Littler Books cover of Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself Summary

Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself Summary and Quotes

William W. Li

1.5 minutes to read • Updated May 22, 2024

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Discover the science-backed ways of using your diet to prevent and fight against diseases.

Bullet Point Summary

  1. Cancers occur all the time inside our bodies. It is inevitable for cells to divide incorrectly and create microscopic tumors.
  2. However, our bodies have a defense system called angiogenesis to negate the damage of these cancers.
  3. Angiogenesis controls the growth of blood vessels and prevents blood vessels from delivering nutrients to cancers.
  4. Soy foods strengthen angiogenesis. Studies found daily consumption of 10 grams or more of soy protein improves cancer-fighting functions.
  5. Broccoli contains brassinin and sulforaphanes, substances that bolster angiogenesis. A Harvard research showed that broccoli consumption is associated with a 33% lower risk of ovarian cancer, a 59% lower risk of prostate cancer, and a 28% lower risk of melanoma.
  6. Stem cells are key to our bodies' regenerative functions, and thus crucial for healing from injuries and diseases.
  7. Stem cells also protect our cardiovascular health by repairing damaged blood vessels from heart attacks.
  8. Cocoa is good for stem cells. It contains flavanols, a substance which improves stem cell circulation. In one study, people who drank cocoa with flavanols twice a day doubled their stem cell count in their bloodstreams.
  9. Good bacteria in our bodies improves mood and prevents diabetes.
  10. Pomegranate and cranberry improve immune system, lower gut inflammation, and fight obesity.
  11. Sauerkraut stimulates stem cell growth in the intestines, which decreases gut inflammation.
  12. Parmigiano Reggiano has bacteria that protects against cancer, gastroenteritis, and postnatal depression.
  13. White button mushrooms are good for our immune systems. One study found by adding 100 grams of white button mushrooms to people's daily diet for a week increased the antibodies in their saliva by 55%.
  14. Extra virgin olive oil contains substances that enhance our immune systems. One study found replacing the fat in people's diet with extra virgin olive oil for three months resulted in 53% increase in important markers of immune system health.
  15. Our DNA gets damaged as we age, but telomeres, the ends of DNA that protect the DNA, slow down the damage -- similar to how the plastic caps at the ends of shoelaces stop fraying.
  16. Studies found that berries and nuts strengthen and lengthen telomeres, and thus prolong healthy DNA.
  17. Beer contains xanthohumol, which has anti-cancer properties and stunts fat cell growth.
  18. Eating spicy foods can improve your health. One large-scale study found daily spicy food consumption was associated with a 14% lower risk of dying from any disease, including stroke, heart disease and cancer.
  19. Small amounts of cheese in the diet is associated with lower risk of heart attacks. Furthermore, consuming small amounts of hard cheeses like Emmental, Gouda and Edam reduces risk of prostate cancer and lung cancer due to their high levels of vitamin K2.
  20. Studies found that daily consumption of seafood reduced likelihood of breast cancer and bowel cancer.

Eat to Beat Disease: Resources