An Encyclopedia Of Food

A food fact a day just might keep the doctor away. Did you know the following?

  • Eating cheddar and other aged cheeses after eating sweets counteracts the decay-causing actions of sugars.

  • Munching on eight to 11 walnuts daily reduces cholesterol levels by up to 4 percent.

  • The small amounts of the flavonoid resveratrol in peanuts may have anticlotting properties.

  • Prunes contain the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit.

    To garner more tidbits like those above, you'll want to add to your kitchen bookshelf Wellness Foods A to Z, authored by UC Berkeley nutrition expert Sheldon Margen, MD, and the editors of the Berkeley Wellness Letter (Wellness Publications, 2002). Just don't try to cook from it: this 640-page monster doesn't include a single recipe. It does, however, offer nutritional facts and insights on virtually every fresh food found in supermarkets.

    The book profiles more than 500 foods, highlighting history and varieties, nutritional values and how to choose, prepare and serve foods. It also includes guides to vitamins and minerals, a section on the basics of wellness foods and information about the connection between nutrients and disease prevention.

    —Kristine Merrill