Who wants to live forever?
Most of us can agree that earthy immortality would drag after the first few centuries, but all of us would prefer to remain in optimum condition during our lives. Though modern medicine is certainly a blessing, the books which follow indicate that we might be better off simply modifying our diets to remain healthy. Without further ado, I present to you what I believe to be the Best Nutrition Books to read.
Jillian Michaels is considered the ultimate fitness guru in today’s exercise circles. Her popular DVDs have had millions of people, mostly women, doing frantic starjumps and lunges in fear of her scalding tongue. The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook does not directly address fitness, instead focusing on foods which can control people’s hormones in order to become more energetic and healthier. It rejects fad diets and aims to increase overall health rather than mere weight loss.
The cookbook contains over 125 recipes which guarantee to enhance nutrition without breaking the bank or taking all day.
Not long ago, many superfoods were rare and almost impossible, whether because they were difficult to harvest, tropically grown or illegal in the US. This has changed within the last hundred years or so, and it has become possible for all of us to sample the wondrous effects of maca, cacao beans and goji berries. In this book, David Wolfe comprehensively explains the health benefits of these foods and the reasons for their glowing reputations. Superfoods also has sections on the history and mythology surrounding those foods.
Roughly 70% of the population have no idea of their blood type. That statistic includes me, my entire family and most of my friends. This ignorance is due mostly to lack of necessity; we have been informed that blood type is important only when donating blood or undergoing a transfusion. However, this book advances the surprising theory that blood type is highly relevant, a major factor in body chemistry, and can dictate a person’s ideal diet.
Dr. D’Adamo explains that eating for our blood types can boost our immune system, leave us less susceptible to certain diseases and increase our ability to handle stress. Readers will discover which category of exercise will best suit their blood type and other interesting facts.
Every parent today seems to spend a fair amount of time in panic mode. To their frazzled brains, every cough or tummy ache could be an outbreak of SARS just waiting to happen. It doesn’t even occur to them that they may be feeding their child the wrong foods.
Written by a nutritionist and a paediatrician, The Food Cure explains how children can suffer from nutritional imbalances, resulting in illness, infections or pain. Parents can look up their child’s symptoms and alter his or her diet accordingly. If parents that treat their children with wholesome food rather than unneeded medications, they can overcome various minor ailments. The children will become more capable and energetic, ready to face the challenges of growing up.
Pierre Dukan’s very name hints that he can whisper the secret of the slim French physique to the rest of us. Perhaps that is why about 3 million people bought his book, tried his diet and gave it a metaphorical round of applause. The Dukan Diet contains four separate phases:
1. Attack. The dieter spends two to seven days eating only a daily bran pancake and unlimited lean protein.
2. Cruise. Dieters eat unlimited lean protein every other day, and the rest of the time can eat protein and healthy vegetables until they reach their True Weight.
3. Consolidation. This diet lasts five days for each pounds lost. Dieters can have unlimited protein and vegetables and are reintroduced to some other foods. They are allowed two ‘celebration meals’ a week during this phase.
4. Stabilisation. Dieters can eat what they like, but must follow three rules, one of which is that they eat only unlimited lean protein one day a week.
Half-way through my best nutrition books list comes a book that tackles common myths and misconceptions about what food is healthy and what is not. Politically Incorrect Nutrition is particularly harsh on fads and fashions. In the first chapter of his book, Barbee takes on the popularity of green tea, marketed as something of a ‘super-antioxidant’. Barbee explains that in its original format, green tea could be healthy. Unfortunately, today it is dangerously saturated with fluoride, which makes drinking green tea in large amounts can result in skeletal fluorosis or hyperthyroidism.
The book goes on to discuss the so-called health benefits of soy and vitamin C and the destructive effect of aspartame and fluoride, as well as dispelling other health and nutrition-related myths. An excellent read.
Wheat Belly recommends eliminating wheat from our diet. This may seem like a drastic measure to some of us, but the book explains how this can benefit our appearances, weight and overall physical health. According to Dr. Davis, up to half the Americans who consume wheat suffer from health problems which are caused or enhanced by the presence of wheat in their diets. This condemnation of wheat is not merely theoretical: Dr. Davis carried out a study on over 2000 patients, documenting the revolutionary changes in their bodies since giving up wheat. He views this sacrifice as the ‘key’ to losing weight and becoming healthier, and hundreds of five-star Amazon reviews are testament to the value of his hypothesis.
None of us like being sick, and this book offers a practical way to strengthen our immune systems through a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, beans and seeds. In a culture which medicates every twinge, Dr. Fuhman’s take on improving resistance to disease by simply altering one’s diet is refreshing. Dr. Fuhrman shares his theory that artificial sweeteners, processed foods and an over-abundance of protein has left our immune systems weakened, leaving us vulnerable to illnesses both commonplace and more severe. Recommended foods span a range of tastes and include black rice, mushrooms and green tea, which promise to significantly reduce the number of days per year spent in illness.
The China Study is a best-selling book which has affected perceptions of diet worldwide. Professor Colin Campbell began to research diet and health in 100 different Chinese villages in an effort to prove that a Western diet rich in protein and dairy was ultimately the healthiest for people. To his surprise, the results of his surveys turned out to be the opposite of his idea, proving that a plant-based diet can prevent many common illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The ex-President of the United States, Bill Clinton, found the China Study so revolutionary that he took up a near-vegan diet in an attempt to reverse his heart disease and lost 24 lbs.
Campbell also speaks against the ‘scientific reductionism’ which attempts to find one key nutrient, a kind of Holy Grail which will solve all problems regardless of lifestyle and diet. His book examines the socio-political context of the food industry. All in all, the China Study is something of a classic, avoiding gimmicks and giving a full and unbiased perspective on the true meaning of eating right.
In Defense of Food discusses the food choices people make in the Western world. We are often fooled by nutrients and calories, failing to realise that the taste of our food may be dictated by its chemical content rather than its natural ingredients. Pollan’s theories are simple, recommending thinking carefully about what we eat and increasing our intake of plants. He calls us to resist the time-saving power of processed foods, instead eating the way our grandparents did and making up the time in a longer and healthier life.
However, this book is not a mere theoretical manifesto, but a practical guide to grocery shopping. Pollan explains the terminology which is so confusing to shoppers, and reminds us that much of the meat we eat is heavily doctored with hormones and antibiotics. He advises us on how to avoid these traps with a practical, common sense approach.
I hope you enjoyed this list of the best nutrition books and if you wish to mention any other great books, feel free to comment in the section below. Here’s to a long, healthy and happy life!