If you only have 30 seconds, there is time – using this book – to bone up on how to eat well. We’re served a daily diet of food facts, fads and often far-fetched claims for what we put on our plates, which makes it difficult to distinguish healthy from harmful. With obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other life-threatening conditions rapidly rising, it pays to understand that we are very much what we eat and that good food – in the right proportions and portion sizes – is essential for our health and well-being. Strip away the flab with this accessible, jargon-free, guide to good nutrition served up in manageable bites. From fasting to fats, enzymes to E-numbers, if you have an appetite for expert advice on real food, this is the perfect book to dip into.
Nutrition has been defi ned as ‘the process of providing or obtaining food necessary for health and growth’ (Oxford Dictionary), and is essential for sustaining all life on Earth. The word ‘nutrition’ originates from the sixteenth century, from late Latin n?tr?ti?, ‘to nourish’. The quality of our diet infl uences our development and well-being from the womb until death, and is, therefore, of relevance to all. Our instinct to eat is principally for survival, but the selection of foods is determined by the environment, genetics and numerous other factors. Understanding the principles of nutrition and how different foods and nutrients promote health and prevent disease empowers humans to make an informed choice, optimizing their diet.
The Greek physician Hippocrates of Kos (460–370 BCE), known as the ‘Father of Medicine’, was one of the fi rst to profess the importance of nutrition, stating, ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’ Hippocrates recognized the therapeutic signifi cance of diet for the maintenance of health, and developed one of the earliest nutritional recommendations that he called a ‘seasonal diet’. In the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE), Chinese physician Sun Simiao wrote what could be regarded to be the fi rst nutrition guidelines in his book Precious Prescriptions for Emergencies, which described the impacts of consuming grains, meat, fruits and vegetables. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that formal public health dietary recommendations came into effect for populations across the world.