I've learned through all the reading I've done, that you have to be really careful not to get swayed by some underlying product that's being sold. So often, the information presented while still (usually) factual is often slanted to support a particular diet or fitness trend. That's why I was so delighted when I came across The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden, Ph. D., C.N.S. (Fair Winds Press, 2007). It's not a new book, so many of you may already be familiar with it. I've seen it several times at the book store, but on a recent jaunt to the local Barnes & Noble for my daughter to select her next Vampire series book, I had a lot of time on my hands. So, I got a cup-a-joe and found a chair in which to chill. Beside me and my chair was a display of "diet and nutrition" books. So, I picked up The 150 book and began to read.
A tagline on the cover reads, "The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What You Should Eat and Why." I'm thinking okay, "that may be an over promise." But, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it pretty much was that—an unbiased presentation of information on 150 really healthy foods.
Of course Jonny Bowden is wanting to sell the book. It does come with a free CD and it pitches his website http://www.jonnybowden.com/ where he has all kinds of health-related goods and books for sale. But, as far as the book itself goes, it's a great resource on healthy foods you should be eating and why.
The book is organized into 14 chapters each on a different food area—Vegetables; Grains; Beans and Legumes; Fruits; Nuts, Seeds, and Nut Butters; Soy Foods; Dairy; Meat, Poultry, and Eggs; Fish and Seafood; Specialty Foods; Beverages; Herbs, Spices, and Condiments; Oils; and Sweeteners.
From the onset, Bowden makes it very clear that these are not the only foods good to eat. He just feels of all the foods out there, these are probably the healthiest for us. Among the 150 he's selected, some are given stars which denote foods that he feels are "superstars" in their area and deserve some special recognition.
For each food, Bowden presents in a very readable and informal manner the science behind the food, what's been reported/researched on its health benefits as well as some background about the food in various cultures. For example, did you know that broccoli is a member of the brassica family of cruciferous vegetables? You know, bok choy, cabbage, kale, and Swiss chard. Broccoli is "vegetable royalty" because it's an excellent source of a family of anti-cancer phytochemicals called isothiocyanates which fight cancer by neutralizing carcinogens (the "bad guys"). Bowden continues by listing the healthy benefits of broccoli specific to women (helps reduce risk of breast and cervical cancer). He continues with other nutritional benefits apart from it's cancer fighting accolades (good source of protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and lutein).
He also gives little "Worth Knowing" factoids that are pretty interesting to know. For example, did you know that carrots got a really bad and totally underserved rap by the low-carb folks because of their high glycemic index? Bowden continues the factoid by saying, " Actually, the glycemic index isn't very important—the glycemic load is. The glycemic index tests are done on a 50-g portion of carbohydrate, whereas the load tests are done on real-life portions. A carrot has only about 4g of carbohydrate, so its glycemic load—the only number that matters— is ridiculously low (about 3 on a scale of 0-40+). You'd have to eat a ton of carrots to get a significant rise in blood sugar."
Another thing that impressed me is that the majority of the 150 foods are ones that the average person is going to be purchasing. It's not loaded with a ton of exotic foods that you'd have to go to the Kingdom of Tonga to get. There were some that were new to me, and that's good. I like exploring new foods, but as for a resource, I want information on readily available foods—The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth does that.
So we left Barnes & Noble with Vampire and foodie books in hand. (Blood wasn't on the list of 150 foods.) I'm thinking the cast of Twilight may want to pick up a copy. They're looking kind of pale.
Check out The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Having this book may just change what goes on your next grocery shopping list.
Note: I purchased a copy of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth with personal funds. No payment or endorsement of any kind was involved with the review of the book. My review is strictly an independent review based on my opinion of the book.