From Cooking Light:
Dr. William Li has been on the forefront of this research, dedicating himself to converging the medical and nutrition fields to beat chronic disease. Li shares his breakthrough research in preventing and treating disease by eating healthy food in his book, Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself, which has been praised by renowned health experts around the world.
There’s some concern over the health benefits of tomatoes (thanks, Tom Brady), but Dr. Li says tomatoes are a huge part of fighting disease. This is due to an antioxidant called lycopene, which does so much more than give tomatoes their bright red color. Dozens of studies have discovered lycopene’s powerful cancer-fighting properties, most notably when it comes to cancers of the stomach, prostate, and lungs. There is also evidence to support that lycopene can reduce our risk for colorectal and breast cancers—the most common cancers in American men and women, respectively.
Tree nuts like cashews and almonds are all the rage these days, but Li wants you to pay special attention to the walnut. Li says walnuts are great for fighting off cancer, thanks to their omega-3 and fiber content.
Li advises buying walnuts either raw or lightly salted, and if you need more flavor, you can make your own spice mix at home that isn’t so high in sodium or sugar as what you may find at the grocery store. He eats a handful almost every day to get the omega-3 boost he needs, and of course, to help fight off cancer!
Soy is pretty hotly debated, as many believe soy’s phytoestrogen can be a factor in promoting breast cancer. Li says soy is actually beneficial for cancer prevention and treatment—and there are many studies to back up his claim!
Li explained that human estrogen is vastly different from plant estrogen, as plant estrogen is thousands of times weaker than the kind produced in our bodies. He says that soy can actually shrink cancer cells and prevent cancer growth. Not only that, but soybeans are full of plant protein, fiber, iron, and magnesium. Now that’s a superfood worthy of its title!
We all know green tea is healthy, but few of us know why. Li says green tea is loaded with antioxidants, plus it boosts our immunity, strengthens our microbiome, and helps fight off cancer! Matcha is specifically thought to be even more powerful. Because it’s grown in the shade, matcha has a bright green color (from its higher levels of chlorophyll and increased levels of the amino acid L-Theanine), and there have been strong associations linking matcha consumption to cancer prevention.
Incorporating green tea into your routine is as simple as replacing coffee during your mid-day slump or adding a teaspoon or two of matcha into your morning smoothie. Li drinks 2-3 cups of green tea a day to reap the full benefits.
Anthocyanins are the antioxidants responsible for giving purple potatoes their jewel-tone hue, and have some serious cancer-fighting powers. Anthocyanins are anti-angiogenic, meaning they cut off the growth of cancer stem cells and prevent them from spreading throughout our bodies.
Anthocyanins also have anti-inflammatory properties and help regulate the genes responsible for cell mutation and tumor growth. Most of the research done on anthocyanins is in relation to skin and gastrointestinal cancers and diseases. Try swapping white or sweet potatoes for purple potatoes (when you can find them) once or twice a week, or combine all your favorite potato varieties into a multicolor potato salad.
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Image credit: Mark Nilsson via Cooking Light.