The Science Behind Food as Medicine

These days, we seem to be bombarded from all directions with information from both reliable and unreliable sources. It requires sifting through it all to find convincing evidence based on wisdom not ignorance. 

Much of this informative bombardment has little impact on our lives unless we are making personal choices that could end up being harmful to us, particularly when it involves our health. Being accurately informed before making decisions that impact our well-being is a step we must all take even if we do not like the answers.

A perfect example of accurate information is the incredibly positive impact that a primarily plant-based diet has on the health of the human body. This lifestyle choice supports the immune system, increases fiber intake, helps maintain healthy weight, lowers inflammation in the body, supports the microbiome and reduces the risk of many diseases. Of course, plant-based food choices that promote these benefits must come from wholesome sources.

At the same time, there’s the widespread popularity of meat as a primary dietary choice. A lot of people enjoy eating meat, and it may even be related to distant genetic makeup.

Very early versions of plant-eating humankind are believed to have become scavengers of animals killed by saber-toothed tigers, and some scientists believe that this initiating dietary intake of meat contributed to the development of the human brain.

Cravings for meat deep-rooted in human DNA may make it incredibly difficult to give up this protein source for many people. However, this ancient baggage from the past is worth adjusting. Besides, a primarily plant-based diet means you can still eat meat in moderation with some sources being healthier than others.

What’s Up, Doc?

In-depth nutritional advice from the medical profession has been scant in modern history. It’s no fault of physicians, who receive very little education about the healthy aspects of food during their years of medical training.

Of late, there are doctors who have honed in on the fundamental connection between dietary intake and health. It would seem that we are experiencing a transitional period between what is known about medicine and what its future holds. A large part of what’s in store involves the disease-preventing qualities of food.

One doctor in the spotlight of the food-as-medicine field is William Li, a world-renowned physician, scientist and speaker. Dr. Li is a leader in the study of angiogenesis, the process by which blood vessels are formed in the body.

Beginning in 1994, his team’s work would result in a new field of medicine: angiogenesis-based therapy, which is aimed at stopping blood vessels from growing in diseased tissues and literally starving illnesses, such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cancer.

Based on research at The Angiogenesis Foundation that Dr. Li founded, over 32 FDA-approved drugs, tissue products and medical devices are available today.

When the medical doctor directly involved in the development of this therapy goes on record as saying there are tested foods and drinks that can prevent the onset of diseases, it’s worth listening to and heeding his advice based on wisdom.

William Li wrote the New York Times bestselling book, Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your  Body Can Heal Itself, because he was one of those doctors who had not been educated or trained to advise his patients on the specifics of nutrition. However, his authorial achievement does not mean he has rejected evidence-based medicine.   

As Dr. Li emphasized, “The advice on foods I’ve included in this book is not intended to take the place of good medical care. I am not one of those doctors who rejects Western biomedicine and suggests that food is the magic solution.” He goes on to write that “the ability to guide an individual, whether healthy or sick, on how they can use food as a way to resist disease” is lacking among the many skills of physicians.

Decades of research and testing has revealed over 200 foods that actually assist five defense systems in the body that Dr. Li and his team identified: angiogenesis, regeneration, microbiome, DNA protection and immunity. Dr. Li even narrows it down to “food doses that have been known to thwart illnesses.”

Honing in on one of those defense systems, the microbiome and its relationship to good or bad health is dependent on our nutritional intake. Dr. Li emphasizes that we do not just feed ourselves when we eat. We support or weaken our microbiomes by our food choices. This echoes the words of the father of medicine, Hippocrates: Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.

This blog has scratched only the surface of Dr. Li’s food-as-medicine message. For more evidence-based information, click this link to view a discussion with William Li.

Published by The AIM Companies

Nutrition that Works!

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