The medical and pharmaceutical industries rake in billions of dollars each year treating diseases and conditions of all types, including a cornucopia of preventable illnesses. It seems as though Hippocrates's suggestion to "let food be thy medicine" hasn't sunk in yet. If only people employed tactics to curb illnesses before they ravage their bodies rather than acting only post-facto, then perhaps illness would cease to spread.
The issue is huge, but the fix is rather simple to reduce the ubiquity of preventable illnesses: you must know what you eat, and eat better. Fortunately, there are plenty of nutrition books assembled by health experts-turned-authors that have channeled their research and advocacy into spreading their knowledge unto those of us who, frankly, don't have enough of it.
Life-Changing Foods by Anthony William
When Anthony was four years old, he shocked his family when he announced at the dinner table that his symptom-free grandmother had lung cancer. Medical testing soon confirmed the diagnosis.
Fruit is healthy. Vegetables are healthy. These aren't groundbreaking conclusions, and I find that people can for the most part intuit which foods make them feel better or worse, at least in a general sense. But that generality is the niche that Anthony William targets in his must read nutrition book Life-Changing Foods. The so-called Medical Medium (yes, in the supernatural sense) breaks down the chemical properties of dozens of foods and indicates their utility in treating symptoms and conditions including chronic migraines, thyroid disease and diabetes. Spoiler alert: oranges offer more than a vitamin C boost.
Follow the author @MedicalMedium
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Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe
He worked with professional swimmers, including Ryan Lochte and Peter Vanderkaay, providing nutritional advice and musculoskeletal work on the athletes to increase their performance.
If you haven't heard the term microbiome, think of your digestive system as a delicate ecosystem that depends on the optimal balance of bacteria to properly digest food, derive nutrition and expel waste. Leaky Gut Syndrome describes a digestive environment whereby microscopic holes develop in your intestinal lining and can leak toxic contents into your bloodstream: Enter illness, preventable health conditions and malnutrition. In his must read nutrition book Eat Dirt, Dr. Josh Axe attributes the surprisingly common occurrence of leaky guts to the increased focus on food sterilization that, while beneficial in many ways, largely restricts our gut microbiomes form important bacteria usually obtained from traces of dirt on produce. The answer? Eat Dirt (don't worry, Dr. Axe elaborates...)
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Longevity Now by David Wolfe
Avocado is his middle name.
I regret to inform you that you suffer from calcification, as do most adults and many children. This commonly occurring excess of calcium is hailed as the root cause for almost all degenerative illnesses and leads to joint pain, hardened arteries, cataracts among many other negative effects. In his must read nutritional guide Longevity Now, David Wolfe outlines his proven methods for illness prevention and provides insight into longevity science: which superfoods best support the immune system and repair underperforming cells to get your body back to its prime, and beyond.
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The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan by David Perlmutter, MD
Many nutrition books for brain health focus on preventative methods for degenerative cognitive illnesses like Alzheimers. I do not intend to insinuate that these books aren't helpful, but as a young twenty-something woman I find it hard to stick to a diet without reaping any immediate, identifiable benefits; my fault, but I digress. Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter sweetens the deal for me in The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan which explains the connection between the brain and the digestive system and makes the case that nurturing your gut promotes brain health, and vice versa. His higher fat, lower carb proposal is a catch-all for keeping your brain performance high, your weight low, and your health optimal. Trust him, he's a doctor.
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Effortless Healing by Dr. Joseph Mercola
The Ultimate Wellness Game Changer
Like anything else, making changes to promote your health is much easier said than done. It helps, though, when commonly touted 'secrets to health and wellness' are expounded upon to highlight the rather glaring scientific research that makes these restorative tidbits so compelling. Be warned that while Dr. Joseph Marcela's Effortless Healing is a must read, the nine prescribed nutrition and lifestyle maxims are must dos, if you want to actually help you help your body. Some principles you've heard before (drink water) and some you probably haven't (walk outside barefoot to decrease inflammation) but Dr. Marcela's emphasis on illness prevention and holistic self-treatment makes a new (and excellent) case as to why ubiquitous advice is often that way for a reason.
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The Fully Raw Diet by Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram
Kristina’s inspiration for being FullyRaw came after she was able to rid herself of Hyperglycemia at the age of 18.
Do as I say, not as I do. More to the point, if you're willing to commit to a long-term preventative measure to stave off illness and general unwellness, do as Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram does. The author of The Fully Raw Diet was her own case study to demonstrate that a diet consisting of raw fruit, vegetables nuts, and seeds counters hyperglycemia–an unhealthfully high blood glucose (i.e sugar) levels symptomatic of diabetes and certain medications. Other research-supported outcomes are prevention of cancers, heart disease, and cosmetic woes like unclear skin. The science behind it is logical: eating unprocessed food ensures you get nutrients without potentially dangerous additives. The book presents a 21-day plan to adjust to the diet (or benefit from a temporary cleanse) with recipes, nutritional information, and motivating facts to maintain your resolve while withdrawing from potentially harmful–if delicious–cooked cuisine.
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Green Smoothies for Life by JJ Smith
I’ve always said that doctors may help, but the ultimate responsibility for our health is in our hands and within our control.
Liver cysts, abdominal pain, loss of short-term memory and chronic dry eye are just a few of the laundry list of symptoms pointing to mercury poisoning caused by the silver fillings in her teeth. Following her diagnosis, the author of Green Smoothies for Life followed doctor's orders to detox regularly to keep mercury levels low enough in her brain, liver, kidneys, and digestive tract to prevent illness moving forward. Smith's nutrition book veers from a 'crash-diet' juice cleanse in favor of offering a more permanent approach to incorporating green smoothies and general preventative measures for physical health and weight-loss.
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The Food Babe Way by Vani Hari
Did you know that your fast food fries contain a chemical used in Silly Putty?
At the risk of sounding overly conspiratorial, the uncomfortable truth is that most people are uneducated about what's in the food they eat: they have a sense of healthy versus unhealthy but are ill-equipped to understand the nuances. But we need not fret, so long as health advocates like Vani Hari continue to change policies and push the food industry into taking illness prevention more seriously. Think of The Food Babe Way as a distillation of Hari's experiences and research into a singular nutritional call to action to assess the food we with an investigator's eye. The so-dubbed 'Food Babe' has a fantastic track record of getting things done: she has consulted with major companies like Chick-Fil-A, Subway and Kraft, each time successfully convincing them into removing certain dyes and other harmful chemicals from their repertoire of ingredients for good.
Follow the author @thefoodbabe
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