Secrets of Longevity

September 21, 2018 5 min read

Few things in life give me as much pleasure as finding a well-written, worthwhile book that should have made it onto the best-seller list but didn't. Who wouldn't love the idea of introducing others to what is essentially an undiscovered treasure?

Today's objet trouvé is a 329-page wonder called "Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100" by Dr. Maoshing Ni. For most of us, Dr. Mao is relatively unknown, but in Los Angeles he is the well-respected co-founder and former president of Yo San University, where he teaches both students and practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

In addition to his long list of celebrity patients, what makes Dr. Mao particularly noteworthy is that he is the 38th generation of his family to be a physician. His remarkable book is divided into six separate chapters ("What You Eat," "How You Heal," "Where You Are," "What You Do," "Who You Are" and "Bringing It All Together") that are designed to cover every aspect of enjoying a balanced and healthy life.

When Dr. Mao was a 6-year-old little boy, an accident left him in and out of a coma for several months. Fortunately, his father was a doctor of Chinese medicine and a master of Taoist arts, and both his parents worked tirelessly to help him regain his health. This process included distasteful herbal teas, grueling early-morning tai chi and qi gong practices, daily acupuncture, meditation sessions and specialized foods. This combination of ancient Chinese healing and rejuvenation techniques inspired in him a youthful desire to become a doctor and help others.

While completing his post-graduate residency in Shanghai, Dr. Mao watched the dawn gatherings of elders exercising every day in the local parks, and he became fascinated by their agility, balance, sharp minds, vitality and overall well-being. Their example inspired him to research preventative and restorative approaches to health, which included the science of longevity. Here are a few of his easy-to-follow suggestions:

Diet and Nutrition

—"Eat Less, Live Longer"

—"Weekday Vegetarian, Weekend Carnivore"

—"Ginger Gives You Snap"

Herbs, Remedies, and Elixirs

—Phosphatidylserine, or PS, is a nutrient used in Europe to reverse age-related dementia and memory loss.

—DHEA (dehydropiandrosterone) is a potent immunity booster that helps control autoimmune disorders.

—Ginseng can help the body fight off infection, protect the liver and the heart, normalize cholesterol and blood sugar levels, regulate hormones, and improve cognitive and memory functions.

—Hawthorn can lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar.

Exercise, Lifestyle, and Rejuvenation

—"Long walks beget long life."

—"Beat diabetes with regular exercise."

—"100 million tai chi practitioners can't be wrong."

—A massage is not a luxury item.

Genetics, Relationships, Love, Sexuality and Faith

—"Loving family, long life."

—"Be a good neighbor."

—"Travel light: Forgive and forget."

—"Tool against temptation: Self-respect."

—"There are no greedy centenarians."

For baby boomers who are genuinely interested in staying healthy or getting healthier, I can't think of a better resource than any of Dr. Mao's books, all of which are available on Amazon. After all, who doesn't have the time to benefit from knowing that artichokes are a powerful liver protector (because of their flavonoid silymarin), or that people who eat more than five apples a week have better lung function than those who eat no apples, or that prunes have the highest oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) of any fruit?

Bravo, Dr. Mao!

Marilyn Murray Willison has had a varied career as a six-time nonfiction author, columnist, motivational speaker and journalist in both the U.K. and the U.S. She is the author of The Self-Empowered Woman blog and the award-winning memoir "One Woman, Four Decades, Eight Wishes." She can be reached at To find out more about Marilyn and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

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