MASSACHUSETTS, United States - An eminent US scientist has revealed that specific compounds in certain foods can boost the body’s natural defences against life-limiting diseases.
As a doctor who has treated thousands of patients and a scientist working at the forefront of modern medicine, Harvard expert Dr William Li is convinced the most powerful way to beat disease — from cancer to dementia — is to prevent it in the first place.
His work hinges on the study of five key defence systems in our body: our immune system, our stem cells, our DNA, our gut bacteria, and the sophisticated action of our blood vessels. When working well, they keep us healthy, but age, inactivity, stress, poor diet and toxic load — from air pollution, smoke and processed food, for example — put them under pressure, and that’s when disease can creep in.
Dr Li has drawn on more than 30 years of medical research and more than 700 scientific studies to pinpoint which foods support these systems best.
"We all know the saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ and to some extent we now know this to be true — apples are a great source of plant nutrients, vitamins and fibre.
"But we now have research evidence to show that one apple, preferably a Granny Smith or Red Delicious, contains precisely the bioactive compounds (namely caffeic and ferulic acid) your body needs to help fight the mechanisms of specifically bladder, colon and lung cancers.
"My research has shown that our health is protected by a series of five remarkable defence systems that work hard to keep our cells and organs functioning smoothly.
"These systems are hardwired to protect us by resisting the regular hazards we all face every day (such as air pollution and ageing) and by instigating a healing process when disease does strike. The big five are: your immune system, your stem cells, your DNA, your gut bacteria, and the sophisticated action of your blood vessels (a process called angiogenesis).
"Most of the best foods are vegetables and fruit — which goes some way to explain the health-giving effects of plant-based diets, and why we’ve all been urged to aim to eat five (or, preferably, more) portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
"But now we can pinpoint precisely which foods best support each defence system and this is key to using your diet to maintain health and beat disease.
"Foods are now being tested using the same processes that have been used to develop drugs and studies show precisely how certain foods can activate each system.
"Pick the right foods each day and you can be confident you are doing the best you can to protect yourself against illness and disease.
"Everyone is afraid of becoming ill. If your goal is to stay healthy, and especially if you are battling a disease, you want reliable information based on science and fact, and actionable steps that you can take now to improve your situation."(FA)