Eat To Beat Disease Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Eat To Beat Disease will help you be healthier and fight off infection by identifying how food affects your immune system and what to put into your body that will make you more resilient against illness.

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Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and dementia. These diseases are all increasing in prevalence every year and the cost in lives and medical care to treat these kinds of diseases is astronomical. But what if I told you the prevention of these ailments could be as simple as eating certain foods? 

Believe it or not, your body has a sophisticated system built in it to beat these diseases and more, and even to prevent aging. The key to unlocking that potential is eating the right food. The latest science is showing the specific benefits of many foods, from nuts and berries to cheese and cocoa.  

In his bestselling book, Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself, Dr. William W. Li shines light on the body’s amazing disease-fighting and anti-aging mechanisms and which foods will unlock this power. Using the latest research, he demonstrates that when it comes to your health, the best medicine is actually food. 

These are just 3 of the many great lessons I got out of this book:

  1. If you want to boost the body’s natural cancer defense system, eat lots of soy and broccoli.
  2. Help your microbiome by eating fermented foods, cheese, and fruit.
  3. Protect your DNA from aging by eating berries and nuts.

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Lesson 1: To boost your body’s cancer defense, reach for soy products and broccoli.

Did you know right now as you’re reading this, you are developing cancer? It sounds scary, but the truth is, your body makes around 10,000 potentially cancer-causing cell division mistakes every day. Of course, your body has a way to fix this, and it’s known as angiogenesis.

Angiogenesis the process by which your body forms and maintains blood vessels. So when there’s a mistake, or a tumor, angiogenesis can make sure blood vessels don’t provide it with nutrients and starve it. This process can stop cancer in its tracks, unless blood vessels aren’t working regularly and provide blood to the wrong places, resulting in cancer. 

Amazingly, research shows there are foods that can help your body with angiogenesis and thereby give you extra protection from cancer. 

Soybeans are one of these foods, because they are high in genistein, a potent substance that blocks blood flow to tumor cells. You can get soy from tofu, soy sauce, edamame, or soy milk. Research shows that the most benefits come from having 10 grams a day of soy products. 

Another cancer superstar is broccoli. Broccoli had brassinin and sulforaphanes two things that help support healthy angiogenesis to protect from cancer. 

Studies have shown eating broccoli is linked to a 59 percent lower risk of prostate cancer, 33 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer, and 28 percent lower risk of melanoma. You only have to eat one to two cups of broccoli a week to receive cancer-fighting benefits.

Lesson 2: Fruit, cheese, and fermented foods support your microbiome, which is essential to your overall health.

You probably are aware that your body isn’t just your own. By that, I mean you share it with trillions of microorganisms, many of which are essential to your body’s functions. It’s called your microbiome, and keeping them healthy keeps you healthy. 

For example, in your gut, you have bacteria that produce oxytocin and dopamine. Through the gut-brain axis, these bacteria communicate with the brain and have an effect on your mood. Having certain types of bacteria in your gut can actually reduce anxiety. Other bacteria produce metabolites which help prevent diabetes. 

So what can you eat to support your microbiome? Research shows eating cranberries and drinking pomegranate juice encourages growth of a the bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila, which supports immune health, fights inflammation, and protects you from obesity

Another awesome food for fighting inflammation is sauerkraut, a German dish of fermented cabbage. It has been shown to encourage stem cell growth in the intestines and prevent inflammation. 

Lastly, there is good news for cheese lovers. You can feel good about sprinkling that Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on pasta and more. The hard cheese is packed with Lactobacillus rhamnosis, which studies show will decrease your risk of cancer, gastroenteritis, and postnatal depression. 

Lesson 3: When you eat lots of nuts and berries, you can protect your body from the effects of aging.

Good health depends on your body’s genetic code, known as your DNA. But sadly, your DNA is damaged continuously throughout your life. This can be the result of infection, inflammation, toxic chemicals, pollution, and even the sun. Thankfully, your body has ways to defend itself and repair this damage.

It does this by scanning for damaged DNA and replacing it. It also protects your DNA with end caps called telomeres, which essentially keep it from fraying. As you age, telomeres get shorter, so keeping your DNA healthy takes some extra work. Two foods shown to help with this are nuts and berries. 

 In a study, researchers gave participants 3 cups of a berry juice every day. After just one week, the juice drinkers showed a 66 percent increase in the ability to protect against DNA damage compared to the control.

Another study had participants eat just 10 grams of nuts every day. After a year, participants’ telomeres increased in length by 8.5 units. What makes this change so significant is that on average, normal aging processes usually shorten our telomeres by 15.4 units every year, meaning eating enough nuts can basically reverse the clock on aging DNA.

Eat To Beat Disease Review

Eat To Beat Disease is fascinating because it approaches diet as a way to aid your body’s natural defense against disease rather than just lose weight or give a miracle cure. It gives the specifics of what you can eat, how much of it, and what benefits it has. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to learn a little more about how diet can not only prevent disease but also slow the aging process.

Who would I recommend the Eat To Beat Disease summary to?

The 37-year-old that is overweight and wants to learn the science of getting healthy again, the 55-year-old healthcare worker that’s curious to know more about how nutrition affects the body, and anyone that would like to know how to eat to live longer and healthier.

Last Updated on September 21, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.