Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wonderfoods by Natalie Savona

The latest fad diet is as far from a fad as it can be: Getting back to basics and enjoying a wide variety of nutritious foods is the best way to ensure long-term health.

Not all foods are created equal: some boost energy, build immune systems, combat aging, and more. In fact, it is possible to thrive solely on the foods described in Wonderfoods: Amazing Ingredients & Recipes for Optimum Health, a new book by nutritionist Natalie Savona.

In this accessible guide (Quadrille Publishing; Paperback; 320 pages; ISBN:1844004260; $14.95), Savona presents the facts on 60 Wonderfood ingredients containing the essential nutrients that contribute to wellbeing. Each chapter covers the body system that the Wonderfoods will most help: Energy, Digestion, Detox, Mind, Age, Skin, Sex, Immune System and Heart. The foods are chosen from the fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds, whole grains and quality proteins that are guaranteed to provide optimum health.

Wonderfoods contains 120 simple and tasty recipes drawn from a range of intergenerational culinary styles and advice on where to buy the best ingredients – everything the health-conscious gourmet will need to put the Wonderfoods principles into practice.

A Taste of the Wonderfoods:
For Energy: Jerusalem artichokes, actually a member of the sunflower family, provide a gentle release of their energy because they store it as insulin rather than sugar. This makes them good for people with diabetes or poor blood-sugar balance.
For Digestion: Pineapples—not just a fruit, but a collection of flowers, each with its own “eye” around a central core—help break down proteins when eaten at mealtime.
To Detox: Asparagus contains an amino acid called asparagine, which, along with its high potassium content and low sodium, makes the vegetable a diuretic and cleanser, useful for processing proteins and flushing out the kidneys.
For Skin: Despite its fatty reputation, the avocado is perhaps the most nutritious fruit in the world. It’s loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, folic acid, iron, potassium, and vitamin E, which keeps skin supple and soft.
For a Healthy Sex Life: Pumpkin seeds are full of micronutrients, like vitamin E, iron and magnesium—all needed for good sexual health and fertility. They’re also rich in zinc, a mineral needed for sexual function, defense against infections, proper growth and the development of new cells.
For Aging: Watercress, an underrated food that formerly was a remedy for scurvy, contains an anti-inflammatory, as much vitamin C, weight for weight, as oranges, and antioxidants, which are essential for a long, healthy life.
For the Mind: Chicken and turkey contain the amino acid tryptophan. The vitamin B in these protein sources turns the tryptophan into serotonin, a “happy hormone” that makes you feel relaxed.
For Immunity: Scientists are only just tapping into the wonders of mushrooms that have been used medicinally in Japan and China for ages. Shiitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties, and have been investigated for their potential in preventing and treating arthritis, cancer and HIV.
For the Heart: Walnuts are full of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit the cardiovascular system by making blood less likely to clot, lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and improving its ratio to “good” HDL cholesterol, and increasing elasticity of blood vessels.

Wonderfoods is available now at retailers including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

About the Author
Nataie Savona graduated from Cambridge University before training at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. She is a leading nutritionist and in her practice treats people with a range of health conditions from chronic fatigue to digestive complaints. She is a columnist for Cosmopolitan and presented her own series on Discovery Health TV.

NOTE: Received a copy for review. Small and compact, this book has WONDERFUL photography. It's an interesting approach.