How Not to Die | Michael Greger

Summary of: How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
By: Michael Greger


Ready to embark on a journey towards healthier living? ‘How Not to Die’ by Dr. Michael Greger delves into the power of food in preventing and even reversing some of the deadliest diseases. Explore how our modern dietary patterns and lack of nutritional education in medical schools contribute to the problem. Discover the advantages of plant-based diets, the benefits of consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, and how to make healthier beverage choices. By understanding the science behind these recommendations, you will not only grasp the significance of nutrition but also acquire the tools needed to make wiser choices for a healthier and potentially longer life.

The Dark Side of American Diets

Many people live to 100, but not always healthily. A study of over 42,000 autopsies of patients aged over 100, revealed that many died from diseases rather than old age despite being apparently healthy until death. This is primarily due to a poor American diet, with meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods dominating. People eating these types of food are more at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic ailments than those eating diets rich in fruits and vegetables. The American medical profession is also falling short in nutritional education, with only 25% of medical schools offering one course in nutrition. The lack of nutritional knowledge is leading to doctors prescribing drugs as a solution, resulting in the US market being responsible for one-third of the $1 trillion plus spent annually on prescriptions worldwide.

The science behind plant-based diets

Plant-based diets have been found to be beneficial for health, with studies showing an inverse correlation between eating such diets and heart disease, as demonstrated in the China-Cornell-Oxford Project conducted in the 1980s. Additionally, plant-based diets can mitigate the effects of diseases such as heart disease, as shown by the work of medical pioneers Nathan Pritikin and Dean Ornish. In contrast, medication poses potential risks, and, despite these risks, is prescribed more often than changes to diet.

The Power of Berries

Did you know that adding just one extra serving of fruit per day can decrease the risk of lung disease by 24%? And if you’re looking to boost your immune system, fight cancer, and prevent liver and brain disease, berries are the way to go. But be wary of fruit juice – studies show it’s linked to a higher risk of type-2 diabetes. The natural sugar in whole fruit, on the other hand, won’t cause weight gain and can even combat insulin spikes. With an average of ten times more antioxidants than other fruits, berries are second only to herbs and spices in their antioxidant content. So, next time you’re deciding what to snack on, grab a handful of berries to keep the doctor away.

Power of Veggies

Eating different types of vegetables can help prevent life-threatening diseases, protect cellular telomeres, reduce DNA mutations, lower cholesterol levels, and fight cancer. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage produce sulforaphane, a powerful, anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting molecule. Five servings of vegetables a day can do wonders for your health.

The Power of Beans and Whole Grains

Beans and whole grains have numerous health benefits and should be included in daily meals. They provide animal-free protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Soy should be consumed in its unprocessed form, and options such as navy and pinto beans are just as beneficial. Lentils are a great choice to regulate sugar levels, relax the stomach, and slow sugar absorption. Canned beans are also healthy but choose sodium-free versions to avoid losing key nutrients while rinsing. Whole grains can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and strokes, and the healthiest ones are the most colorful. Watch out for misleading labels and ensure that the carbohydrate to fiber ratio on nutritional labels is 5:1 or lower. Including beans and whole grains in your diet can positively impact your health and well-being.

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