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Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal

Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal

Reader's Digest shares the best and worst choices to treat your ailments naturally

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Reader’s Digest’s Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal first hit kitchen shelves in 1997 and changed the way people viewed food and its impact on the human body. The 2013 edition of Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal contains up-to-date information and research on the effects of food – both good and bad – on the common cold, cancer, inflammatory disorders and stress, among other common conditions.

Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal is organized into three sections: Nutrition, Foods and Ailments. Nutrition, the first section, is a new addition to the book. It contains information about how to get the best balance of macronutrients and information about vitamins, dietary supplements, pesticides and preserving food nutrition during storing and cooking.

The second section, Foods, is an updated alphabetical list of more than 170 foods with information about how they can improve health as well as typical serving sizes, buying and storing tips and detailed health benefits information.

The third section of the book, Ailments, is another alphabetical list of more than 100 conditions, including the common cold, forms of cancer, lupus and menopause. Each entry in the Ailment section lists foods that can cause or make a condition worse and which foods can help prevent and treat a condition.

Tips and tricks are sprinkled throughout Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal. Some teach individuals how to eat while traveling and how to cure the common cold with ginger tea. Others teach people about probiotics and the differences among a variety of energy bars. At the end of the book, Reader’s Digest outlines nutrition at all life stages – from prenatal to senior citizens.

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  • An up-to-date list of foods that can help treat or exacerbate certain ailments
  • Foods and ailments are listed alphabetically for easy reference
  • Information about health benefits, serving sizes and nutritional content included
  • Not a diet and nutrition program; it’s a food and nutrient resource
  • Not a resource for recipes, menus and meal planning
  • Not a resource for fitness

The diet and nutrition information outlined in Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal explains the health benefits and potential harms each food causes to the body. For example, kiwis cause no known harm to the body, but can help treat high blood pressure and cholesterol, cancer, macular degeneration and weight gain. However, a complete diet and nutrition program is not included in the book. Diet, recipes and meal planning must be determined by the individual reading the book.


Regular exercise is promoted throughout the text but no specific fitness routine is provided.


Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal is not a diet and fitness resource. Structured diet and fitness routines are not included in the book. However, the book is a complete, up-to-date reference guide for the health benefits provided by and potential harms caused by different types of foods. Individuals, whether following a diet program or not, will benefit from learning about foods and their effects on the body.

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Foods that Harm Foods that Help, Food that Harm Food that Heal, Reader's Digest diet

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