I’ve read several books on health in the last year, but perhaps the most important for me was “How Not To Die” by Dr Michael Greger.
He addresses a whole range of diseases, including cancer, dementia, heart disease and strokes, gathering a mass of published evidence from medical trials. His conclusion is that it is possible to reduce the chances of getting these diseases, primarily by a change in diet.
“Most deaths in the United States are preventable, and they are related to what we eat.”
“The one unifying diet found to best prevent and treat many of these chronic diseases is a whole-food, plant-based diet, defined as an eating pattern that encourages the consumption of unrefined plant foods and discourages meats, dairy products, eggs and processed food.”
As far as I can, I’ve followed his advice, along with that from other sources, although I must admit to two areas where I’ve not stuck to his advice. He’s not keen on alcohol, and although I’ve reduced consumption, I enjoy a glass of red wine too much to give it up. I can partly justify as much of the advice from different sources also says that wellbeing and positive attitude are important to health, and for me the wine is part of the enjoyment of life.
The second area where I stray is eating processed and fried/baked foods. I really like bean burgers, and I love sweet potato fries, and in my mind, at least they are vegetable in origin. I just don’t have the interest or enthusiasm to make all my meals from basic ingredients.
But I’ve almost completely avoided dairy (and the hormones which he says encourage cancer growth) and eggs (“Men who eat an egg every 3 days have 80% increased risk of dying from prostate cancer.”)
Each day, I now try to include in my diet a cruciferous vegetable (usually red cabbage), legumes (often houmous, or baked beans), some other fruit and veg, oatmeal, flaxseed, and so on.
And I take supplements to be sure I get enough vitamin B12, Iodine, and Long-chain Omega 3 (in algae oil).
The book is well worth reading, and in 450 pages has a mass of useful information about each specific disease and how to reduce the chances of getting it. So if the size of the book seems forbidding, you can just zero in on a particular concern, eg the chapter on “How not to die from Diabetes” or “How not to die from brain diseases”.How Not To Die: Discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease
How Not To Die gives effective, scientifically-proven nutritional advice to prevent our biggest killers – including heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes – and reveals the astounding health benefits that simple dietary choices can provide.
Based on the latest scientific research, the internationally bestselling How Not To Die examines each of the most common diseases to reveal what, how and why different foods affect us, and how increasing our consumption of certain foods and avoiding others can dramatically reduce our risk of falling sick and even reverse the effects of disease. It also shares Dr Greger’s ‘Daily Dozen’ – the twelve foods we should all eat every day to stay in the best of health.