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A book titled "Aging with Grace" by Dr. David Snowdon is on the left. Text on the right reads "1-Minute Book Review" above an image of 10 almonds in the bottom right corner. The book discusses lessons from the Nun Study about longevity and meaningful living for healthy aging.

Aging with Grace – by Dr. David Snowdon

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First, what this book is not: a book about Christianity. Don’t worry, we didn’t suddenly change the theme of 10almonds.

Rather, what this book is: a book about a famous large (n=678) study into the biology of aging, that took a population sample of women who had many factors already controlled-for, e.g. they ate the same food, had the same schedule, did the same activities, etc—for many years on end. In other words, a convent of nuns.

This allowed for a lot more to be learned about other factors that influence aging, such as:

  • Heredity / genetics in general
  • Speaking more than one language
  • Supplementing with vitamins or not
  • Key adverse events (e.g. stroke)
  • Key chronic conditions (e.g. depression)

The book does also cover (as one might expect) the role that community and faith can play in healthy longevity, but since the subjects were 678 communally-dwelling people of faith (thus: no control group of faithless loners), this aspect is discussed only in anecdote, or in reference to other studies.

The author of this book, by the way, was the lead researcher of the study, and he is a well-recognised expert in the field of Alzheimer’s in particular (and Alzheimer’s does feature quite a bit throughout).

The writing style is largely narrative, and/but with a lot of clinical detail and specific data; this is by no means a wishy-washy book.

Bottom line: if you’d like to know what nuns were doing in the 1980s to disproportionally live into three-figure ages, then this book will answer those questions.

Click here to check out Aging with Grace, and indeed age with grace!

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