Best Books on Nutrition That Will Help You Be Healthy
How do you eat healthily?
There are a variety of popular diets to choose from — Vegetarian, Vegan, Paleo, Keto, Atkins, and etc. Each group of supporters believes that their diet is the best. So which one should you choose?
In this era of misinformation, eating healthy can be very confusing. It’s important to do your own research on nutrients and use your own judgment. It’s better for you to test the different diets and customize them to suit your own body needs.
However, this post is not about the different diets out there. It’s about understanding nutrients and healthy eating. It’s about learning how the food we eat affects our health and body.
In this post, you will find books that are scientifically researched and advanced. There are also books that are more easy to read and focus on intuition.
Choose the book that resonates with you the most.
Top 10 Best Books on Nutrition and Healthy Eating
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1. How Not to Die by Michael Greger and Gene Stone
This book empowers you to take control of your health.
Written by a renowned nutrition expert, this bestselling book has tons of valuable information and is over 500 pages. But don’t be scared by how thick the book is. The scientific information in this book is presented in an easy and enjoyable to read manner.
Unlike other books on nutrition and healthy eating, this book doesn’t start with nutrition and what food to eat. It starts with the top fifteen diseases of premature death in America and the food that has been found to prevent, reduce and reverse these lifestyle diseases.
If you have a chronic disease, this book will teach you how to use diets to treat your disease.
2. Food Rules by Michael Pollan
Are you confused about what to eat?
Nutrition science is a relatively new field and everyone has their own thoughts about what’s good for us and sometimes they contradict each other.
Written by someone with a journalism background, the author consolidates all the information out there and presents 64 rules of eating in this book. In fact, he summarizes his findings in seven words, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
This book is great for beginners who are new to nutrition and healthy eating topic. It helps you simplify your daily decisions about food.
3. The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner
Have you wondered what the world’s longest-lived people eat to help them lead a healthier life?
If so, this is the book for you. The author of this book studies five hotspots of longevity around the world called the “Blue Zones” and examines what they eat and how they prepare meals.
These five Blue Zones not only have a high concentration of 100-years-old but they also have people who have grown old without chronic diseases. In short, they don’t just live a long life; they live a healthy and fulfilling life too.
At the end of the book, the author also provides 77 Blue Zones recipes that you can experiment with.
4. The China Study by Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell II
If you are someone who loves reading scientific research, this is the book for you.
Written by a nutrition researcher and his physician son, the main author has devoted his entire working life to conducting experimental research into nutrition and health. This book is based on his comprehensive study in China and Taiwan.
In his study, he discovers the close relationship between our diet and the risk of developing diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes. Backed with tons of scientific evidence, the book will show you the health benefits of whole food, plant-based diet (WFPB) and the dangers of a diet high in animal protein.
5. Food by Mark Hyman
If you are new to the nutrition subject and want something that is informative yet simple to read, this is the book for you.
In this book, the author provides you with easy to understand and nicely organized information on all types of food.
For each chapter (12 of them), the author examines a specific food group such as meat, vegetables, and dairy. Then, he tells you about the science behind it, what the experts get right and wrong, and what we still don’t know for sure.
At the end of each chapter, he also sums it up for you by telling you what to eat and what to avoid for each food group.
6. Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford
Since young, many of us are told to eat vegetables but rarely are we told why.
Used by acupuncture students as a textbook, this holistic nutrition book serves as a great reference book for almost anything to do with health. Not only is it a primer on nutrition, but it also tells you the energy properties of each food and what it does to your body.
Many books on nutrition and healthy eating recommend one diet for everyone. This book helps you to develop a flexible eating program that meets your unique health needs.
If you are someone who is willing to put in the time to study this book, you will benefit greatly from the wealth of information it provides on Traditional Eastern Medicine (TCM).
7. Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy by Walter Willett
This book is the Harvard Medical School guide to healthy eating. It is scientifically researched yet readable.
In this book, the author exposes how flawed the food pyramid is and the problems that popular diets such as the Zone and Atkins pose. It also helps you to understand more of the individual nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, calcium and how misguided we are.
If you are someone who needs help to design your own healthy diet, this book is for you. Not only does it provide extensive information on nutrients, but it also gives you practical tips and recipes to incorporate into your life.
8. Whole by Colin Campbell and Howard Jacobson
This book challenges us to rethink the science of nutrition and encourages us to look at food as a whole.
As technology improves and more drugs and vitamins are introduced, people become more health-conscious. We start to look at food in a reductionist way i.e. we look at the individual nutrients that each food provides instead of the food itself.
For example, when people talk about “protein”, we instantaneously think about meat, milk, and eggs. We see meat as the main source of protein, without realizing that other foods we eat such as vegetables have proteins too!
This book opens you to a new perspective and helps you understand why you cannot trust everything you read about nutrition.
9. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Unlike most other books on nutrition and diet, this book doesn’t focus on what we should eat. Instead, it focuses on what we are eating and where the food comes from. This book is not to convince you to eat one kind of food over another. It helps you to make an informed choice of what to eat according to your values.
Written from a journalist’s perspective, this book will change the way you think about food. You will become more aware of how your food choices affect the environment and think twice before putting any food into your mouth.
This book is the most suitable for readers who want a broad and objective perspective on nutrition and eating healthy.
10. Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
Healthy eating is not just about what you eat, it’s also about how you feel about yourself and the food you eat. You might have the desire to eat nutritious food but you can’t stop your cravings for sweets and snacks. So how?
Written by two expert nutritionists, this book redefines your relationship with food. Instead of forcing yourself to lose weight and comply with rigid dieting rules, this book helps you to focus on food that makes you feel good physically and emotionally. You choose food by tapping into your intuition.
This book is best for someone who has spent a lot of time dieting in the past but nothing seems to work. It removes the guilt you have around food.
Bonus: My Book on Loving and Trusting the Body
Note: The way I look at my books will never be the same as the way I look at other books, so to be fair I rather keep them off the list.
Love Your Body by Yong Kang Chan
If you have a fear of falling sick or you have a bad relationship with food, this book is for you.
Nowadays, we eat with our minds. We eat based on the knowledge of what we “hear” is good for us or not. Even though reading about nutrition is helpful, seldom do we rely on our intuition or consult our bodies to figure out what is best for us.
In this book, you will learn to trust your intuition and listen to your body, so you eat more consciously, rather than just following strict, rigid diet rules.
Reading this spiritual book also helps you love your body beyond the physical form. It helps you to appreciate and trust the wisdom of your body.
Hey there, I’m Yong Kang, best known as Nerdy Creator. I’m an author of seven books. I write about spirituality, self-compassion, and mindfulness. I love reading books, especially non-fiction. The list above is a combination of what I have read and my research. Each year, I create a Top 10 list of my favorite books.