Book: Eat to Beat Disease

71W0txPB6XL“Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself” By William W. Li, MD

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  • “Angiogenesis defense is a method to protect all animals with a circulatory system, including humans. Whenever you’ve suffered a deep cut, whether from surgery or trauma, you’ve no doubt noticed the wounded area starts to undergo changes within seconds, launching a process that continues until the wound is healed.”
  • “Inflammation is very important at the beginning of healing. Inflammatory cells called macrophages and neutrophils crawl into a wound to clean up any bacteria and debris from the injury, and they themselves release their own angiogenic growth factors, amplifying the blood vessel generating response.”
  • “The angiogenesis system constantly senses where and when more vessels are needed to keep organs healthy and functioning. Like a master builder, blood vessels detect the need from your muscles after a workout: more blood flow is needed to build the muscles. On the other hand, the system is also constantly on the lookout for situations where blood vessels should be pruned back.”
  • “When tumors hijack the angiogenesis defense system to grow their own circulation, a harmless cancer quickly becomes a potentially deadly one.”
  • “Alzheimer’s disease has been discovered to involve excessive and abnormal angiogenesis.”
  • “Today, we know that blood vessels in Alzheimer’s-affected brains are abnormal and do not actually improve blood flow but instead they release neurotoxins that kill brain cells.”
  • ” Your small intestine regenerates every two to four days.
    Your lungs and stomach, every eight days.
    Your skin, every two weeks.
    Your red blood cells, every four months.
    Your fat cells, every eight years.
    Your skeleton, every ten years.”
  • “Stem cells repair, replace, and regenerate dead and worn out cells on demand.”
  • “This is your regenerative health defense system. And just like the angiogenesis system, the latest research is showing that your stem cells are powerfully influenced by diet.”
  • “One of the most damaging is tobacco smoke. The oxygen deficit that occurs when a smoker inhales cigarette smoke starts the recruitment of stem cells into the bloodstream. But habitual smoking eventually depletes the number of stem cells stored in the bone marrow, leaving fewer cells overall available for regeneration and repair over time.”
  • “Heavy drinking kills stem cells. Alcohol affects stem cells in a number of ways. Researchers studied monkeys who were given small daily amounts of alcohol to drink, and remarkably, they had more stem cells in their circulatory system than nondrinking monkeys. The stem cells of drinking monkeys, however, were impaired and less effective in their ability to take part in regeneration.”
  • “High blood cholesterol also impairs stem cell function, although not all cholesterol is equal. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol, slows down the programmed cell death of endothelial progenitor cells. Dietary strategies that increase HDL are protective for these cells.”
  • “Diabetes is a stem cell killer. People with diabetes have fewer stem cells, and the ones that exist are unable to do their job properly. High blood sugar is the problem. Stem cells exposed to a high-sugar environment are less capable of regenerating tissue.”
  • “Some bacteria release metabolites that can protect us against diabetes. Others control the growth of abdominal fat. One type of gut bacteria, Bifidobacteria, was shown to reduce stress and anxiety through a unique gut-brain interaction.3 Our bacteria influence angiogenesis, stem cells, and immunity. They can even influence our hormones, sexual fitness, and social behavior.”
  • “Probiotic foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and cheese contain living bacteria and thus bring their own bacterial contributions to our inner ecosystem.”
  • “Prebiotics are nondigestible foods that feed the healthy bacteria in our intestines. They themselves are not microbes, but rather they increase the function of healthy gut bacteria by providing the food they need to thrive and, as a consequence, create healthy metabolites or influence the immune system.”
  • “L. reuteri, when swallowed, speeds up angiogenesis in healing skin wounds. Yet another connection was made between the health defense systems.
    But wound healing was only the beginning. In the lab, L. reuteri also reduced abdominal fat and obesity in mice, even if they ate a junk food diet of potato chips. L. reuteri can stimulate the growth of thick, shiny, healthy hair; improve skin tone; boost the immune system; and prevent the growth of tumors in the colon and in the breast. And that’s not all. Experiments have shown that in male mice, L. reuteri in drinking water increases testicular size, testosterone production, and mating frequency. A truly fascinating finding was that L. reuteri stimulates the brain to release the hormone oxytocin, which is the social bonding neurochemical that is released from the brain during a hug or handshake, by close friendship, during kissing, breast feeding, and orgasm.”
  • “Natural foods offer a more diverse source—for instance, yogurt, fermented foods, and some drinks are loaded with bacteria.”
  • “The source code of DNA is written in chemicals with names that begin with one of four letters: A (adenine), T (thymine), C (cytosine), or G (guanine).”
  • “Bioactives found in plant-based foods and in tea or coffee can epigenetically influence your DNA in a positive way. Chemicals found in highly processed foods can influence your DNA too, but negatively. “
  • “Exercise, for example, causes epigenetic changes that free up our genes to make useful proteins for building muscles, increasing the pumping capacity of the heart, growing new blood vessels to support muscle expansion, and lowering blood lipids. Other epigenetic changes from exercise can block harmful genes. These are seen after swimming, sprinting, interval training, and high-intensity walking.”
  • “Inadequate or short sleep duration increases the risk of obesity in children by 45 percent. The epigenetic effect of sleep is profound. A single night of sleep deprivation can epigenetically interfere with as many as 269 genes, preventing them from being used to make proteins, including one gene that is a tumor suppressor. That’s a bad thing. When you silence a gene that blocks cancer, this can increase your risk of developing a tumor.”
  • “Meditation causes beneficial epigenetic changes that lower the activity of genes associated with inflammation.”
  • “As to lifestyle, regular exercise is associated with longer telomeres.”
  • “One type of immunotherapy blocks the cloaking proteins that cancers use to hide from the immune system, effectively revealing them. Called checkpoint inhibitors, these treatments allow the patient’s own immune defenses to wake up and ‘see’ the cancer. They can then destroy it.”
  • “CAR-T cell therapy is effective for treating lymphoma and leukemia.”
  • “Scientists from the University of Rome in Italy discovered that ellagic acid, a bioactive that is found at high levels in chestnuts, blackberries, walnuts, pomegranates, and strawberries, blocks production of the same immune-cloaking protein targeted by checkpoint inhibitor drugs (like Keytruda) in bladder cancer.”
  • “Your bone marrow produces almost all the immune cells in your body, using stem cells called hematopoietic stem cells.”
  • “Scientists from the University of Southern California showed that fasting cycles can be used to build a fresh immune system. Remarkably, they showed that fasting two to four days in a row forces the human body to go into a recycling mode, which gets rid of the older, worn-out immune cells. Then, when food is started again, it jump-starts the hematopoietic stem cells in your bone marrow to start regenerating fresh immune cells thus rebuilding the immune system.”
  • “In fact, simply being obese increases the risk of someone dying in the hospital, regardless of the reason for hospitalization, by as much as seven times.”
  • “In 1993, a seminal paper was published by Theodore Fotsis, a Greek scientist working at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, who discovered that the urine of healthy Japanese men and women eating soyfoods contained a natural substance called genistein with potent anticancer effects.”
  • “Up to 90–95 percent of cancers are linked to exposures from the environment and our lifestyle. Of all cancer deaths, an estimated 30 percent are linked to diet.”
  • “Large public studies support the benefits: people who eat more soyfoods have lowered risk for a number of angiogenesis-dependent diseases, from breast and prostate cancer to coronary artery disease.”
  • “phytoestrogens in soy do not increase the incidence of breast cancer in human studies. Quite the opposite. Soy phytoestrogens actually act as antiestrogens in humans, interfering with the ability of estrogen to fuel certain cancers.”
  • “The amount that’s beneficial to health in human studies is ten grams of soy protein per day, which is found in a cup of soymilk.”
  • “More than thirty studies have shown the protective effect of tomato consumption on prostate cancer.”
  • “Studies from the University of Chicago, the University of Minnesota, Harvard University, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health showed that eating broccoli is associated with a reduced risk of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by 40 percent, lung cancer by 28 percent, breast cancer by 17 percent, ovarian cancer by 33 percent, esophageal cancer by 31 percent, prostate cancer by 59 percent, and melanoma by 28 percent.”
  • “At least six antiangiogenic bioactives are found in kale: brassinin, indole-3-carbinol, quercetin, lutein, sulforaphane, and kaempferol.”
  • “Two studies from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the University of Illinois at Chicago showed that consuming two medium-size stone fruits per day is associated with a 66 percent decreased risk of esophageal cancer and an 18 percent decreased risk of lung cancer in men.”
  • “And in the lab, a carotenoid called lutein that is found in apricots, prevents the formation of the brain damaging beta-amyloid fibrils that are linked to abnormal angiogenesis found in Alzheimer’s disease.”
  • “Eating one to two apples per day was found to be associated with risk reduction of bladder cancer by 10 percent, colon cancer by 20 percent, and lung cancer by 18 percent.”
  • “berry consumption was linked to lower cancer risk. People eating one-fifth cup of berries of any type per day were found to have a 22 percent reduced risk of developing lung cancer.”
  • “Studies of 75,929 women showed that those eating one cup of fresh blueberries per week had a 31 percent reduced risk for breast cancer.”
  • “Most people recognize that omega-3 fatty acid is healthy, but there are actually three main forms of this fat that are associated with health benefits: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha linolenic acid). EPA and DHA can be found in seafood. ALA is found mostly in plant-based foods.”
  • “For cancer protection, researchers have found that the higher the overall intake of marine omega-3 in the diet, the greater the benefit.”
  • “Tilapia has a high unhealthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 PUFAs, making it a less desirable fish from a health perspective.”
  • “Cured ham is not a health food. Keep in mind that both meats have about twice as much saturated fat as salmon. Both prosciutto and jamón are very high in sodium. They have about twenty-five to thirty times as much sodium as a serving of salmon (which actually lives in salt water). Jamón has about 30 percent less sodium than prosciutto. High sodium intake is linked to hypertension and an increased risk of stomach cancer, and as you’ll see in the next chapter, salt harms your stem cells. Compared to salmon, prosciutto also has a higher ratio of omega-6 PUFAs, which is pro-inflammatory, so caution is definitely indicated.”
  • “Drinking two to three cups of green tea a day is associated with a 44 percent reduced risk of developing colon cancer.”
  • “Researchers at the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal, found that chamomile tea could inhibit angiogenesis by interfering with the signals needed to activate vascular cells to start developing blood vessels.”
  • “The EPIC-Norfolk study followed 24,244 people for eleven years and found that drinking one glass of wine per day was associated with a 39 percent decreased risk of colorectal cancer.”
  • “The study found that drinking approximately five beers per week was remarkably associated with a 33 percent reduced risk for kidney cancer.”
  • “The North Carolina Colon Cancer Study of 2,044 people found that moderate beer intake (slightly less than one beer per day) was associated with a 24 percent reduction in risk of colon cancer.”
  • “Individuals who drank one and a half to two beers per day were found to have a 60 percent reduction in the risk of dementia and an 87 percent reduced risk of being diagnosed specifically with Alzheimer’s disease.”
  • “A similar analysis was conducted for men only, and consuming the K2 found in the equivalent of two slices of cheese per day was associated with a 35 percent reduction in the risk of prostate cancer.”
  • “Cheese typically contains saturated fat, cholesterol, and high sodium, which are unhealthy factors, so moderation is important.”
  • “They found that three to four tablespoons per day of olive oil was associated with a reduced risk of esophageal cancer by 70 percent, laryngeal cancer by 60 percent, oral and pharyngeal cancer by 60 percent, ovarian cancer by 32 percent, colorectal cancer by 17 percent, and breast cancer by 11 percent.”
  • “Butter, in fact, was associated with an increased risk of esophageal, oral, and pharyngeal cancer by twofold.”
  • “The results showed that two servings of tree nuts per week were associated with a remarkable 57 percent reduced risk of death. The amount of nuts in one serving required to achieve this effect are: seven whole walnuts, or eighteen cashews, or twenty-three almonds, or eleven macadamias.”
  • “For cancer prevention, the EPIC study examined nut intake in 478,040 people and found an association between women consuming one and a half servings of nuts and seeds per day and a 31 percent reduced risk of colon cancer.”
  • ” In relation to nuts or beans, those men who consumed one serving per day had an associated 31 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer. In terms of beans, the serving size would be only two tablespoons per day.”
  • “Scientists at the University of California at Davis have shown that bioactives called procyanidins in cocoa have potent antiangiogenic effects through their ability to stop the signals activating blood vessel cells.”
  • “Rosemary, oregano, turmeric, licorice, and cinnamon all have antiangiogenic effects.”
  • “Barley is an ancient grain commonly used for making soups, stews, and beer. It is high in dietary fiber and has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. The bioactive in barley is beta-D-glucan, which activates angiogenesis and grows new blood vessels in oxygen-starved organs.”
  • “The scientists found the barley beta-glucan increased angiogenesis in the heart.”
  • “Seeds like flaxseed, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds are nutrient-dense snacks that contain bioactives called lignans. One such lignan, secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), has been shown to stimulate angiogenesis in the heart after a heart attack. “
  • “Ursolic acid is a powerful bioactive known as a triterpenoid that is found in ginseng, rosemary, peppermint, and in fruit skins, including apple peel. In the lab, ursolic acid stimulates beneficial angiogenesis and can grow new capillaries and enhance blood flow in mice with compromised leg circulation.”
  • “A number of dried fruits, such as sultana raisins, cherries, cranberries, and blueberries, contain ursolic acid because they are dried with the fruit skin or peel intact.”
  • “Quercetin is a bioactive that stimulates angiogenesis in the face of oxygen deprivation of tissues, yet it does not provoke growth of cancers.”
  • “Foods that contain quercetin include capers, onions, red-leaf lettuce, hot green chile peppers, cranberries, black plums, and apples.”
  • “Cocoa powder contains bioactives called flavanols. Epidemiologists have long established a connection between the consumption of foods with flavanols and lower incidence of death from cardiovascular disease.”
  • “Some of the highest levels of marine omega-3 PUFAs are found in fish like hake, tuna, and amberjack (yellowtail) as well as shellfish like Manila clams and cockles. A delicacy of Asia, the sea cucumber, is also high in omega-3 PUFAs.”
  • “Epidemiological studies have shown that eating a whole grain diet is associated with the reduced risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”
  • “A component of green beans (specifically the Lady Joy varietal Phaseolus vulgaris, the common green bean) has been shown to protect endothelial progenitor cells against oxidative damage from free radicals and improve their survival.”
  • “the ferulic acid from rice bran can protect and improve the activity and survival of endothelial progenitor cells.”
  • “Eating a diet high in saturated fat damages the lining of blood vessels and leads to the formation of the vessel-narrowing plaques causing cardiovascular disease.”
  • “One important caution about brown rice: some fields where it is harvested have high levels of arsenic. Brown rice has more of the exposed shell of the rice, so it can contain 80 percent more arsenic than white rice. According to a study by Consumer Reports, the safest sources of brown rice are California, India, and Pakistan, which has about a third less arsenic than brown rice from other sources.”
  • “The main bioactive in turmeric is curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiangiogenic, and pro-regenerative properties.”
  • “Resveratrol is a bioactive well known to be in grapes, red wine, and grape juice. But resveratrol is also present in blueberries, cranberries, peanuts, and even pistachios, as well.”
  • “Because of this, resveratrol may be one of the few exceptions where the bioactive may be better obtained through a concentrated supplement rather than the actual food.”
  • “Zeaxanthin is a bioactive known as a carotenoid. It is a pigment that gives corn and saffron their yellow-orange color, but it’s also common in leafy green vegetables, like kale, mustard greens, spinach, watercress, collard greens, Swiss chard, and fiddleheads. Zeaxanthin is also found in high concentration in goji berries, the dried flat elliptical red berries used in Asian herbal teas, soups, and stir-fried dishes. This bioactive is very important for eye health.”
  • “The results of this study suggest that eating zeaxanthin-containing foods may help the performance of our stem cells for organ regeneration.”
  • “Chlorogenic acid is another powerful bioactive found in high concentrations in coffee and also present in black tea, blueberries, peaches, fresh and dried plums, eggplants, and even bamboo shoots. It has anti-inflammatory, antiangiogenic, and blood-pressure-lowering effects.”
  • “Their dark color and tartness reveal that black raspberries contain many potent bioactives like ellagic acid, ellagitannins, anthocyanins, and quercetin. In fact, a dietary supplement made from black raspberries has shown clinical benefits in patients with colon cancer, and in prediabetes.”
  • “The leaves, stalks, and seeds of Chinese celery are all edible and contain a number of health-promoting bioactives, including a tongue twister: 3-n-butylphthalide (NBP).”
  • “NBP, also found in supplements containing celery seed extract, improves brain circulation, lowers brain inflammation, grows nerves, and limits brain damage from stroke.”
  • “Although they have many bioactive carotenoids that give the flesh its orange color, mangoes contain a unique bioactive called mangiferin that has antitumor, antidiabetic, and pro-regenerative properties.”
  • “In lab animals, mangiferin has been shown to improve blood sugar control by actually regenerating the beta-islet cells of the pancreas that produce insulin.”
  • “Red wine drinkers also had a 50 percent increase in blood levels of a powerful signal called nitric oxide, one of the body’s most fundamental signals that control health. Nitric oxide not only helps blood vessels dilate, but it stimulates angiogenesis for healing, and it signals for stem cells to be activated.”
    “The results showed that men drinking alcoholic beer had an eightfold increase in circulating endothelial cells, and those drinking nonalcoholic beer had a fivefold increase.”
  • “But remember, as with wine, more is not better, due to alcohol’s toxic effects on stem cells at high levels.”
  • “The results showed that drinking green tea increased the number of circulating stem cells by 43 percent over two weeks.”
  • “The health of the smokers’ blood vessels was also improved by green tea over the study period. Their vascular dilation response was improved by 29 percent. In the lab, scientists have discovered that green tea and its catechins can stimulate regeneration of brain, muscle, bone, and nerves and can promote wound healing.”
  • ” After one week, drinking black tea increased the circulating endothelial progenitor cells by 56 percent.”
  • “In the Spanish study, the people who consumed a Mediterranean or low-fat, high-carb diet had a 1.5-fold improvement of blood flow recovery compared to the saturated fat diet, correlated with the higher levels of endothelial progenitor cells seen.”
  • “Salt makes food taste good, but chronic high salt intake is linked to a slew of health problems ranging from high blood pressure, to cardiovascular disease, to stripping away the protective mucus lining of your stomach and increasing your risk of stomach cancer.”
  • “The mice fed purple potatoes had 50 percent fewer tumors. When the colon tissues were more closely examined under the microscope, there was a 40 percent increase in the killing of colon cancer stem cells compared to the group that did not eat purple potatoes.”
  • “The potent effect of walnuts on cancer stem cells might help explain the results of the study of 826 patients with stage 3 colon cancer who had a 57 percent lower chance of death, and a 42 percent lower chance of cancer recurrence associated with eating nuts.”
  • “Scientists from Spain showed in the lab that olive oil secoiridoids could dramatically reduce the growth of breast cancer stem cells.”
  • “Foods high in chlorogenic acid include coffee, carrots, and stone fruit, like apricot and plums.”
  • “While normal healthy cells can adapt to use ketones as an energy source, cancer cells cannot adapt the same way because they rely on glucose to keep up with their high energy demands. When glucose is low, tumors have difficulty growing. Ketones also interfere with the ability of cancer cells to obtain energy, making tumors more likely to respond to treatment when the patient is adopting a ketogenic diet.”
  • “A gut bacteria called Akkermansia muciniphila makes up 1 to 3 percent of all the bacteria in the gut microbiome. But this small population has a mighty impact. Akkermansia can help control the immune system, improve blood glucose metabolism in the body, decrease gut inflammation, and combat obesity.”
  • “The data on cranberry and pomegranate juice show how powerfully our diet can influence our microbiome, which can in turn influence our immune response to cancer therapy, literally with life-and-death implications. “
  • “Children with less diversity in their microbiomes are more likely to develop long-term food allergies.”
  • “Cancer, especially in the organs in the gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, colon, and rectum) is associated with microbiome disturbances.”
  • “Disruptions of the gut microbiome are also observed in people with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.”
  • “Sauerkraut is a slightly sour, tangy, savory accompaniment to many a traditional meal, and it is sometimes used as a condiment similar to relish. It is incredibly microbe-rich, made by fermenting very thinly sliced cabbage with lactic acid-producing bacteria (Lactobacilli).”
  • “Kimchi is, in essence, a probiotic. Like yogurt, it delivers a load of healthy bacteria and bioactives to your gut. Many of the bacteria involved with fermenting the kimchi are the same ones found in a healthy human microbiome: Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Lactobacillus, among others.”
  • “So, while eating any kind of kimchi has benefits for body fat, blood pressure, and glucose sensitivity, fermented kimchi had greater benefits than fresh.”
  • “A word of caution: kimchi is very high in salt. Be careful eating it if you have hypertension or are at high risk for stomach cancer.”
  • “Pao cai (pronounced “pow tsai”) is a traditional fermented vegetable dish in China that is often found in Chinese restaurants as a cold appetizer. Like kimchi, pao cai is prepared by pickling healthy vegetables: cabbage, radish, mustard green stems, carrots, and ginger. The bacteria involved in pao cai fermentation are many of the same ones in the healthy human microbiome.”
  • “When we eat cheese, we are ingesting live bacteria as well as the products made by the bacteria, both of which can benefit our health.”
  • “Keeping in mind the qualifying warnings about its salt and saturated fat content, add to the health influence of cheese its ability to contribute to the human microbiome.”
  • ” Today, yogurt in its pure form (without added sweeteners) is considered a healthy food, and its benefit may be due its probiotic benefits.”
  • “The Lactobacillus found in yogurt can increase the elimination of cholesterol from the body, so the researchers speculate that the lignans have a prebiotic effect and feed gut bacteria. At the same time, yogurt has a probiotic effect, supplying the bacteria itself. Eating yogurt along with a plant-based diet rich in lignans can offer protective benefits against cardiovascular disease and better blood glucose control.”
  • “One type of sourdough bacteria, Lactobacillus reuteri, has remarkable health functions. It has been shown to improve immunity and suppress tumor development. L. reuteri also reduces weight gain and can speed wound healing.”
  • “In the lab, scientists completely pulverized the bacteria so no live L. reuteri survived, but they found that substances coming from the particles of dead bacteria could create the same benefits as the live bacteria.”
  • “The guiding principles for taking care of your gut microbiome follow three basic rules of thumb: Eat lots of dietary fiber from whole food. Eat less animal protein. Eat more fresh, whole foods and less processed food.”
  • “First principle: eat lots of dietary fiber from whole food. Dietary fiber comes from whole plant-based foods and is health food for your microbiome.”
  • “Second principle: eat less animal protein. Eating meat is hard on your microbiome.”
  • “Less fiber leads to an unhealthy ecosystem of gut bacteria, and less production of anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids. At the same time, more animal protein shifts the bacteria to behave in ways that generate more inflammation in the gut.”
  • “Microbiome diversity is an important hallmark of health, and a plant-based, low-fat diet is associated with a more diverse, healthier microbiome that can produce higher levels of protective SCFAs.”
  • “Because the microbiome influences our immune system, the medical community is now seeing alarming connections between the microbiome and rising ailments like food allergies, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases that begin in childhood and plague us as adults.”
  • “The whole rye of pumpernickel bread has a prebiotic effect that may decrease the population of toxin-generating bacteria in your gut, resulting in an overall healthier gut and body.”
  • “Eating kiwifruit thus has prebiotic effects that shape beneficial gut bacteria and lower inflammation.”
  • “Brassica is a family of vegetables with a well established reputation for being healthful. These include broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, kale, rutabaga, turnips, and arugula.”
  • “Examination of their stool at the end of the study revealed that those eating the high brassica diet lowered the number of toxin-producing bacteria by 35 percent. This toxin, hydrogen sulfide, damages the gut lining and is found in high levels in the stool of patients with inflammatory bowel disease.”
  • “eating bamboo shoots led to a decline in the family of bacteria to which Akkermansia belongs. Although these findings were in mice, Akkermanisa is so important for treatment response in cancer patients receiving immunotherapy (specifically, checkpoint inhibitors like atezolizumab, avelumab, durvalumab, nivolumab, and pembrolizumab), it might be wise to avoid bamboo shoots if this is your situation.”
  • “An important health tip: fresh, raw bamboo shoots harvested from the forest contain small amounts of a toxin related to cyanide. Cooking the shoots by boiling for 10–15 minutes removes most of the toxin.”
  • “This study showed that for stressed-out individuals, eating dark chocolate for only two weeks can influence gut bacteria and reduce stress markers in the body.”
  • “All of these studies offer evidence that cacao can boost good bacteria while controlling bad bacteria, and it may even help correct disruptions to the microbiome caused by chronic stress.”
  • “By eating walnuts, you can make changes that optimize the balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in your microbiome.”
  • “Bean are good for your gut bacteria because they are high in fiber.”
  • “The scientists found that mice who ate white button mushrooms had less gut inflammation and less damage from the infection, demonstrating the gut protective effect of eating mushrooms.”
  • “In both mice and people, shiitake mushrooms may be able to reverse the changes to the microbiome that typically accompany old age.”
  • “The results showed that Lion’s mane could decrease the symptoms and the proteins associated with gut inflammation by as much as 40 percent.”
  • “Drinking certain fruit juices have a positive impact on the levels of Akkermansia muciniphila, which is associated with decreased gut inflammation and the ability to combat obesity, as well as antitumor responses to some types of cancer immunotherapy.”
  • “In those patients, drinking one cup of pure pomegranate juice per day for four weeks increased the presence of Akkermansia by 71 percent.”
  • “The cranberry extract could increase the levels of Akkermansia by 30 percent after nine weeks, and also protected the animals from weight gain.”
  • “Mice that consumed extracts each day equivalent to that found in a one-third cup of Concord grape juice had less weight gain and five times more Akkermansia than in mice that did not consume the grape extract. The mice fed Concord grapes also had 21 percent less weight gain on a high-fat diet compared to mice eating just the high-fat diet.”
  • “Cherries contain anthocyanins, and they promote Akkermansia growth in the colon. Scientists at Michigan State University fed freeze-dried cherries to lab mice that naturally develop colon tumors and found that eating cherries mixed in their chow reduced the number of tumors that developed by 74%.”
  • “They found that four weeks of drinking the equivalent of a large glass of red wine every day led the bacteria to create metabolites from wine polyphenols, specifically propionic acid, benzoic acid, and valeric acid. These have beneficial anti-inflammatory properties.”
  • “In a different study from Spain, researchers from the University of Oviedo and the Instituto de Productos Lacteos de Asturias–Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas found that drinking only two-thirds of a glass of red wine daily correlated with lower blood levels of a DNA-damaging toxin called malondialdehyde, a marker of aging, oxidative stress, and cellular damage in the body.”
  • “The researchers found that teas could generate a 3 percent increase in the beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus and a 4 percent decrease in the harmful Clostridia histolyticum. Oolong tea had the greatest effect. “
  • “They found that saccharin had the largest effect on the microbiota, with a 1.2-fold decrease in beneficial Lactobacillus reuteri. Recall that L. reuteri is an important gut bacterium that affects immunity, resists development of breast and colon tumors, and influences the gut-brain axis to produce the social hormone oxytocin.”
  • “An attraction of artificial sweeteners is that most do not contain any carbohydrates, so they rank very low on the glycemic index. Surprisingly, however, when mice were given artificial sweeteners versus natural sugar or just plain drinking water and then tested for their ability to metabolize glucose, scientists found that mice drinking the artificial sweetener had more impaired glucose tolerance compared to those drinking sugar water or plain water.”
  • “The best way to eat for your bacteria is by putting more dietary fiber in your diet and less animal protein and fat. Plant-based foods are excellent sources of fiber and bioactives that feed and stimulate the healthy microbiome. Your gut bacteria then create metabolites that reduce inflammation, help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol, and improve immunity.”
  • “The improved DNA-protecting effect of the orange juice beyond the vitamin C content suggests that the benefits come from more than just vitamin C. Oranges contain many bioactives, including naringenin and hesperidin, which are also antioxidants. This would support the prevailing wisdom that the combined antioxidant benefits gained from consuming whole foods can be more powerful than swallowing a supplement. And when it comes to oranges, you actually derive more benefit if you eat the whole fruit, rather than just drink the juice. Oranges contain dietary fiber, which as we saw in chapter 8, is good for your microbiome.”
  • “A comet assay showed that drinking the berry juice significantly increased DNA protection by 66 percent, which was seen one week after starting the juice, compared to levels before starting the juice. When the juice intake was stopped, the protective effects wore off, and the level of DNA damage in the blood steadily increased back to previous levels.”
  • “The results showed that eating kiwifruit, regardless of the number of fruits, could reduce DNA damage by approximately 60 percent. When the researchers looked more closely at the DNA, they found that eating three fruits per day actually increased DNA repair activity by 66 percent. So, eating kiwifruit not only neutralizes free radicals, but it also increases the repair rate of any DNA that has been damaged to get it back into shape.”
  • “After three weeks of eating carrots, subjects’ blood exhibited an increase in DNA repair activity, but not a lowering of DNA damage rates. This means that carrots don’t prevent DNA damage but instead repair damage that already exists.”
  • “The broccoli intervention led to a 23 percent decrease in DNA breakage in the blood of cigarette smokers. After the broccoli-eating period had ended, the blood tests were repeated. Not surprisingly, the blood of the smokers showed a return to the same levels of increased DNA damage that was seen prior to eating any broccoli.”
  • “This finding shows that lycopene cannot repair DNA after radiation damage, but it can have a protective effect before exposure to the radiation. As a consequence of these results, also think about having a shot of tomato or watermelon juice before going to the dentist, who may take an X-ray of your teeth, or before getting on an airplane, where a dose of radiation during the flight will be unavoidable.”
  • “The next time you are at the fish market or restaurant, consider these top sources of marine omega-3 PUFAs, which you read about earlier in chapter 6, for their DNA-repairing advantages: hake (a white-fleshed fish in the cod family), sea cucumber (a delicacy in Asia, related to the starfish), manila clams and cockles, tuna (watch out for high mercury levels), yellowtail, and bottarga (the dried roe of gray mullet that is considered a delicacy in the Mediterranean).”
  • “The researchers found that a high intake of marine omega-3 PUFAs was associated with a 46 percent reduced risk of the more aggressive MSI-H colon cancers compared to those with low intake of omega-3 PUFAs. High daily intake was equivalent to the amount of healthy fat you would find in 3.5 ounces of fish, a serving size roughly the size of a deck of cards.”
  • “The researchers found that even after consuming the low dose of soy isoflavone, the RARB2 tumor suppressor gene was turned on. This means that eating soy causes more tumor suppression and greater protection against cancer growth.”
  • “Broccoli, bok choy, kale, and cabbage all contain the bioactive sulforaphane.”
  • “Sulforaphanes caused sixty-three genes in the cancer to be reduced in their activity by half.”
  • “Similar to soy, coffee polyphenols epigenetically turn on the tumor suppressor gene RARB2.”
  • “Turmeric is a tropical plant whose underground stems are harvested, boiled, dried in an oven, and powdered to make an orange colored spice that has been used in cooking and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. The main bioactive in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin causes many beneficial epigenetic effects that increase the activity of tumor suppressor genes in our body known to counter the growth of colon cancer and leukemia.”
  • “This means that the epigenetic powers contained in a single spice, curcumin, can do triple duty: protect against cancer, reduce blood vessel inflammation, and help grow neurons.”
  • “Rosmarinic acid is also found in basil, marjoram, sage, thyme, and peppermint. Scientists at Poznan University in Poland examined its epigenetic effects and found that rosmarinic acid prevents the blocking of tumor suppressor genes in human breast cancer cells.”
  • “When applied to coffee, the analysis found that light coffee drinkers (one to two cups per day) had a 21 percent reduced risk of death from heart attack, while heavy coffee drinkers (two or more cups per day) had a 31 percent reduced risk of death.”
  • “The results were striking: tea drinking was associated with increased telomere length, but only in elderly men, not women. When the amount of tea consumed by men was analyzed, those who drank three or more cups of tea per day had longer telomeres compared to those who drank less than a third of a cup of tea. The difference in telomere length was equivalent to a calculated difference of five years of additional life between high-and low-level tea drinkers.”
  • “The researchers noted that women who do most of the cooking in Chinese culture may be standing over the fumes of oil heated to extremely high temperature in a wok, which could generate chemical byproducts that damage telomeres, thus potentially erasing any protective benefit of tea.”
  • “The Physicians’ Health Study involved 22,742 male doctors and showed an association between eating five or more servings of nuts per week and a 26 percent lower risk of mortality, compared to people who rarely ate nuts or ate no nuts at all.”
  • “Their analysis showed that the more nuts and seeds consumed, the longer the telomeres. For every ten grams of nuts or seeds consumed per day, telomeres were 8.5 units longer over the course of a year.”
  • “Normally, telomeres shrink by 15.4 base pairs per year. Since the NHANES findings showed that eating nuts or seeds increased telomere length by 8.5 units per ten grams consumed, the researchers calculated that for every half a handful of nuts or seeds eaten per day, there would be approximately a 1.5-year slowing of cellular aging.”
  • “In the lab, high-fat diets have been shown to cause undesirable epigenetic changes that shut down the liver’s ability to regenerate. Since the liver is key to detoxifying the blood, this can lead to a buildup of toxins and contribute to a pro-inflammatory state in the body.”
  • “processed meat (including ham, hot dogs, lunch meats, sausage, organ meats, and ham hocks)”
  • ” In fact, for each additional serving of processed meat consumed each day, the telomeres became 0.07 units smaller. Since normal aging shortens telomeres by 15.4 units per year, this means that eating 220 servings of processed meat or having lunch meats four to five days a week is equivalent to accelerating your aging by one year for every year you eat this way.”
  • “Beyond unhealthy saturated fats, which are associated with increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, red meat also contains L-carnitine, which your gut bacteria metabolize to generate a harmful chemical called trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). TMAO has been implicated in the development of obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal cancers, and heart disease.”
  • “The researchers then crunched the available data and found that each can of soda consumed in a day shortened telomeres by 0.01 units, accelerating the effects of aging. In those drinking a twenty-ounce bottle of soda daily, the telomere shortening was equivalent to that of 4.6 years of faster aging each year.”
  • “Asthma sufferers have a trigger-happy immune system that causes severe inflammation in their lungs when they are exposed to various environmental factors.”
  • “White button mushrooms are a good source of bioactives, including beta-glucan, an immune-stimulating dietary fiber. “
  • “A number of other studies in the lab using extracts from other culinary mushrooms like shiitake, maitake, enoki, chanterelle, and oyster mushrooms showed that they, too, can activate immune defenses.”
  • “Fresh garlic has a strong, pungent smell valued for cooking, but when it is aged, garlic becomes almost odorless. Aged garlic is found as a dietary supplement and retains potent bioactives, such as apigenin, that can influence the immune system.”
  • “The illness diaries showed that people taking the garlic extract reported 20 percent fewer cold and flu symptoms, 60 percent fewer incidents of feeling sick enough to cancel regular activities, and 58 percent fewer missed days of work.”
  • “Eating broccoli sprouts can boost your immune defenses against the flu virus.”
  • “These combined effects show that substituting extra virgin olive oil for other cooking oils used in a typical American diet can have both immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory health benefits.”
  • “Many popular foods contain ellagic acid, a potent bioactive with health-defense-activating properties. Chestnuts, blackberries, black raspberries, walnuts, and pomegranate have among the highest levels.”
  • “Cranberries activate the immune system not just in the bladder, but throughout the body.”
  • “Blood analysis showed that subjects drinking the Concord grape juice had 27 percent more protective gamma delta T cells than before they started drinking the Concord grape juice. “
  • “Blood tests before and after the study showed that people who drank the blueberry smoothie had an 88 percent increase in immune cells called myeloid dendritic cells in their blood. These cells help to initiate immune responses against infection.”
  • “Blueberry eaters had almost double the number of NK cells before exercise compared to those who did not eat blueberries. Normally, NK cells would be expected to rapidly decline after intense exercise. But in the group that consumed blueberries, the NK cells remained elevated for at least one hour after exercise ceased.”
  • “A note of caution about glycyrrhetinic acid: high levels can interfere with the body’s regulation of sodium. This means that high licorice consumption can lead to salt retention and high blood pressure.”
  • “Researchers at the Institute Gustav Roussy in France showed in a study of 67,581 women that eating a diet high in protein from meat or fish is pro-inflammatory and associated with increased risk for inflammatory bowel disease.”
  • “A high intake of sugar and soft drinks in people who also have low vegetable intake has been associated with a higher risk of ulcerative colitis, another inflammatory bowel disease.”
  • “Foods containing vitamin C can help turn down the autoimmune response in the body.”
  • “Blood tests showed that mice that ate the green tea extract had significantly lower levels of the autoantibodies, compared to the mice that ate regular chow.”
  • “Living diets can include fermented foods that contain high levels of beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus.”
  • “The intervention diet was composed of plant-based ingredients that were soaked, sprouted, fermented, blended, or dehydrated. The ingredients included almond butter, apples, avocados, bananas, beetroots, blueberries, carrots, cashew nuts, cauliflower, fermented foods (cucumber, sauerkraut, oats), figs, garlic, millet, red cabbage, seaweed, sesame seeds, sprouts (mung bean, lentil, wheat), strawberries, sunflower seeds, tamari sauce, germinated wheat, and zucchini.”
  • “The results showed the participants who ate the high-vegetable/low-protein diet had a threefold reduction in relapse of MS and reported less disability compared to people consuming a Western diet.”
  • “participants on the plant-based diet had 35 percent higher levels of a gut bacteria called Lachnospiraceae, which produces the anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids we saw in chapter 8. Lachnospiraceae also helps Treg cells to mature. Tregs dampen down the immune response in MS, which can suppress the disease.”
  • “There are five health defense systems in your body: angiogenesis, regeneration, microbiome, DNA protection, and immunity. These systems maintain your health in a state of perfect balance.”
  • “The second 5 is about your choice of at least five favorite foods to include in your diet each day.”
  • “To be clear, these aren’t the only five foods you will eat each day, but rather five foods that you are deliberately choosing to add alongside any other foods you eat in a day. Also, they probably won’t be the same five foods every day. “
  • “This last 5 refers to when we eat: meals and snacks. The fact is, most of us eat on five occasions each day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and perhaps a snack and dessert. This means you get five shots every day to eat the five healthy foods you’ve chosen.”
  • “Preferred Foods List
    Apples (Granny Smith)
    Apples (Red Delicious)
    Apples (Reinnette)
    Bitter melon
    Black chokeberry
    Black plums
    Black raspberries
    Black raspberries (dried)
    Blackberries (dried)
    Blueberries (dried)
    Camu camu
    Cherries (dried)
    Cranberries (dried)
    Goji berries
    Pink grapefruit
    Sultana raisins

Aged garlic
Bamboo shoots
Belgian endive
Bok choy
Broccoli rabe
Broccoli sprouts
Cherry tomatoes
Chile peppers
Chinese celery
Collard greens
Green beans
Mustard greens
Pao cai
Purple potatoes
Red-leaf lettuce
Red black-skin tomatoes
San Marzano tomatoes
Squash blossoms
Swiss chard
Tangerine tomatoes
Tardivo di Treviso

Black beans
Chanterelle mushrooms
Enoki mushrooms
Lion’s mane mushrooms
Maitake mushrooms
Morel mushrooms
Navy beans
Oyster mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms
White button mushrooms

Nuts, Seeds, Whole Grains, Bread
Almond butter
Brazil nuts
Cashew butter
Chia seeds
Flax seeds
Macadamia nuts
Peanut butter
Pine nuts
Pumpernickel bread
Pumpkin seeds
Rice bran
Sesame seeds
Sourdough bread
Squash seeds
Sunflower seeds
Whole grains

Arctic char
Bigeye tuna
Black bass
Bluefin tuna
Caviar (sturgeon)
Cockles (clam)
Eastern oysters
Fish roe (salmon)
Gray mullet
John Dory (fish)
Manila clam
Mediterranean sea bass
Oyster sauce
Pacific oysters
Rainbow trout
Razor clams
Red mullet
Sea bream
Sea cucumber
Spiny lobster
Squid ink
Yellowtail (fish)

Chicken (dark meat)

Camembert cheese
Cheddar cheese
Edam cheese
Emmenthal cheese
Gouda cheese
Jarlsberg cheese
Muenster cheese
Stilton cheese

Licorice root

Olive oil (EVOO)

Dark chocolate

Black tea
Chamomile tea
Cloudy apple cider
Concord grape juice
Cranberry juice
Green tea
Jasmine tea
Mixed berry juice
Oolong tea
Orange juice
Pomegranate juice
Red wine (Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot)
Sencha green tea”

  • “A 15 percent restriction of calories over two years not only slows metabolic aging, but in one study it also led to a nineteen-pound weight loss.”
  • “Stainless steel or ceramic knives will give you cutting performance and durability. Plus, they are easy to clean.”
  • “High-quality pans (ceramic coated, stainless steel, or cast-iron skillet and sauté pan)”
  • “Get cast iron or carbon steel; never buy a nonstick wok. Look for one that has an all-metal handle (no plastic).”
  • “Cutting board: Get a wooden one; wood is best for your knives and the most natural surface for cutting or chopping food.”
  • “Whisk: Metal only.”
  • “Stainless steel dry measuring cups”
  • “Real aged balsamic vinegar comes from Modena or Reggio Emilia in Italy, and it is expensive but worth it.”
  • “Apple cider vinegar is another good pantry item that’s been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels.”
  • “Honey: Manuka honey from New Zealand stimulates the immune system and is good with tea and lemon for soothing a sore throat.”
  • “Many people keep bottled water in their pantry for easy hydration, but I recommend you avoid regularly consuming water stored in plastic bottles. Studies have shown that even without BPA plastic, plastic particles called microplastics will shed into water that you drink. One study found as many as 2,400 pieces of microplastic in eight fluid ounces of bottled water.”
  • ” If you use olive oil for stir-frying, use light olive oil, not extra virgin, which will burn and impart an off-flavor to stir-fried foods.”
  • “What you might not know is that grilling meats (but not vegetables) produces polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). These are carcinogens that form when oils from the meat drip into flame and smoke. The rising smoke deposits the carcinogens on the cooking meat.”
  • “If you cook vegetables on a grill, cook at medium heat. Make sure you clean the grates thoroughly beforehand, so you are not picking up carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are in the char of the last piece of meat that was grilled.”
  • “Avoid deep-frying, and never reuse oil you’ve cooked with once before.”
    “If oil is used, choose extra virgin olive oil. But do not overheat olive oil (or any other oil) to its smoking point, which can generate toxic fumes as well as convert the oil into harmful trans-fats. If you are sautéing or stir-frying, use a cast-iron, stainless steel, or nonstick ceramic pan only.”
  • “Avoid microwaving starchy foods, because the high heat changes starch into a harmful polymer (advanced glycation end products) that can build up in your body and cause damage to your organs.”
  • “Extracts from persimmon have been shown to kill colon cancer and prostate cancer cells.”
  • “Wasabi extracts have been shown to kill breast, colon, and liver cancer cells. (Note: the green mound typically served with sushi in restaurants is not real wasabi, but an imitation made with powdered horseradish colored with green food dye.)”
  • “Bitter [melon] is often better when it comes to health benefits, and the bioactives of this melon that are responsible for its taste have been shown to kill colon cancer and breast cancer cells, lower cholesterol, and improve blood sugar levels in diabetes.”
  • “An epidemiological study of 107,998 people showed that drinking beer is associated with a reduced risk for kidney cancer.”
  • “But studies of tens of thousands of people in Sweden have shown that eating small amounts of cheese (up to six slices per day) is associated with a reduced risk for heart attack.”
  • “But dark chocolate contains high amounts of cocoa solids, the core ingredient that does deliver a number of health benefits. A greater percentage of cacao along with less sugar and little dairy is what makes dark chocolate a healthier confection. Consuming dark chocolate has been found to lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, protect your DNA, and improve gut bacteria.”
  • “Research has shown that a chile-fed microbiome can ward off inflammation and obesity.”
  • “But scientists in the lab have found that purple potatoes are antiangiogenic, and they can kill cancer stem cells. The anticancer effects are preserved whether the purple potato is boiled, baked, or cooked as potato chips.”
  • “One major European study showed that consuming one and a half servings of tree nuts (twenty-two walnut halves) per day was associated with a 31 percent reduced risk of developing colon cancer.”
  • “Tomatoes are a great source of health defense activating bioactives, but some are greater than others. For high lycopene levels, look for: San Marzano tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, red black-skin tomatoes, and Tangerine tomatoes.”
  • “If you are looking for other great sources of lycopene, consider watermelon and papaya. Some papayas even have higher levels of lycopene than tomatoes.”
  • “The ones with the highest levels of health-promoting polyphenols are Granny Smith, Red Delicious, and the Reinette. “
  • “Avoid the packaged pre-sliced mushroom tops because their bioactives break down faster than whole mushrooms. Chanterelles, morels, porcini (cepes), maitake, and shiitake (fresh or dried) are my standouts for taste, but don’t forget that the common white button is a great healthy choice.”
  • “When you are in the seafood section of the market, keep in mind that some of the most popular large fish, such as tuna and swordfish, can contain high levels of mercury.”
  • “Pregnant women should, in general, be very cautious about eating sushi for this reason.”
  • “But not all olive oils have the same levels of bioactives, and I look for the oils made from one of three monovarietals that are high in polyphenols: Koroneiki, Picual, and Moraiolo.”
  • “Balance is your goal when it comes to health. You want to aim to keep your health defense systems in a state of balance.”
  • “There is evidence that whole grains, nuts, plant-based foods, and fish can help prevent diabetes.”
  • “Some diets, such as the MIND Diet, which is a combination of the Mediterranean and the DASH diet, and the Canadian Brain Health Food Guide, can help maintain mental function and delay the inevitable progression of neurodegenerative disease.”

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