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Dr Greger, My new favourite doctor
So Dr Greger is my new favourite doctor. I came across him a few months ago and have recently read his book ‘How Not To Die’. Sounds a bit dramatic but what he covers in the book is nothing short of amazing. It’s information we should all have access to and we’d all benefit tremendously if it became the new ‘norm’. Whilst he is American (please don’t hold that against him) the content is still super relevant here in the UK as our stats are not that far from those of the States. The studies he references are international and provide evidence based data. Which is what he’s all about.
How Not to Die is about how not to die needlessly
Dr Greger covers the current biggest killers – Heart disease, Lung disease, Brain diseases, Digestive cancers, Infections, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Liver diseases, Blood cancers, Kidney disease, Breast cancer, Suicidal Depression, Prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Iatrogenic causes. He covers the nutritional, evidence based science for each. This effectively means which foods make these conditions worse or even cause these diseases. He also covers the foods that can help prevent and often reverse these conditions as well. And this is what everyone needs to know. There are everyday, normal foods you can get from the supermarket that make a massive difference to the onset and progression of these top killers. Even if you only read the chapters that are of interest to you, this book could be life changing and life saving.
The second part of the book focuses on the foods that make the biggest positive impact on maintaining our health. As well as how to incorporate them into our daily eating routine. He has his Daily Dozen, which is a checklist to help you include his top foods on a daily basis.
The stats are crazy
Science shows that our genes only account for 10-20% of risk for these top killers, at most. Where we live and the standard diet of where we live is the major contributing factor. For example about 1 in 3 adult Americans have high blood pressure. After the age of sixty, 65% of Americans can expect to be diagnosed with the condition. In contrast over a two year period, 1,800 patients were admitted into a rural hospital in Kenya. Not a single case of high blood pressure was found. There were also zero cases of atherosclerosis, which is the #1 killer in the USA. So high blood pressure isn’t a natural progression of getting old, it’s something we have control over with our diet and lifestyle.
The chance to make a really informed choice
I’ll be honest, I’ve had quite a bit of nutritional training over the years. I have a reasonable understanding of our nutritional needs and how to satisfy them. But this book goes into specifics for each condition. Being in a position to make an informed choice is important. Dr Greger’s stand is let people know what the evidence says. Then let them make up their own minds and make their own choices. That is instead of the more conventional approach of providing some, if any, nutritional advice which may or may not be up to date and/or from questionable sources.
If you knew that eating eggs could more than double the rate at which your prostate cancer progressed (e.g. metastasized to your bones or other parts of the body), would you choose to carry on eating them? or that eating poultry could increase the progression risk by up to four times??
If you were suffering with hypertension wouldn’t it be good to know that having three servings of whole grains a day has been shown to be as effective at reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke as high blood pressure medications (that’s a 15% reduction in risk of heart attack and 25% reduction in risk of stroke). Daily consumption of ground flax seeds were shown to reduce diastolic blood pressure by seven points. This would be expected to result in 46% fewer strokes and 29% less heart disease over time. And all without the side effects that medication can produce.
He’s human and he know’s we’re human too
It’s not about eating the cleanest whole food plant based diet, denying yourself or not eating for enjoyment. It’s about moving closer to a healthier diet and lifestyle. One that supports your health and well-being in the long and short term. Dr Greger gives lots of examples of how to do this, as well as showing that he’s just as human as the rest of us.
It’s a must read
I simply cannot recommend the book highly enough. Dr Greger is a really quirky character who has spent his life making this kind of information as widely available as possible. All profits from his books and DVDs fund NutritionFacts.org and his team of researchers. He publishes videos and blogs daily with the latest information on on health and nutrition. They’re short and easy to understand, cutting through what is ‘true’ and what isn’t, based on what the actual evidence says. Badly designed studies and conflicts of interests are highlighted as he cuts through all the papers and studies available on each topic. He tells it how it is, regardless of what is considered ‘true’ or is convention. Thank you Dr Greger!