The Best Things You Can Eat: For Everything from Aches to Zzzz, the Definitive Guide to the Nutrition-Packed Foods That Energize, Heal, and Help You Look Great by David Grotto pulls together information about vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in an easy-to-reference guide.
The book is divided into three main section – nutrients, ailments, and “best in show”. Nutrients includes vitamins, minerals, fats, fiber, and phytosterols. Each nutrient gets a few pages where the author explains what the nutrient does, lists the seven best non-fortified food sources for each nutrient, and how much the body needs. Some of the nutrients have “shocker foods”, such as marmite, which turns out to be an abundant source of B vitamins (It’s also fortified, so it doesn’t make the list of the top seven best food sources.)
The second section organizes by ailments. Foods that lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, and fight cavities get a mention here. Some examples:
Blood Pressure Reducer – Almonds. Almonds are an excellent source of protein, manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, and copper. When a regular part of the diet, almonds have been known to significantly reduce blood pressure.
Beat Bad Breath – Cherries. It is thought that some of those phytonutrients that have antioxidant functions in cherries help remove the odor of methyl mercaptan, the colorless gas released in decaying organic matter and garlic attributed to bad breath.
Fend Off Cavities – Cheese. Eating cheese helps improve oral health by preventing loss of minerals in teeth. The protein found in cheese also helps counteract the acids that cause tooth decay.
Aid for Aches and Pains – Ginger. Ginger is loaded with powerful antioxidants that are all effective anti-inflammatories. Daily consumption of ginger has been linked to pain relief.
Sweet Dreams and Good Night – Lettuce. The natural oil that occurs in lettuce has been used in folk medicine as an aid to relaxation and for inducing sleep.
The third section rounds up the foods in “best of” categories. The nuts with the most nutrients per one ounce serving or the best protein sources are listed here.
The end of the book contains all the foods and beverages listed in alphabetical order, along with the nutrients they are good sources for. So you could just flip to page 286 to find out that beer is a good source of chromium or that buckwheat is a good source of magnesium and an excellent source of choline.
The Best Things You Can Eat makes an excellent reference book to have around the house.