Top positive review
A powerful argument for a plant-based diet
on 3 October 2016
Super Immunity is a scientifically-based study on the health benefits of a plant-based diet. The author, a nutritional physician, actually advocates a low-meat or even no-meat diet, including vegan. From a purely scientific view, which is the view I always take with things like this, the book is a fascinating insight into what makes fruit and vegetables so good for you. It explains how nutrition is divided into ‘macro-nutrients’, which are fats, protein and carbohydrates, and ‘micro-nutrients’, which are vitamins and minerals.
The author argues that far too much emphasis is put on diets that regulate fat/protein/carbs, and not enough on diets that regulate the vitamins and minerals we get, as it’s these that most impact our long-term health. More importantly, it is explained that, as well as vitamins and minerals, fruit and veg contain a third category of micro-nutrients called ‘phyto-chemicals’, this literally means ‘plant chemicals’, and these are a group of compounds that enhance our immune system and help fight disease. Significantly, phyto-chemicals are only found in fruit and veg, not meat. If you’ve ever wondered why fruit and veg come in so many different colours, it’s the phyto-chemicals that make these colours.
The science behind nutrition and the health benefits of fruit and veg is superbly explained and is a fascinating read. I have to say the author is very anti-meat to the point where he seems to blame meat for every disease known, and I did begin to wonder if this was his opinion rather than fully-proven science. I think meat definitely gets a bad press these days but the supposed health-risks of meat is far from proven, and there’s no escaping the fact that meat is a very rich source of the B vitamins, protein, fats, and minerals like iron and zinc. Also, the anti-meat brigade often forget one thing – we don’t just eat to survive, we eat for pleasure as well, and there’s nothing better in life than a juicy steak or some lovely hot wings!
But putting aside the anti-meat bias of the book, the author makes a very powerful case for a more plant-based diet and I definitely intend to take on board what I’ve learnt. One new word I learnt from the book is “flexitarian”, which is a vegetarian who eats a bit of meat. Personally, there’s no way I’ll ever give it up meat, but maybe being a ‘flexitarian’ is a good compromise for me.