In the past week, I listened to a very interesting podcast, called “Smart people Podcast” with Dr. William Li. I’ve always believed in food being our medicine. This particular blog post discusses Dr. William Li’s new book, “Eat to beat disease.”
There are a lot of opinions out there and knowing what to eat can be a difficult choice. Dr. William Li, a scientist and medical doctor with over 20 years of training, makes mention of how he doesn’t enjoy thinking any thoughts based on fear, guilt, and regret when it comes to food. I’m sure many of us can relate to this and if you are a food lover, you want to enjoy eating, without those negative feelings. Dr. Li focuses on food items that he can embrace and enjoy. The new science, behind his book, is more about how the body reacts to certain foods. It answers some of the tough questions such as, How do we restore our health, and beat disease? How does the body heal itself when it comes to food?
What is the science behind the body healing itself?
When I listened to the podcast, the simplicity of the science is profound. Remember every time your grandmother told you to stay warm or you’d get sick? Or to exercise and stay healthy? Or maybe if you got sick and your tummy was upset? She would tell you that you didn’t eat the right thing and that your gut didn’t like it. Turns out, they were right! Our health is the result of systems in our body working for us in their optimal ways to keep our bodies in good health, says Dr. Li.
The system called Angiogenesis
Dr. Li speaks of angiogenesis, which describes how the body grows blood vessels. These powerful systems bring oxygen to our cells. When there is just the right amount of blood vessels working as they should, our body functions well and is strong enough to fight off any diseases that may attack us.
Dr. Li discusses and answers the question of whether our body regenerates? The answer is, a big YES! Our wounds heal, our skin, nails, and hair regenerate. Some foods can activate the regeneration of our body, such as dark chocolate, the darker the chocolate, the better. It’s a plant-based food as it comes from the cacao bean. There was a research done in San Francisco where men in their 60’s had heart disease, they were given dark chocolate in the form of hot chocolate, twice a day, for a month. This doubled their ability to increase their blood flow. Fish oil that you find in salmon, yellowtail and sardines are packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, which increase your stem cell number, thus increasing blood flow, according to the research by Dr. Li.
How do we balance what we want to eat with the benefits of it?
Sugar and fat is something our brain loves and is highly addictive. The best way to balance what we eat is to do our research on the foods that we eat and practice self-control. Dr. Li uses the analogy of having a pet. Your pet could eat all day long, but you manage their health, by controlling what and how much they eat. You can do the same for yourself and maintain your health.
The science behind supplements
As much as you can eat organic, home-grown foods, supplements provide us with a concentration of the vitamin that we sometimes can’t get through our local or home-grown foods. It doesn’t mean that they should replace what we eat or that we shouldn’t watch what we eat, instead we must make good food choices and use them to supplement our meals.
What does the Science tell us about the microbiome and is the leaky gut a real thing? During the interview with Doctor Li, he speaks on a research done in a poor area in Bulgaria, where the people ate mostly yogurt. When the yogurt was looked at carefully, it contained bacteria, and it was concluded that the bacteria in the yogurt was the very thing that kept them healthy.
Dr. Li addressed the leaky gut issue to and spoke on how those who have an inflamed gut or general gut issues, also have a deranged neighbourhood of bad bacteria, that has taken out the good bacteria. Luckily, our bodies know the exact balance of bacteria that can help calm our immune system, which is connected to our gut.
Our microbiome talks directly to our immune system. We can help our bodies and listen to it, every time we eat, we can tell what makes us feel good and what doesn’t, and by eating the right foods, we can help correct our gut bacteria. A good tip he mentions in the podcast is to drink one glass of pomegranate juice a day. This is one of the things that helps healthy bacteria grow back, especially to help fight cancer for example. Dietary fibre found in whole grains, nuts, and broccoli is also incredibly good for us, according to Dr. Li.
Great ways to introduce healthy bacteria into our gut
Although there’s no simple way to eat away your bad gut, Dr. Li shares that red meat and processed food wrecks our biome, however (this my favourite part) fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt are all great ways of getting good bacteria, and as a result, improves our biome.
The billion-dollar question is, “What makes you feel good?” Dr. Li shares that everyone is unique, and the reality is that our bodies tell us what we need to eat, and it is up to us to take the responsibility to nourish and listen to it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast, and I wanted to share some of the interesting points of it. I encourage you to give it a listen. If you are keen on learning more about how the body operates and heals itself, listen to Doctor William Li on the Smart People Podcast.
Let the food be thy medicine!