After years of listening to constantly changing advice about healthy eating, it can be easy to get confused about which foods you should include in your diet to optimize your well-being.
Throughout the week, the Daily Mail serializes a groundbreaking new book by the American physician and scientist Dr. William Li, who has studied the study of how certain foods can help us fight disease.
His lifelong work is focused on the study of the body's five major defense systems – immunity, stem cells, intestinal bacteria, blood vessels and DNA protection – and research that identifies specific compounds in certain foods that support them.
Throughout the week, the Daily Mail serializes a groundbreaking new book by the American physician and scientist Dr. William Li, who has studied the study of how certain foods can help us fight disease (file image)
He has selected research to provide scientifically substantiated advice.
Yesterday he discussed how food can actually be prescribed in specific doses to help combat certain diseases.
So what can damage your stem cells?
SMOKING: Normal smoking consumes the number of stem cells stored in the bone marrow, reducing their ability to multiply by as much as 80 percent. Only 30 minutes of exposure to tobacco smoke exhaled by someone else is enough to numb your stem cells, making them dysfunctional for up to 24 hours.
HEAVY DRINKING: Binge drinking large amounts of alcohol lowers brain stem cell activity in the part of the brain responsible for building short and long term memory (although this damage is reversed when binge drinking stops).
AGING: The number of stem cells decreases as we get older, and the remaining stem cells become less active.
DIABETES: Stem cells exposed to a sugar-rich environment are less able to regenerate tissue – they cannot multiply or move around the body normally.
Today Dr. You see the real "superfoods" – foods that work hard to improve all five body health defenses.
He also explains the important disease-fighting role that your stem cells play – and reveals the food that can make them work efficiently.
Our stem cells are the special powers in our body that collect intelligence, perform reconnaissance and perform missions to keep organs in optimum shape. When you sustain an injury or develop a disease, your stem cells take action: repair, replace and regenerate dead and worn-out cells on request.
How stem cells work is still a mystery, but we do know that they are factories for important chemicals that are needed in organs that are growing or being repaired.
They help to repair and build up bone and skin, nerves and hair, so to support your own defense against disease and disease, you should strive to eat at least one food that can protect and support your stem cells every day.
We know that babies are born with a rich supply of stem cells that stimulate growth and development, but their number – and potential – decreases with age.
Dr. William Li & # 39; s lifelong work focuses on the study of the five most important body defenses – immunity, stem cells, intestinal bacteria, blood vessels and DNA protection – and research that identifies specific compounds in certain foods that support them (file image)
Over time, stem cell activity can also be reversed by smoking, air pollution and alcohol. When this immune system comes under pressure, your body can reach the state where there are not enough stem cells to repair blood vessels, heart muscle and brain tissue.
Chronic wounds in the feet, ankles and lower legs also need stem cells to regenerate healthy tissue and close the injury, to prevent infection and the development of deadly gangrene.
When the muscles, tendons and nerves of your legs die in peripheral arterial disease (a narrowing of the blood vessels in the legs), the body will try to engage stem cells to reverse the damage.
If you are pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes, high blood sugar levels can damage stem cells and lower their number, reducing your body's ability to repair itself. Many of the complications of diabetes (heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, chronic wounds) are bound to dysfunctional stem cells.
Many conditions associated with aging (such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, as well as cardiovascular diseases) can worsen even if your stem cell defense system is not working optimally.
So turn the page to find the "superfoods" that improve your body's defense mechanisms.
How to heal your body from within
Whether you are healthy and want to optimize your strength and just gracefully age, or have a serious chronic condition such as heart disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes or even cancer, there is a way to use diet to steer stem cells to get you help heal from the inside out.
Add this to your shopping list …
These are some suggestions from Dr. Li to keep in mind when doing your weekly shop. Choose organic products wherever possible, because this is better for health and for the environment.
- Vinegar: real old balsamic vinegar comes from Modena or Reggio Emilia in Italy. It contains melanoidins, which prevent DNA damage. Apple vinegar has been shown to lower cholesterol.
- Olive oil: (see previous spread).
- Black pepper: this contains piperine, which increases the absorption of compounds such as curcumin in turmeric.
- Dried fruit: apricots, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, mango, papaya and raisins for snacks. Choose sulfite-free versions, as this preservative can cause allergic reactions.
- Pasta / noodles: Whole grain pasta, squid ink noodles and buckwheat soba (buckwheat increases immunity).
- Nuts: Almonds, cashews, macadamia, pecans, pine nuts and walnuts. Due to the high oil content, most cannot be stored for very long.
- Canned tomatoes AND PASTE: San Marzano tomatoes are the best for lycopene.
- Oyster sauce: linked to a reduction in DNA damage.
- Anchovy paste: good for adding flavor during cooking, it contains fish oil, which helps to increase stem cells that can regenerate muscles.
- Honey: Manuka honey from New Zealand stimulates the immune system and is good with tea and lemon to relieve sore throat.
- Maple sugar: a natural sweetener made from maple syrup. It has been found to contain active compounds called polyphenols, some of which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies show that the stem cells in bone marrow, skin, heart and other organs can be activated by what and how we eat.
Selecting the right food can help you put your stem cells into action to help muscle grow, maintain strength and slow aging.
Stem cells not only keep you youthful, they can also regenerate tissues that have been damaged by aging, causing the body to heal faster.
As a basic rule, it is important to know that high-fat, salt-rich or sugar-rich diets can hamper stem cell activity, but it has been shown that Mediterranean and Asian dietary patterns help them.
Eating to support your stem cells can help your body fight chronic diseases. For example, if you have had a heart attack or stroke, your stem cells can help you save your heart and rebuild your brain.
If you have had surgery and need to heal quickly, or if you are recovering from an illness and want to be healthy again, or if you are middle-aged and you want your body to stay young, the good news is that certain foods can keep increase stem cells.
By supporting the body's regenerative immune system, these foods can help to influence everything from repairing damaged organs to compensating for the effects of eating too much fat.
Food and drink that help in stem cell recruitment include turmeric (it contains curcumin, which has pro-regenerative properties), red wine (one to two glasses per day) and green tea (four cups per day increased stem cells by 43 percent in two weeks, according to a survey).
Dark chocolate, black tea and beer can also mobilize stem cells and help our bodies regenerate.
A study in California gave patients with a known heart disease two daily cups of hot chocolate made with 70 percent dark chocolate. After 30 days the number of stem cells in their blood had doubled.
No known medicine has the same effect. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oil and fish eaten by people on a Mediterranean diet also help to stimulate stem cells.
Each food contains its own asset of defensive activating active compounds ("bioactive substances").
Cancer-fighting purple potato
Not all stem cells are beneficial. For example, cancer can create stem cells that help the disease to return after treatment.
But some food compositions (such as those in purple sweet potatoes) are so advanced that they can target these rogue stem cells without affecting the action and activity of helpful cells.
Not all stem cells are beneficial. For example, cancer can create stem cells that help the disease to return after treatment (file image)
The anti-cancer effects are retained regardless of whether the purple potato is cooked, baked or cooked as potato chips. Green tea can also kill malignant cancer stem cells (which form new cancers). If you have or have ever had cancer, you should focus on killing those stem cells.
Wellness diary tip
From DRS Chris and Xand van Tulleken.
Do not eat in bed or on the couch (apart from fruit). Weight gain occurs when we graze while sitting thoughtlessly.
There is still no medicine that can do this, but there is a growing number of foods and their bioactive substances that are being investigated for their suppressive effects on cancer stem cells. Finding ways to kill cancer stem cells is one of the holy grails in cancer research.
While biotechnology companies are investigating this, scientists have already discovered nutritional factors that can kill them, at least with some cancers.
Other foods that contain bioactive substances that have been shown to suppress cancer stem cells are soy, celery, oregano, thyme, capers, apples and peppers.
Scientists in Korea discovered that resveratrol – the bioactive substance found in red wine, grapes, peanuts, pistachios, dark chocolate and cranberries – also disrupts the growth of breast cancer stem cells.
Eat to beat illness
Some foods work hard to improve not only one or two, but all five of the body's health defenses. When it comes to beating diseases, these are real "superfoods", so if you do nothing else, add them to your weekly shopping list and try to include them regularly in your diet.
In our studies the best olives are: Koroneiki (from Greece), Moraiolo (Italy) and Picual (Spain)
A good virgin olive oil is packed with compounds that have been shown to have anti-angiogenic (i.e. inhibit the growth of rogue blood vessels), anti-inflammatory and unique anti-cancer properties.
Extra virgin olive oil is an important part of the Mediterranean diet and the active ingredients ("bioactive substances") it contains can improve your immune system and reduce the body's response to allergens. Studies show that bioactive substances known as secoiridoids can reduce the growth of cells that can feed breast cancer.
Buy extra virgin cold-pressed oil made from one type of olive, instead of a blend.
In our studies the best olives are: Koroneiki (from Greece), Moraiolo (Italy) and Picual (Spain).
Some are more powerful than others: plums have three times as many polyphenols that fight cancer as peaches
Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, cherries, lychees and mango & # 39; s contain a large number of anti-angiogenic (and regenerative, as well as DNA-protective) bioactive substances that have been shown to help fight cancer.
Some are more powerful than others: plums have three times as many polyphenols that fight cancer as peaches.
Meanwhile, apricots contain a carotenoid called lutein that prevents the formation of brain-damaging compounds found in Alzheimer's disease. And although mango & # 39; s are a great source of bioactive carotenoids (which give the meat its color), they also contain mangiferin, which has anti-tumor, anti-diabetic and cell-regenerating properties.
Cherries contain bio-active substances that are very popular with your intestinal bacteria, which have been shown to reduce tumor development.
The shoots are extremely high in fiber and bioactive substances that have been shown to help weight loss (in mice) and increase bacterial diversity in the gut
Popular in Eastern cuisine, you can buy canned bamboo shoots in supermarkets in the UK.
The shoots contain extremely high fiber and bioactive substances that have been shown to help weight loss (in mice) and increase bacterial diversity in the gut.
Coffee beans contain polyphenols that can unleash tumor suppressors in our DNA, impeding the ability of cancers to grow
Studies show that caffeine is not as healthy – it can affect the heart and accelerate the aging process – but coffee contains much more bioactive substances than caffeine, which work together to provide a protective effect.
This black fluid produced by squid contains compounds that have been shown to not only inhibit "bad" angiogenesis, but also protect stem cells
A large British study has recently shown that one to two cups of coffee per day can give a 21 percent lower risk of death from a heart attack, and two or more cups can give a 31 percent lower risk of death.
It could also help fight cancer. Coffee beans have polyphenols that can unleash tumor suppressors in our DNA, hampering the ability of cancers to grow.
This black fluid produced by squid contains compounds that have been shown to not only inhibit "bad" angiogenesis, but also protect stem cells. Laboratory research has shown that squid ink can also have antioxidant and immune-enhancing effects. It can even protect useful intestinal bacteria against the annoying side effects of chemotherapy.
This purple-green vegetable is a rich source of chlorogenic acid that activates your stem cells
This purple-green vegetable is a rich source of chlorogenic acid that activates your stem cells. It also has angiogenic properties (it helps & # 39; good & # 39; vascular activity) and bio-active agents that stimulate your beneficial gut bacteria – which in turn protect your DNA and immunity.
This downy green fruit has a high content of vitamin C, chlorogenic acid and quinic acid, each of which has antioxidant effects that help neutralize free radicals that could otherwise damage cells.
Researchers in Scotland discovered that eating one or two kiwi & # 39; s a day could reduce DNA damage by about 60 percent, increasing the number of repairs to damaged DNA and putting it back into shape.
The meat also has a prebiotic effect that nourishes useful intestinal bacteria and reduces inflammation throughout the body.
Researchers in Scotland discovered that eating one or two kiwi & # 39; s a day could reduce DNA damage by around 60 percent, increasing the number of repairs to damaged DNA and putting it back into shape
Carrots belong to a select group of foods that are rich in the compound chlorogenic acid – which, according to Japanese scientists, can block the genes that support cells that feed lung cancer. It also works to increase the activity of genes that kill cancer cells.
Carrots are also a rich source of powerful bio-active substances called carotenoids and are "powerhouses" of antioxidant activity.
The combination of vitamins A, B, C, D and E in carrots makes them great for DNA, with a UK study showing five weeks a day three weeks a day is enough to increase the DNA repair activity you need to combat diseases.
Carrots belong to a select group of foods that are rich in the compound chlorogenic acid
All nuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have an impressive anti-cancer effect and are rich in fiber, good for your intestinal bacteria.
Studies show that eating nuts can also delay the aging process.
Of all nuts, walnuts are the best because they are rich in nutrients and contain bioactive substances that have been shown to reduce, among other things, the risk of colon cancer and improve survival in patients who already have colon cancer. Studies show that walnuts also improve anti-inflammatory bacteria in the gut and reduce harmful gut bacteria.
All nuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have an impressive anti-cancer effect and are rich in fiber, good for your intestinal bacteria
Walnuts also contain ellagic acid, a powerful bioactive substance that supports your immune system and has anti-angiogenic effects, which can & # 39; starve & # 39; and stop their growth. It also helps immune cells by improving their ability to detect and destroy cancer cells.
Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds contain bio-active substances called lignans that have been proven to stimulate the growth of "good" blood vessels.
Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds contain bio-active substances called lignans that have been proven to stimulate the growth of "good" blood vessels in the heart after an attack. They also contain a lot of fiber, making it & # 39; bad & # 39; can lower cholesterol levels and feed useful gut bacteria.
The intense color and sharpness of these popular berries indicate the presence of powerful bioactive substances
The intense color and sharpness of these popular berries indicate the presence of powerful bio-active substances, and large studies have linked berry consumption to a lower risk of cancer. They also have remarkable immune-influencing powers and can calm excessive inflammation.
Dark chocolate contains compounds that can lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, protect your DNA and improve intestinal bacteria.
Studies show that drinking hot chocolate made with high concentrations of cocoa constituents can increase your stem cells and improve blood flow as effectively as statins (keeping arteries clear by lowering cholesterol).
This is because cocoa powder contains flavanols that are linked to a lower incidence of death from cardiovascular disease. Active components in dark chocolate can even change cells in your immune system from an anti-inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory state.
Specific bioactive substances have powerful anti-angiogenic effects that can & # 39; starve & tumble & # 39; and & # 39; good & # 39; can stimulate gut bacteria, while the & # 39; bad & # 39; bacteria are controlled. A study in the Netherlands has shown that eating dark chocolate for just two weeks is sufficient to influence your intestinal bacteria and to lower the stress hormone level.
Cocoa powder contains flavanols that have been associated with a lower incidence of death from cardiovascular disease
This leafy vegetable contains at least six anti-angiogenic ingredients – the best form is cavolo nero. As a member of the Brassica family (including broccoli, cauliflower and rocket), kale has proven health benefits. It has been shown to be useful in adjusting the balance of gut bacteria, reducing harmful bacteria that produce hydrogen sulfide, which would damage the gut wall.
This helps to protect against the development of colitis and intestinal inflammation.
This leafy vegetable contains at least six anti-angiogenic ingredients
Regular tea leaves contain more than 2,000 active ingredients. Studies have shown that tea extracts can stop the progress of the rogue blood vessels that feed on cancer and arterial plaque (fat deposits) as effectively as medication.
Standard black tea has been shown to help mobilize stem cells and it can also lower blood pressure by improving the ability of your blood vessels to dilate.
Different tea blends have different levels of health benefits.
Chinese jasmine tea is more powerful than Japanese sencha tea and Earl Gray is even more powerful than jasmine. But we believe that the best mix for the growth of blood vessels sips a mix of sencha with jasmine.
Studies have shown that tea extracts can stop the progress of the rogue blood vessels that feed cancer and arterial plaque (fat deposits) as effectively as medication
In addition to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic properties, the polyphenols (vegetable micronutrients) in tea are loved by your gut bacteria.
Black, oolong and green tea have been shown to increase your levels of "good" bacteria, reduce "bad" and help your microbiome produce useful short-chain fatty acids.
Green tea contains 16 times the level of the important compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) compared to black tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce harmful angiogenesis and cancer growth, lower blood pressure, improve blood lipids and maintain immune cells, plus it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Scientists have also discovered that drinking green tea can stimulate the regeneration of the brain, muscles, bones and nerves to promote healing.
When researchers examined the effects of green tea on smokers' stem cells, they discovered that drinking four cups a day increased the number of circulating stem cells by 43 percent in two weeks.
Green tea also activates the production of a natural antioxidant enzyme that protects DNA by neutralizing free radicals.
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