THE BIG 5 … five simple things you can do to live a longer, healthier life
By Dr. Sanjiv Chopra (you might’ve heard of his brother Deepak Chopra) and here’s what good had to say about it:
“The underlying promise of every exciting medical discovery, diet, and exercise program is the same: do this, buy this, or eat this and you will look better, live longer, and be healthier. But few books can make the promise of this one: if you adapt these five simple, virtually-free suggestions, you will live a longer and healthier life, guaranteed.

This is no fad study. Each of the recommendations outlined in this book has been proven by an overwhelming number of tests, trials, and studies to increase health and lifespan. There are no gimmicks, no catches, no ifs, ands, or buts.”

Here’s one of my favorite reader reviews on the same site:

“I really liked this book for its readability and simplicity. If you just want the punchline: 1) Drink coffee (#happyliver). 2) Exercise 30 mins a day (walking is fine. Strength training is added bonus). 3) Get Vitamin D3 (20 minutes of daily sun exposure is best, but D3 supplements are wise for most.) 4) Eat a handful of nuts daily – any kind – and added benefits if it’s after a meal. 5) Meditate 20 minutes a day. It reduces stress, changes your brain (really), and helps you live longer, happier.”
Miami Mike’s favorite takeaways (underlining and bolding are mine for emphasis):
Chapter 1, Coffee—A Cup of Health
Page 20: “for researchers, it’s simply a matter of quantity (not quality) … both the Harvard and Australian studies found valuable outcomes (even with decaf, substantially reducing diabetes) … There are benefits no matter what type of coffee you drink-so long as you drink a fair amount of it.” Dr. Chopra also references “being smarter” using coffee page 26, losing weight with caffeine as a fat burner page 30, “enhancing physical performance” & athletics page 31. Very importantly, the good doctor notes on the bottom of page 35: “tea & colas that contain caffeine have not been shown to have all the remarkable health benefits of coffee.”
Chapter 2, The Mysterious Case of Vitamin D:
Page 49 “vitamin D has an effect on just about all of the systems of the body … actually, by definition vitamin D is a hormone, meaning it is a substance produced by an organ-in this case the skin-that travels throughout the bloodstream … In 1971, it was reclassified in scientific terminology as vitamin D3 hormone.” Throughout this chapter, Dr. Chopra enumerates vitamin D benefits for men preventing prostate cancer and women breast cancer, as well as many common diseases: high blood pressure, heart, diabetes, Alzheimer’s … pages 67-69. Living longer and staying healthier, losing weight, and dosage amounts (supplements versus sunshine itself), makes up the remainder of this chapter.
Chapter 3, concerning exercise benefits is the shortest chapter in the book, I think by good design, because don’t we all know the substantial benefits and absolute necessity for consistent high-quality exercise? I know I’m biased, but I would skip through this chapter and instead read my book The GOD FOOD DIET, chapter 10, DIET & XRZE, two 4-letter words …

Chapter 4, Nuts to You!

Pages 129-130: “throughout history civilization knew that nuts tasted good … now linked to an array of health benefits, including lowering the risk of developing heart disease (and cancer), lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improve men’s reproductive health and even-contrary to the common belief – help individuals lose rather than gain weight! The exception to that is the peanut, arguably the most popular of all nuts, which is actually a legume, a close relative to peas and beans …” Page 143 – “the most unexpected discovery appears to be that eating nuts may help people either lose weight or maintain their current weight … nuts can help to stabilize insulin and suppress hunger.”

Chapter 5, Meditate Once a Day -Twice
Page 155 – this opening paragraph says it all –

“there is a story told about a very learned man who once was asked,” what have you gained from meditation?”
The wise man shook his head and responded, “nothing … but let me tell you what I lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”

This is just great I think, but to get started describing this chapter in my own terms, I decided to look up a simple explanation of meditation in Webster’s: a long deep thought (often religious).
Dr. Chopra describes many forms of meditation including the well-known TM (transcendental meditation), yoga, Buddhism, and common elements including mantras, relaxation & breathing techniques, and much more including the happy, healthy, anti-aging benefits associated with meditation. I’m glad to see him end the chapter, page 189, including personal or informal prayer with the words “prayer might also lead to deep thought and relaxation.” That is certainly what works for me on a daily basis (usually more than twice a day).

Dr. Sanjiv Chopra is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. For 12 years he was the Faculty Dean for Continuing Education at Harvard Medical School. He is also a bestselling author and sought-after motivational speaker. He has seven books, including The Big Five, Live Longer, Live Better, Brotherhood, Leadership by Example, and Dr. Chopra Says.