I saw this article on my Beachbody site so I decided to get this book and give it a shot.
The World’s Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan. GMF Publishing, $39.95.
There’s no shortage of information out there about healthy foods. Everywhere you look, someone’s telling you to eat this superfood or that superfood. It’s all great advice, but most of the time, there’s not a lot of follow-through. Thanks for the tip on the benefits of seaweed but how exactly am I supposed to prepare kelp, anyway? And yes, I know watermelon is good for me, but everytime I get one, it’s all mealy and gross inside!
So big kudos to George Mateljan for assembling The World’s Healthiest Foods, in my opinion the world’s ultimate resource for which foods are healthy, what’s healthy about them, how to pick them, and how to prepare them.
This 880-page book features 100 foods divided into vegetables and salads; fruits; fish and shellfish; nuts and seeds; poultry and lean meats; beans and legumes; dairy and eggs; whole grains; and herbs and spices. Mateljan picked the foods based on six criteria: They had to be nutrient-rich. They had to be whole foods. They had to be familiar foods. They had to be readily available. (Seaweed is a lot easier to find in stores than you’d think.) They had to be affordable. And they had to taste good.
That last one is slightly subjective, but if you can’t find a dozen staples that you like out of the 100 foods listed in this book, there’s really no point in your eating at all; you might as well just go on a hunger strike, saving the brown rice and walnuts for those of us who want to lead long, healthy lives.
Each food entry is divided into several sections. You get a complete nutritional breakdown, including vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, amino acids, fatty acids—the works. There’s a section that explains the various aspects of the food, including varieties; peak season; how to pick, store, and prepare it; and potential negative aspects (or “biochemical considerations”). Entries then go into even more detail on the health benefits and feature a simple, yummy recipe or two. The recipes include little “Flavor Tips” that suggest how to tweak the ingredients to suit your tastes. It’s a neat idea that I’m surprised doesn’t show up in more cookbooks.
Foods that might be considered controversial, including soybeans and milk, feature an extended Q&A section that addresses all the issues.
This book should be required reading for any healthy eater, whether you’re new to the practice or you’re a veteran food nerd and you want to Dig Deeper regarding the stuff you’ve been buying at the farmers’ market all these years. Odds are The World’s Healthiest Foods will become a centerpiece of your cookbook collection.