100 Health-Boosting Foods: Facts and Recipes for Super Health, by Hamlyn/Octopus Publishing
(Hachette Livre, $35.99)
I'll admit it: I hate reading books about what foods are good for me, mainly because I usually find that said books are full of foods I don't like, and then I start feeling grumpy and unhealthy and I want to eat chocolate until I feel sick. I also have a very limited understanding of terms like "antioxidants", "probiotics" and "low glycaemic index". So I definitely opened this book with some preconceived (negative) notions about what I'd be reading.
Fortunately, this book was written for people like me. It starts off with some basic, easily understandable information about healthy eating, the food pyramid, carbs, fat, proteins, and the like. No topic is given more than two pages, so it's not overwhelming, and the print is attractively large and broken up with pretty pictures of, well, food. Then the book starts in with the 100 foods -- and this is where I got fascinated. Not only are almost all of them things that I actually like to eat, they're presented in the most beautiful way -- a full-page photograph of the food in question, and the facing page explaining about the food's nutritional value, why it's good for you, a tip for storing and serving, and an easy-to-make recipe featuring the recommended food. And the photos! Seriously, I wanted to lick some of the pages (maybe not the one featuring liver) -- they are absolutely the most gorgeous photos of food I've ever seen. Who knew a radish could look so delicious?
The best part of the book was the four-page guide to common health complaints and what foods you should eat to help. Anaemia, Cellulite, Colds, Depression, Hangover... There's food to help you deal with all of these. The most interesting list of foods was for Low Male Fertility -- apparently, men should eat more foods rich in vitamin C, beta carotene and zinc, and avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
All in all, this is an absolutely delicious book that will make you feel more healthy just by reading it -- and will have you combing the local fruit and vegetable stand for some of the more exotic recommendations.