Dr Norman Swan still has a lovely Glaswegian accent even though he’s lived in Australia for decades and I loved hearing his voice in my mind the whole time I was reading this book. Which didn’t turn out to be very long actually, as I finished it over a couple of days.
Covering topics from nutrition and exercise to mental health and use of electronic devices, So you think you know What’s Good For You? is Dr Swan’s attempt to give people the knowledge they need to live a healthy life; knowledge that was lacking in his early life growing up in Glasgow, a city with the highest rate of heart disease in the world and a life expectancy gap between the richest and poorest suburbs of around 25 years.
There’s no finger-wagging or lecturing to be found here; just Dr Swan’s attempt to explain in accessible language what the science (rather than an influencer) says about the healthiest habits we can build to live a long and healthy life. There’s also plenty of dry-humour and personal admissions from the good doctor, who openly admits when it’s a case of ‘do as I say and not what I do’.
The biggest message I took away, in relation to many of the aspects covered, was to make sure you are controlling what you can at a higher level and don’t sweat the small stuff. In terms of food, for example, if you cook most of what you eat from scratch, use mostly monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, and follow the other elements of healthy cuisine and dietary pattern as outlined in the book, you don’t need to worry about the latest super-food or occasional takeaway.
I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone who has an interest in what the latest science has to say about health and longevity. Even though I devoured it in a couple of days I think it’s one I’ll go back to over time to let the messages really sink in.