National Geographic Foods for Health
Barton Seaver and P.K. Newby, Sc.D., M.P.H.
2013 / National Geography Society
Review by Kathy Parsons
National Geographic Foods for Health is an amazing sourcebook of information about the origins of 150 featured foods, where they come from now, tips for choosing and buying the healthiest choices, preparation suggestions (no actual recipes), nutritional guidance and detailed information about the health benefits (or lack of them) of each food, and how the growth and harvesting of each food impacts the environment. Each chapter is organized alphabetically by individual foods, and the chapters are: vegetables, fruits, proteins, whole grains, fats and oils, and beverages. This guidebook is about as complete as it can be. It does not go into processed foods (other than by mention) - these are all whole foods in their most natural state. I thought I knew quite a bit about food and nutrition, but I’ve learned something new on almost every page. The writing is very interesting and succinct, but is a real powerhouse of information. Being a National Geographic book, there are tons of full color photos that are rich enough to make your mouth water. The way the book is organized, it’s very easy to browse around reading the articles you are most interested in, but I have also thoroughly enjoyed reading it from cover to cover. It’s attractive enough for a coffee table book and one that will start many conversations, I’m sure. An example: I knew eating too much meat was bad for our health, but did you know that raising food animals has a devastating impact on the environment as well? Having had an encounter with cancer five years ago, I’ve been reading up on which foods offer the most protection from a recurrence, and this one is very complete in that regard. There is plenty of detailed info about which nutrients are available in which foods and what the best ways to prepare those foods are to preserve those nutrients. This is a book I will keep handy at all times for easy reference and to continue to learn from. It is absolutely excellent from the first page to the last, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Thank you, National Geographic!
September 16, 2014
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Catherine D. McWilliams & Stu Suchit