While I underwent cancer treatment, I followed a diet that eliminated anything that could feed cancer cells. It was the only diet I ever followed to the letter because I wanted to keep cancer in my rear view mirror forever. I lost weight, a good thing, but I felt so deprived, like I was eating fuel instead of food. I told Gene, “It’s like there’s a nasty man pulling everything I like to eat away from me. When he tries to take my coffee, I’ll break his wrist!”
My respect for how diet affects our health remains strong, and I believe helps account for five cancer- free years and counting. Yet I’ve loosened up a bit as more research develops. True, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s diet for cardiac health has brought many from a slow death to a full life, and there are hundreds of cancer patients alive and well because of Dr. Max Gerson’s diet regime. Yet both programs eliminate many foods, especially oils, and are difficult to maintain over time. Personally, I’m ready to give my palate some fun.
Dr. William Li is a physician, researcher, and an expert in blood vessel (angio) formation (genesis) — angiogenesis. He authored the book Eat to Beat Disease and I love to read of the wider choices I have for healthy eating. He also has a YouTube channel: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Dr.+William+Li+Angiogenesis&FORM=VRIBQP ).
So how does blood vessel formation affect the heart, cancer, and diabetes, for example?
We call a heart attack a “myocardial infarction” (MI for short). Infarction means part of the heart (cardio) muscle (myo) is starved of oxygen rich blood because its flow in the blood vessel is blocked. Fortunately, the heart rapidly responds by growing blood vessels to circumvent the blockage.
We all have occasional cancer cells when cells reproduce. Again, our bodies can head them off at the pass by inhibiting angiogenesis that would otherwise feed them the blood they need to grow. Once starved, the immune system kicks in, recognizes the imposter, and takes it out.
In diabetes, there is inadequate blood flow to the nerves, especially in the feet. This kills off the nerves so the person doesn’t feel pain that would tell him he has an infection beginning. (For example, if he stepped on a pebble that broke the skin and introduced bacteria.) Without pain, the person is not likely to seek treatment and if there is not enough blood flow to heal the wound, gangrene can set in.
Enough with the Bad News
God created smart bodies. Eating foods that promote, or inhibit, blood vessel formation helps us fight cancer or heart disease. Our bodies know how many blood vessels to grow, or not grow, and where.
Take tomatoes, for instance. They contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant that gives the tomato its red color. Lycopene kills cancer cells and protect our DNA from sunlight. At the same time, it promotes angiogenesis that promotes heart health. A raw tomato gives us a 20% absorption rate. But sauté that tomato in olive oil, and absorption jumps to 80% because lycopene is soluble in fat.
So, now I can enjoy olive oil again and I can dive into tortilla chips dipped in salsa (cooked tomatoes) AND add guacamole too (because it’s made with avocados which have healthy fat.) YUM!
According to Dr. Li there are 200 foods (many found in the Mediterranean and Asian diets) that promote health and that I’ve always enjoyed. Learn more in his book, Eat to Beat Disease.
Take that, you nasty man. And give me back my spaghetti dinner with marinara sauce and my salad with olive oil, while you’re at it.