things we think about but are sometimes too embarrassed to ask.

Honest Aging includes helpful checklists to bring to your doctor, advice on how to make medical decisions and resources for support. “I think of it like a travel guide for the aging process, something only the lucky ones who make it there get to experience,” said Dr. Diane E. Meier, Director Emeritus and Strategic Advisor, Center to Advance Palliative Care, Professor, Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.


Mayo Clinic on Healthy Aging: An Easy and Comprehensive Guide to Keeping Your Body Young, Your Mind Sharp and Your Spirit Fulfilled

Dr. Nathan K. LeBrasseur and Dr. Christina Chen 

Mayo Clinic Press

January. 9, 2024

While aging itself is inevitable (if we're lucky!) we can exert some control over how we age. This guidebook is chock full of advice from a range of specialists from the Mayo Clinic on how to slow the process. The authors offer evidence-based tips on how to challenge your brain and your body, as well as exercise and diet advice to help you feel your best, find a deeper sense of purpose and become more resilient.

Much of the information comes from Mayo Clinic’s Kogod Center on Aging, which is focused on the goal of increasing human “health span” — the number of years we spend living independently and remaining free of age-related diseases and disabilities. I love the idea of having access to a compendium of experts at my fingertips.


Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, Sexy, and Smart — Until You're 80 and Beyond Paperback — Illustrated

Chris Crowley, Dr. Henry S. Lodge, Dr. Allan J. Hamilton

Workman Publishing Company

December 24, 2019

The Younger Next Year series of books have been go-to sources for solid information on diet, fitness and emotional well-being for, well, years. Now, this volume has been updated with the latest information specifically for older women.

This edition details how a program of exercise, diet and maintaining emotional connections can improve memory, cognition, mood and more. In two new chapters, prominent neurologist Allan Hamilton explains how the program directly affects your brain health. Choose this for easy-to-follow information backed by science.


Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It Paperback

Ethan Kross

Random House

February 1, 2022

Chatter is relevant for all ages, but I think it is particularly useful for women entering, or in, their senior years. While age does bring a certain degree of wisdom, it can also undermine confidence, especially in a world where we are bombarded by messages that tell us youth is all that matters. It is all too easy to internalize those (misguided!) bromides. The book, written by a noted psychologist, offers up research on behavioral science to examine how negative self-talk can harm our health and details ways to rewrite our story through the lens of positivity. I am going to use some of the tips to tell my own inner critic to shut up while I concentrate on all the healthy behaviors — and foods — I just read about.

Also, from AARP, "The Whole Body Reset" is a book with a weight-loss plan for a flat belly and a body you'll love at midlife and beyond.

What healthy habit have you adopted — or tried to adopt — in 2024? Let us know in the comments below.

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