Capital Investment Advisors

#167- Revisiting Farm-aceuticals And How Food Impacts Health with Dr. William Li

Medicines help to treat illness within the body, but what if we replaced filling a prescription with filling our bags at the farmer’s market with foods that can heal our bodies from the inside out? Dr. William Li, world-renowned physician, scientist, TED speaker, and author of “Eat To Beat Disease,” joins this episode to share just how much food can impact our health.

Dr. William Li provides his definition of being healthy, tips for kickstarting your health journey, and how there are five health defense systems that are crucial to our bodies. He also explains why we should explore new foods, especially in retirement, and lists foods and beverages that can be toxic to our diet. Additionally, Dr. Li shares an in-depth explanation of angiogenesis and why it’s vital to the maintenance of our body and defending our health. We wrap up with Dr. Li sharing how he takes a scientific approach to unlocking foods’ nutrients as medicine and he reveals what the future looks like for discovering these healthy foods.

Watch the full episode!

Time-Stamped Show Notes from the Video

  • [00:06:52] Dr. Li explores markets and anchors impressions with food.
  • [00:17:18] Dr. Li explains to Wes how food is personal and tied to memories.
  • [00:26:26] Cancer research seeks common disease connections.
  • [00:41:45] Gut health affects mental health, Lactobacillus Rudarai.
  • [00:53:03] Food as medicine: science, joy, moderation.

Read The Full Transcript From This Episode

(click below to expand and read the full interview)

  • Wes Moss [00:00:01]:Dr. William Lee. This guy you’re gonna love. I love this guy. I think we’re actually gonna be friends after this episode. He even gave me his real email address, because once in a while, when you do a podcast, you really connect, connect. And that’s what you’ll hear today, because he’s, first of all, fills a void that I feel as though I want to continue to help people and advocate about, and that is health and wellness and food. And these are areas that I’m not really an expert in. And it’s about time we found one. He’s the author of Eat to Beat Disease. He has a very famous Ted Talk that has gone viral called can we eat to starve cancer. But he’s also just a really interesting guy, and he loves food and loves food as medicine because as a doctor and a world renowned physician and a scientist, he’s on the leading edge of understanding food as real medicine for our bodies. The science behind what we can eat. Not so much eliminate, but add into our diet. To literally heal our bodies from the inside out. To increase our immune system from the inside out. To repair our DNA that goes a little haywire, unbeknownst to me, 10,000 times a day. To help with our gastrointestinal health that feeds not only our body, but our brain. How to regenerate parts of our body that are going through a rough patch. And then this fascinating treatment dr. Lee talks about on angiogenesis, perhaps the most important bodily system, that of our vascular system that transports oxygen and nutrients around the body. It doesn’t get the credit. It needs all of this in this great study and effort to live a healthier lifestyle. And we can do that by making a trip, as you’ll hear from Dr. Lee to your local farmers market. I didn’t count exactly how many foods we talked about in this episode, but I’m going to tell you, it’s a lot. From different types of olive oil to sumo oranges. The vitamin C we get from citrus and strawberries and bell peppers, tomatoes, kiwis, and fish like halibut and shellfish like lobster. We even talk about whole grains paired with tin, tuna and sardines. And of course, probably my favorite part of the conversation surrounded dried fruit and the magic of apples. You’re going to be excited about going to the grocery store or the farmers market as soon as you’re done with this episode, and you’re going to feel healthier doing so. I’m Wes Moss. The prevailing thought in America is that you’ll never have enough money and it’s almost impossible to retire early. Actually, I think the opposite is true. For more than 20 years, I’ve been researching, studying, and advising American families, including those who started late, on how to retire sooner and happier. So my mission with the Retire sooner podcast is to help a million people retire earlier while enjoying the adventure along the way, I’d love for you to be one of them. Let’s get started. Dr. William Lee. Welcome to retire sooner. Podcast. I’m a big fan of your work and I’ve obviously seen your Ted Talks and I’ve read so many of your contributions to the field of health. And part of happy retirement is this thought of longevity. And obviously longevity surrounds how we eat and how we take care of ourselves and how we protect ourselves and our health, of course, our own health care and there’s financial implications of that, but really today it’s probably my weakest point. I’ve got these ten very important chapters in a book around habits of happy retirees versus unhappy. I’ve done research for over a decade, multiple surveys on trying to decipher money and lifestyle habits anywhere from family to housing to faith, socialization and health in general. And I would say where I’m probably weakest and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to really give health advice. But I do have my thoughts around health. Happy retirees have their own thoughts, but I wanted to start bringing in more health related experts. And you have such an interesting story of how you approach our own health and how Wes, I love your idea of adding to your diet. We always think of subtracting from our diets, but what do we add to be healthier? So that’s what I really just want to dive into with you today.Dr. William Li [00:04:57]:Yeah, I’m happy to do that.Wes Moss [00:04:58]:By the way, where are you?Dr. William Li [00:05:00]:I’m in New England outside of Boston.Wes Moss [00:05:02]:Okay, cool. So quick seven. We do lightning round, get to know you, questions prior. Not at the end, but in the beginning.Dr. William Li [00:05:10]:Okay.Wes Moss [00:05:11]:

    So we’re going to start with those seven. Number one, anything. First thing comes to your mind very quick, get to know your audience, how to get to know Dr. William Lee. The favorite song to sing.

    Dr. William Li [00:05:26]:

    Wow. Well, I’m not a big singer, but if I had to do a lightning round thing, I would say, gosh, I enjoy music a lot, but I don’t actually sing a lot.

    Wes Moss [00:05:41]:

    Well, that’s okay. You could always just say favorite song. It’s okay. Unless you have like some secret karaoke.

    Dr. William Li [00:05:46]:

    Song that you no. I have been listening to different covers of John Lennon’s Imagine in the last couple years.

    Wes Moss [00:05:57]:

    Nobody is going to argue with that. That’s an amazing song. Everyone that does it’s amazing.

    Dr. William Li [00:06:02]:

    And you know what it is? It’s sort of like that’s a song you can’t screw up. Almost anybody can sing that and make it meaningful.

    Wes Moss [00:06:12]:

    Yeah, and play it too. It’s like an amazing song. Easy but beautiful to play. How about favorite Core pursuit in life? Core Pursuit on our show is basically hobbies on steroids.

    Dr. William Li [00:06:25]:

    Yeah. I love to explore food, not surprisingly from what I do. And so when I travel, as I’m sure many retirees get the chance to do on their own terms, when I get to a town, the first thing I do is if they have a farmers market or a village market, that’s the first thing I do. Oh, that is cool.

    Wes Moss [00:06:50]:

    I can totally envision that.

    Dr. William Li [00:06:52]:

    I head right to the market. Back in the day, before they had your camera on a phone, I just take my camera with me. And what’s interesting, before I’ve had my first meal in a new place, if I can get to a village market or a town market, I will literally just wander through, find things that interest me that seem to be to call out the character of the place. And I actually kind of anchor my first impressions of a place by the foods that I see.

    Wes Moss [00:07:25]:

    So cool. Okay. I see you doing a show. Parts unknown with Dr. William Lee. Favorite instrument either to play or to listen to piano.

    Dr. William Li [00:07:34]:

    I’ve been playing piano since I was four.

    Wes Moss [00:07:37]:

    Okay, cool. And I’m sure you can play. Imagine it’s. Beautiful, right? Favorite of either your own books or your favorite book in general?

    Dr. William Li [00:07:50]:

    One of my all time favorite books is a novel, fiction novel by a secretive author who passed away. His name is Trevanian, and I loved the book Shibumi.

    Wes Moss [00:08:10]:


    Dr. William Li [00:08:11]:

    Yeah. Do you know about that?

    Wes Moss [00:08:12]:

    I don’t know.

    Dr. William Li [00:08:13]:

    Yeah. All right. It’s an awesome book. You should check it out. The author, he only went by pseudonym, was actually named Rodney Whitaker, and he was a film professor, and he wrote his novels as if they were movie scripts. And so it’s very cinematic storytelling.

    Wes Moss [00:08:35]:

    That’s very cool. All right. Favorite athlete or favorite sport or.

    Dr. William Li [00:08:42]:

    Know? I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so I’m always a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

    Wes Moss [00:08:48]:

    Favorite place you’ve traveled in Michigan?

    Dr. William Li [00:08:53]:

    I’ve only been to Detroit once.

    Wes Moss [00:08:56]:

    It’s not your favorite place.

    Dr. William Li [00:08:58]:

    And it was literally maybe it’s not favorite. Most memorable. And I’ll tell you why I always remember Detroit. Because I was in a hotel at the moment that they declared the okay.

    Wes Moss [00:09:10]:

    So just a couple of years ago. Okay, so not fond. I always ask Michigan people why, because it’s kind of an underrated state, and that’s why I always say Michigan.

    Dr. William Li [00:09:19]:

    Before that, though, I did go to a nice restaurant there. It was a great place to eat.

    Wes Moss [00:09:24]:

    How about internationally or the world? What’s your favorite place?

    Dr. William Li [00:09:28]:

    All time favorite. Kind of like go to places. A little village on the northwest coast of the island of Santorini, Greece. The village is named IA O-I-A been there 35 times.

    Wes Moss [00:09:45]:

    That is truly a favorite place. People struggle with this one, but that’s truly your favorite place.

    Dr. William Li [00:09:53]:

    I nailed it.

    Wes Moss [00:09:53]:

    Yeah, that is cool. All right, well, so that’s going to come back up because I have a feeling that’s going to play into our story today as we go through our own cinematic script here with Dr. William Lee. Tell me about your work around the human body and health. And what should we know about keeping our body healthy as we age.

    Dr. William Li [00:10:17]:

    Look, I can tell you that I’m a physician who is an internal medicine doctor, so I take care of men and women, young and old, healthy and sick. And my orientation has always been to try to keep people as healthy as long as possible. But people slip off the roof of health, and my goal has always been to get them back onto the top of their game, as opposed to just writing prescriptions and keep on chasing them with things. And that’s kind of the chronic illness thing. And when you’re talking about the whole idea of retiree, I’ve had a very particular perspective on this, which is we so often think of retirement as something that is, we get to enjoy our life after we actually retire or put away our work or employment life. But in fact, the health component of our life is with us always. And to the extent that you really get to enjoy yourself during your third chapter, let’s call it, the fact of the matter is you want to carry your health in as vibrant a way with you as possible. So it’s not the time to finally start thinking healthy, but to pull the threads that have always mattered to you so that you can actually really continue to enjoy your health. So here’s what people need to know. They need to understand what is the definition of health? Because when I was in medical school, we were always taught disease and how to define disease. We were taught how to define cancer and heart disease and Alzheimer’s and obesity and diabetes the litany. But when you actually ask, well, what is health, Doctor? Most people are flabbergasted because, well, isn’t health just the absence of disease? If you’re not sick, you’re well, you’re healthy. Totally wrong way of thinking about it. Our health is not the absence of something that’s a very challenging concept. If something desirable is the absence of something undesirable, you can’t operationalize it. So that’s what I spent my career really trying to figure out, what is the definition of health? And it turns out health is not just the absence of disease. It is the result of our body’s own hardwired health defense systems that are formed when we were in our mother’s womb, that fire on all cylinders from the time we’re born until our very last breath. These health defenses are basically the swashbucklers that are inside our body that defend our fortress biologically. I’ve actually taken everything that I know from the career I had in drug development, and I’ve been involved with 42 FDA approved drugs for cancer and diabetes and vision loss. And I’ve sort of just cranked the turret instead of just looking at pharmaceuticals, to say, well, what happens when you actually throw medicine drugs into the system? And then to ask, what happens when you throw foods into those systems? And then you can start to appreciate new ways of understanding how foods benefit our body.

    Wes Moss [00:13:37]:

    How often do I guess if I go back just to fundamentally you had mentioned something about people kind of falling off the healthy wagon for a while. There’s so much talk about healthy eating, clean eating in the United States today. And maybe it’s always I mean, I remember my grandmother 40 years ago or when I was a little, little kid, was a macrobiotic diet enthusiast. And then it’s evolved over the years. I ended up five or six years ago doing the whole 30 diet, which kind of changed my perspective around food, around health and food and what the kind of foods comas heal people from the inside. So I’m a big believer in this. But how can I talk to our listener who I believe, but don’t know how to counsel them on getting healthy? What does that mean from a diet perspective, practically?

    Dr. William Li [00:14:36]:

    Well, look, they say food is medicine. I’m actually one of the researchers that’s actually working on the science of food as medicine. But in fact, it makes total sense. It’s common sense that the foods that we put into our body either do something good for our body or they may do something bad for our body. It’s that simple. And when it comes to food and health, it’s not just about the food. There’s no magic food superfood or super supplement. What’s really remarkable is how amazingly designed the human body is. It’s really also about how our body responds to what we put inside it. So foods that we can put inside our body that are good for us, our body will reward us by responding, reacting in a positive way. What are some of the things that we want our body to do? We want good circulation. We want good healing. We want good metabolism. We want good mental health, emotional health. We want to protect ourselves from a disease like cancer. We don’t want sort of strangers sneaking into our bodies and taking over our organs. And we want to be able to repel diseases coming from outside of our body as well. We don’t want to be infected by viruses or bacteria or any of those other external threats. And so that’s what the health defenses are all about. These hardwired systems, angiogenesis, which we’ll talk about, our regenerative defenses, our stem cells, our microbiome, our gut health, our DNA, which protects us against the environment and our immune system. These five health defenses really are the cornerstone to how we stay healthy when we’re kids, how we stay healthy when we’re in middle of our busy kind of careers, and also how we stay healthy regardless of what age you retire. We take this with us all the way to the ends of our natural lives. And so foods can actually activate our health defenses. When you sort of ask the question, what can I tell people that would be common sense. Well, number one, look, let’s all level the playing field. There are some foods that actually take down and trample on our health defenses.

    Wes Moss [00:16:56]:

    Not such again. And this is one of the things that I think makes this confusing, is that when you talk about a diet that works, you had also mentioned that we all do respond maybe a little differently to particular food. So that’s what makes it a little harder. There’s no way for you to come up with the perfect diet because doesn’t it have to be per person?

    Dr. William Li [00:17:18]:

    That’s right. I mean, we’re all individuals. And when it comes to food, not only is our metabolism all unique, our gut bacteria all unique, but I think food is something that’s incredible because it’s one of the most intimate things in our lives. Right? I mean, after we came out of our mom’s wombs, got spanked, took our first breath, the first experience we had wes actually having a mouthful of food, mother’s milk. Okay? And every one of us, no matter who you are and how disciplined you are and what your background is, whatever your circumstances, everyone has some memory of a food, a smell of some food, something that their mom cooked, that they loved. It brings them right back to childhood. And our food tells us something about where we came from, our families, our backgrounds, our communities, our culture. And we all come from some culture. There’s always something we track back to. And even historically, the generations, our generation, individual generations past, passed down genetics, pass down gut bacteria, pass down cultural traditions that shape our individual preferences as well as biology. And so something that I really love, you might not cotton to, something you just resonate with that might be healthy. I might not fancy as well. But that’s okay because what I write about in my book, Eat to Beat Disease, there’s more than 200 different foods I’ve identified that activate one or more of your body’s health defenses. So it’s not like it’s going to be hard to find something that’s good.

    Wes Moss [00:19:02]:

    Plenty, right? There’s plenty on the shelf. There’s plenty in the farmers market, to your point.

    Dr. William Li [00:19:06]:

    Exactly. And I would say the thing that people need to understand is the healthy food is eating healthy is actually leaning into your own preferences, the foods that you actually enjoy that are good for you, and then leaning into the abundance of what Mother Nature actually provides us. Don’t eat more, but eat more of different types of foods. Explore our bodies, love variety. So don’t get into that kind of like, I’m only going to eat white foods kind of mode, okay? Get out there. And especially, I think, if people are retiring, what an opportunity to take that moment, those moments to really begin to study the world around you when it comes to food. That’s what I’m telling you. When I get into a new town, I go right into the market before the pandemic. One of the last international trips I took, I was asked to give a keynote in Munich and I’d never been there before. Landed, checked in through my bags in my hotel, and then I headed right to the town market and literally just stood in the middle of this thing trying to figure out, OK, what do they eat here? What’s in season here, what can I find here that I wouldn’t find in my own town? And I made notes and I took pictures of all these things. Dare to be adventurous when it comes to food, even visually.

    Wes Moss [00:20:36]:

    By the way, I should have asked you your favorite food. Can you give me a favorite food? Or three?

    Dr. William Li [00:20:43]:

    Oh man, I could give you a lot of different favorite mean, I always drink tea. I love tea. And I also drink coffee. I spent some time living in Italy and I got into the coffee habit, went to medical school, so I had to drink my share of coffee to stay awake. But foods that I really enjoy, I mean, it actually changes by season. But some of the things I’m enjoying right now and people might think this is odd, I’m really getting into tinned fish.

    Wes Moss [00:21:21]:

    Oh, cool. So what would be give me an example of a fish that you would tin.

    Dr. William Li [00:21:26]:

    Sardines packed in oil with a little bit of tequila pepper. Okay. Another one I had is tin tuna in olive oil and oregano the other day. Why am I interested in that? Well, number one, by the way, that’s.

    Wes Moss [00:21:43]:

    About the last thing I would have thought you would say. What is your very favorite food? Fish wrapped up in a tin. Okay. Yeah.

    Dr. William Li [00:21:53]:

    Okay. I mean, look, you didn’t say what’s my favorite Michelin star meal I’ve ever had? But I’ll tell you what I’m thinking about these days. I’m trying to figure out and this pandemic shaped this a lot like I was trying to figure out in the early in the pandemic we all had to eat. And so everybody ran out to get stuff back for their pantry in their homes. And so I wound up figuring out like, okay, omega three fatty acids, marine omega three fatty acids are found in smaller fish, lower in the food chain. And you can find that pre packed in tin for you. And yeah, when I was growing up, I always thought that canned tuna was like cat food. Yeah, right. And maybe it was cat food.

    Wes Moss [00:22:36]:

    By the way, I love canned tuna. I have a very fond memory. I used to live in Spain for a little while and we always got canned tuna. Yes, and I have a fond memory of that with the oil and it just wonderful.

    Dr. William Li [00:22:48]:

    Yeah, and I’m just telling you, spain, Portugal, south of France, Italy, Greece, they do canned tin fish. It’s a fine art. They take the finest quality of fish, they really fillet it down, they pack it with these incredible oils and flavorings. And you can have a whole lunch just by ripping open the top and popping a fork in there. And you’ve had this incredible meal. So what I do now is I’ll take some whole wheat, whole grain pasta. I’ll boil it up. I’m actually writing my next book, so I’m trying to be really practical about this. I don’t have a lot of time, but I like to make my own lunch. I’ll take some pasta a little bit. I’ll boil it up whole grain, and then literally, I will put a little olive oil into a pan, extra virgin olive oil. I’ll open up a tin. I’ll fork the meat in there, and I’ll break it up. I’ll throw a handful of capers in there, squeeze some lemon, throw some oregano, just heat it up, put it onto a bowl, and man, that’s like a Mediterranean meal from heaven.

    Wes Moss [00:23:55]:

    Yeah, so good. And you’re getting your omega three S. So again, we’re going back to practical for our listeners, which would be, hey, I want to get on some sort of diet. To your point, you read a book like An Eat to Beat Disease, which you’ve written, and you end up with a long, long list of things that you’re going to find, some things in there that you do a lot. It’s interesting, practically is. The first step is to explore.

    Dr. William Li [00:24:24]:

    Well, look, this is what I tell people to do. If you can get my book, take a sharpie and literally flip to the tables of all the foods. Any food I listed in there is good for you. And start circling the foods that you like, okay? And everybody’s going to be circling something different. Then I tell them, take out of your cell phone and take a photograph of that page, and then go shopping. And when you’re in the store, open your picture, your photos, and look at what you circled and start with those, buy those and plan those for your meals. Because if you’re starting with the foods that you already love, that are good for you, then you’re already ahead of the game. A lot of people are stymied about healthy eating. They don’t know where to begin. They’re like, I must have a terrible diet. I don’t even know where I would start. And this is my tip start. And it doesn’t even have to be my book. Other people have also written books on healthy ingredients. Circle those and go shopping. Pick up the ones that you circled and that you like.

    Wes Moss [00:25:28]:

    I like that because I get into a rut, and I know that, again, I think that I love a salad with avocado, tomato, and a couple of other things with oil and white wine vinegar and salt, pepper. To me, that is really wonderful almost every day of the week. But then adding to that, I seem to get in a rut, and it’s hard to go beyond that same salad. I’ve made a thousand times. And it’s great, but I do kind of get sick of it, especially if I’ll have it three days in a row by Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, by Thursday. I’m like, I really just don’t want another one of the same butter lettuce. It doesn’t have to just be your book. It could be any book that talks about healthy foods. But let’s go back to the five. So the angiogenesis, the regenerating of your body, the microbacteria in your gut and DNA and immune, tell me about how food can activate those defenses.

    Dr. William Li [00:26:26]:

    Well, first of all, I have to tell the story of, like, so in my career. I was very interested for years looking at what are common denominators of disease, right? So if you think about cancer, heart disease, stroke, blindness, arthritis, they all seem like very different diseases. Billions of dollars are thrown by at researchers to do the kind of studies on them. And so you wind up having these discoveries that are an inch wide and a mile deep, and where’s the cures? Where’s the treatments? And so what I set out to do 30 years ago is to say, rather than look at what makes diseases different from one another, let’s take a look at, let’s upend that entire approach and see what makes diseases the same. One of my mentors once said, if you drain the Pacific Ocean, you’ll see how all the islands connect. All right? And that’s what I was interested in, is sort of like all the interconnections between the diseases. And I looked at angiogenesis, how the body grows blood vessels as one of those common denominators, because angiogenesis, which is all about blood vessels, is profoundly important for defending our health. We’ve got 60,000 miles worth of blood vessels packed inside our bodies. These are the highways and byways of health because they deliver the oxygen that we breathe and the nutrients that we eat to every single cell in our body. And so when our body is able.

    Wes Moss [00:27:48]:

    And let me just interject to make sure our audience caught that. So again, your point here is androgenesis is the growth or repair of our blood vessels that are so important to inVITAL to the body, is that correct?

    Dr. William Li [00:28:00]:

    Maintenance. Yeah, exactly. Okay, exactly. Think about androgenesis really as the highway and the street system of our country, okay? You got to maintain those highways. You’ve got the six lane highways, and then you’ve got the small one way roads. All of those are what allows us to get from one place to the other.

    Wes Moss [00:28:25]:

    Without them, we end up like we are on the Oregon Trail, and only half the people even make it.

    Dr. William Li [00:28:29]:

    Exactly, precisely. When we inspire and we breathe in air, the reason that oxygen that we just inhaled gets to bring vital oxygen to our toe is because the blood vessels actually help the oxygen get there. Similarly, the food that we eat, all the nutrients get absorbed in our stomach. They’re distributed, the nutrients are distributed to our organs all by these blood vessels, these highways and byways. You got to think about 60,000 miles, how extensive that is.

    Wes Moss [00:29:02]:

    So we have 60,000 miles worth of blood vessels in our bodies?

    Dr. William Li [00:29:07]:

    In your body. And if you were to pull them out, all the blood vessels, and line them up end to end, you’d form a thread that would wrap around the earth twice. Huge. It’s one of the most exhaustive extensive organ systems in the body.

    Wes Moss [00:29:21]:

    One person, by the way.

    Dr. William Li [00:29:22]:

    One person, that’s right. And so you might imagine that when this defense system is perturbed, you don’t have enough blood vessels. Now your organs not getting fed. Now your organs are going to start dying, like after a heart attack or after a stroke or an erectile dysfunction. Okay? Those are all examples of where angiogenesis is insufficient. On the other hand, if you have too many blood vessels more than you need, that’s like just like building extra bridges and extra roads and overlaying. It’s a mess. Those extra blood vessels can feed diseases like cancers. You don’t want to feed a cancer. You want to starve a cancer. You don’t want cancers to get access to oxygen, nor do you want it to get access to the nutrients. You want to cut off the blood supply. Cancer, your body can actually do that as well. But there are diseases like cancer, but also blindness due to aging. So the most common cause of vision loss in people of retirement age is age related macular degeneration. And the reason that people lose their vision, and I’ve worked on this for the last 20 years, is because abnormal blood vessels grow in the back of the eye. Shouldn’t be there. They leak the leaking fluid and blood actually destroy your vision. Your eye has to be crystal clear. But when they’re growing and so biotechnology, which I’ve worked on, has been able to prevent those bad blood vessels from growing in the eye, also been able to starve cancers by cutting off their blood supply. What I did is, because I’ve been involved with the research for all this, I said, well, what happens when we throw food into those same development systems? What does green tea do? What does garlic do? What do scallions do? What do figs do? And when I started to throw food.

    Wes Moss [00:31:13]:

    By the way, I love figs so much, I just discovered them. Someone gave me figs for my birthday, dried figs. I hadn’t had one for, I don’t know, 20 years. And whoa, love them. But anyway, keep going.

    Dr. William Li [00:31:25]:

    Sorry. Yeah, well, so what I did is I studied the foods in the same systems for drug development, and I also threw drugs in, too. So literally, you can compare them head to head. And what was astounding to me was that in many cases, foods have the same potency as medicines. In these experimental systems. And in some cases, they actually even better than the medicines. And so if I had disguised the name of the food and gave it a funky drug company name BFX 1300, and you were an investor, you go crazy. Like, I want to invest in that one.

    Wes Moss [00:32:01]:

    I want some Mclaxogenerative.

    Dr. William Li [00:32:05]:

    Right. So the amazing thing is that truly, we’re beginning to take a scientific approach to unlocking the potential for food. And it’s not just in the laboratory, but we’re able to study it in the clinic as well. And that’s what really allows people to understand. How do we starve cancers? By eating foods that help to cut off our blood supply, prevent extra angiogenesis. How do we eat foods that can grow up blood vessels to help us develop more nourishing blood vessels. And the amazing thing about the body is that with food anyway, you cannot cause more blood vessels than you need. Nor can you.

    Wes Moss [00:32:43]:

    I was just going to ask that. Okay.

    Dr. William Li [00:32:44]:

    The goldilocks zone, we call it. It’s not too hot, not too cold, not too hard, not too soft. Your body’s health defenses know how to work within a band of perfect function. It can be a little higher, a little bit lower, but our body lawn mows any extra blood vessels, and it’ll throw grass feed on to grow where there’s bald patches.

    Wes Moss [00:33:05]:

    But it will do so best if it is nourished with the food. And again, you said that again, let’s say you’re eating a food that’s good at androgenesis meaning it helps grow or is androgenesis both. It’s essentially keeping the Goldilock zone.

    Dr. William Li [00:33:23]:

    Yeah, it’s keeping the goldilocks on.

    Wes Moss [00:33:25]:

    I was thinking that it was one would be really good at growing and one would good at shaving. But you’re saying it helps keep a tight band on the right amount of blood vessels.

    Dr. William Li [00:33:35]:


    Wes Moss [00:33:35]:

    Got it. So you can’t overeat these foods.

    Dr. William Li [00:33:39]:

    Well, you cannot use these foods to achieve overage where you would actually threaten your own health.

    Wes Moss [00:33:49]:

    Can you give a couple of examples of good androgenesis type foods?

    Dr. William Li [00:33:52]:

    Yeah. Great. You want to grow blood vessels? I’ll give you a couple of examples. Apples, dried fruit with fruit peel. There’s a natural chemical called ursolic acid that’s found in the peel of apples and apricots. And that fruit peel actually stimulates blood vessels to grow naturally, like in the bald spots. It’s kind of like the grass seed to kind of help fill out your line. Now you want to starve, you want to prevent the blood vessels growing on the other side. A good one would be pomegranate. Pomegranate juice. Contains a natural chemical called elagitanin. The elagitanins actually are antiangiogenic. And so actually, if the vessels try to grow too far up, it’s kind of like a weeds growing too high up in a golf course. Guess what? Your body would naturally mow it down. But if your body needs a little help, the elagitanins will also help to help your body mow it down.

    Wes Moss [00:34:58]:

    Okay, so wait, hold on. Maybe I didn’t understand it. So some of these foods are pro growth. Some are pro trimming the growth. But what if you accidentally ate all pomegranates and no dried apples as an example?

    Dr. William Li [00:35:16]:

    Using food, you can never go below that zone.

    Wes Moss [00:35:20]:

    Got it. Okay. So you don’t have to worry about which ones so much are pro versus non. But either way, they’re androgenic in general, they’re all good.

    Dr. William Li [00:35:31]:

    Exactly. Precisely.

    Wes Moss [00:35:32]:

    So I can eat dried fruit and pomegranate or one of the same. Give me one more example. I love all that.

    Dr. William Li [00:35:37]:

    I love these food examples. Walnuts. Okay? Walnuts are a good source of healthy fats, plant based, omega three S. And they’re an amazing source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber. When we eat them, when we eat a walnut or any tree, nut, frankly, macadamia, cashew, pecan, pistachio, almond. When we eat it, our body, the human body, will absorb the nutrients in your stomach and upper part of our gut. And then everything else goes to the lower part of the gut. And we used to be taught in medical school that all that fiber, like, you have dietary fiber. It kind of irritates your colon so you stay regular, and that way you’re not constipated. That’s totally the wrong idea. Now, like, we’ve completely changed our mind that dietary fiber is actually feeding our gut microbiome. So think about all this healthy gut bacteria. Look, we’ve got 40 trillion you and I are made of 40 trillion human cells, but inside our gut is another 39 trillion bacteria. All right? So we’re one to one, one part human to one part bacteria. And most of that bacteria live in our gut. When we eat something, we eat first. The human part of us eats first. The rest of it goes down to feed our gut bacteria. And that’s what’s so profound. We give our gut bacteria room and board. We let them live in our gut. We feed them the foods that we eat. And by the way, this is why it’s also important. What? The foods that we’re eating. If we eat something crappy junk, okay? Overloaded with sugar, overloaded with preservatives, ultra processed foods, not only are we not getting the human part of us, not getting the most we can out of that opportunity of eating, but we’re also dumping junk food to our gut bacteria. Now, our gut bacteria is responsible for lowering inflammation, helping our metabolism, even text messaging our brain and telling our brain to release social hormones. So when we screw up our gut bacteria by eating foods that disrupt it, think about, like, putting toxin on the Great Barrier Reef. You’re destroying that ecosystem. The whole area is not going to be very happy. Not only is your tummy not going to feel good, your brain’s not going to feel good, your metabolism is not going to feel good. But trina.

    Wes Moss [00:38:04]:

    So if I eat a bag of Schneider’s pretzels and a Papa John’s cheese stuffed pizza with lots of sodium and carbs and sugar and all those things that’s just, like, wreaking havoc on the gut.

    Dr. William Li [00:38:19]:

    I would say of the type of meal that you would be having, the type of things you’d be having with that, the most harmful things would be the soda. Whether it’s a regular soda or diet soda, like a typical can of soda, which is very common, people have ten teaspoons of refined sugar in each cup. All right? That’s way too much for the body, and that overwhelms you. And it’s actually kind of toxic for your gut microbiome dietary diet soda with artificial sweeteners. You don’t want those calories. Guess what? You just dumped a whole bunch of chemicals on your gut bacteria. They really don’t like that. And that changes the makeup of your gut bacteria, ironically.

    Wes Moss [00:39:01]:

    So it really is bad for you. Like Diet Coke. Terrible for you.

    Dr. William Li [00:39:06]:

    I’m not talking about brands. I’m just saying that any form of these diet soda sweeteners are just really not great. But the tree nuts, when you eat a walnut and that dietary fiber feeds the gut bacteria, they’re thanking you. They’re releasing these things called short chain fatty acids that lower the inflammation in your body. Your gut bacteria communicates to your immune system as well. Not only do they text message your brain, they also talk to your immune system and say, go after cancer cells. Go protect us from bacteria and viruses. Gosh.

    Wes Moss [00:39:43]:

    I am literally throwing out every Diet Coke that I have in my house. I was so good for, like, five years on no diet soda. And now what about sparkling water? All the sparkling waters out there now, are they okay?

    Dr. William Li [00:39:58]:

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with the carbonation. That’s the sparkling part and then the flavoring. What I would recommend that you do is to just look at the ingredients to make sure they’re so if there’s.

    Wes Moss [00:40:09]:

    Not a lot of flavoring, you’re okay. Mallory’s, like, over here just crazy worried that she can’t drink her La Croix.

    Dr. William Li [00:40:17]:

    Look, whatever it is you’re drinking, just make sure it doesn’t have a ton of added sugar and as natural a product as possible. Carbonation for Spritzer type of things, they’re fine.

    Wes Moss [00:40:29]:

    Your La Croix is fine. You’re good.

    Dr. William Li [00:40:32]:

    But I’ll tell you, a study about walnuts was amazing. There was a study done by over a dozen major cancer research centers looking at 800 patients with stage three colon cancer. Okay? It’s pretty advanced. They’re getting surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, all the rest of the stuff. And then they follow them for a number of years to figure out who did better. And it turns out that those people who ate two handfuls of tree nuts like walnuts actually had a 50% decrease in mortality.

    Wes Moss [00:41:07]:

    Wow. Walnut, macadamia, nut, all those nuts. Very healthy.

    Dr. William Li [00:41:14]:

    Yeah, because the fibers talking to your microbiome, feeding your gut bacteria, who are then paying you back by expressing their gratitude, by releasing anti inflammatory substances, better immunity, and also making you emotionally healthier as well.

    Wes Moss [00:41:32]:

    Hold on. Emotionally healthier?

    Dr. William Li [00:41:34]:

    Yeah, because you’re gut.

    Wes Moss [00:41:36]:

    What is that?

    Dr. William Li [00:41:37]:

    Because our gut bacteria will text message our brain when they’re healthy to release social hormones.

    Wes Moss [00:41:43]:

    What’s a social hormone? What does that mean?

    Dr. William Li [00:41:45]:

    Like serotonin, you know, the things that people take prozac for. They’re trying to restore the chemical balance in your brain. Your gut can actually do that, kind of like as a natural antidepressant. And so that’s why gut health is poor. Gut health is associated with depression and schizophrenia and ADHD and a number of other kind of challenging mental health disorders. So what we’re beginning to realize is that as we dig deeper and deeper and deeper into our gut health, just how profound this health defense system of our gut microbiome could be. Let me tell you an upside. Research done at MIT with a colleague of mine, Susan Urban, showed that one of the important gut bacteria is Lactobacillus rudarai. And it’s commonly found in yogurt. And it’s the bacteria that’s used as a starter for sourdough bread. Real parmesano reggiano cheese is actually made with lactobacillus. Ruderi. So it’s a food substance. And it used to be very common in the human gut up until the 1940s when antibiotics were invented. And now some people have it, some people don’t. Okay? But I’ll tell you what lactobacillus rudray does. Not only does it actually help our immune system, not only does it actually help our metabolism, but this bacteria has been studied. It actually taps our brain to release the social hormone oxytocin. You ever hear of oxytocin?

    Wes Moss [00:43:22]:

    It sounds like a good one.

    Dr. William Li [00:43:24]:

    Oxytocin is a good hormone. It is the hormone your brain releases when you see a friend, your best friend you haven’t seen in a while, and you feel good. That’s what’s coming out of your brain when you have a kiss. That’s oxytocin. That feel good of a kiss is oxytocin. When you have an orgasm, your brain pumps out for a few seconds, a ton of oxytocin. Now you can imagine what happens.

    Wes Moss [00:43:48]:

    Lactobacillus rotori. Lactobacillus rotori?

    Dr. William Li [00:43:52]:

    Yeah. R-E-U-T-E-R-I. Amazingly, it’s actually the bacteria it’s naturally found in the human gut, but it’s actually the bacteria that is actually used to create the tangy flavor of sourdough bread.

    Wes Moss [00:44:08]:

    Oh, cool. So sourdough bread isn’t bad for you.

    Dr. William Li [00:44:13]:

    If you’re in moderation because of the carbohydrates, but the fact is that it’s got something extra. It’s actually got this tangy bacteria, the Lactobacillus ruderae, that can do all these other things that contributes to your gut bacteria.

    Wes Moss [00:44:28]:

    Lactobacillus ruderae. It’s in yogurt, sourdough bread, parmesan cheese. Parmesan cheese not any Italians have. The Italians have it, right? Throw parmesan on everything, right?

    Dr. William Li [00:44:41]:

    And it’s the real Parmigiano Reggiano, which is different than the kind of like the mass produced Parmesan that you can find in most places.

    Wes Moss [00:44:52]:

    Okay, so we have androgenesis and then you have androgenesis then you have the other four. Regeneration. We talked a little bit about gut DNA and then immune system. Let’s go through the others on the impact of food on these other areas.

    Dr. William Li [00:45:08]:

    Yeah, so let’s talk about regeneration. So when I was a kid, probably as well, my kindergarten teacher told me that starfish regenerate, salamanders can regenerate and unfortunately humans don’t regenerate, right? But that chapter is now being torn out of the textbook and thrown away and rewritten. The new chapter says humans in fact, do regenerate. Wes regenerate. Slowly we can’t grow a new arm or leg. But our liver regenerates, our lungs regenerate, our gut regenerates and our immune system regenerates for sure. And so how do we regenerate? How do we heal ourselves from the inside out? This is all, by the way, invisible repair. You don’t even know that your liver needs to be replaced or part of your lung needs to grow. Your body knows how to do that for you. And the way we regenerate goes to stem cells. Now you probably know you can go to a strip mall someplace and find somebody that could inject some stem cells into your knee or your ankle or your elbow, right? For joints. Those kind of clinics are everywhere. Well, I’ve been involved with kind of the real hardcore biotech stem cell therapy and here’s what I can tell you. We’re not ready for prime time yet. It’s very promising for the future. We got so much more to do to be able to perfect it as a medical treatment. However, Mother Nature’s beat us to it because we already have stem cells in our body and foods can make our stem cells come out and speed up the repair. So where do we get our stem cells? We get our stem cells from the womb. So while we were developing, when mom’s egg met Dad’s sperm and we were just a couple of balls of cells growing for nine months, okay? At the same time that our chin formed, our ears formed, our pancreas form, our heart, our nerves formed, our bladders formed, so too were all these stem cells that were feeding the process of sculpting our body. Now when we were born, pretty much the stem cells had already done all their job but we had overage. It’s kind of like painting a room. Like you’re going to buy a couple of extra cans of paint, last thing you want to do is run out of paint before you’re finished, right? So you’re done with the paint and what do you got? You got a couple of extra cans, you put the cap back on and stick it in the garage. And that’s basically what happens when we’re born, we’re fully formed. We have some overage of our stem cells because we didn’t want to run out. And those extra stem cells, of which there are 70 million of them, are packed into our bone marrow, and those extra stem cells wind up being retirees for us. So that as we go through our life, if we actually need some regeneration, we just call out the stem cells. So what are the foods that can actually do that? Yeah, turns out that dark chocolate is actually one of the foods that’s been studied in humans that can call out your stem cells. So one research study took people in their 60s, men in their 60s retirement age, okay, who actually had heart disease, and they had poor blood flow, and they gave them the equivalent of two cups of hot chocolate made with dark chocolate. Think 80% or higher cacao. Right? You look at how many percent cacao? 80% or higher, that’s really dark. Now, cacao is a plant based food. Cacao doesn’t core in a wrapper, like, in the shape of a Kiss, a Hershey’s Kiss. Cacao comes from this big pod. It’s like a football size thing. It’s made of a plant. It’s got dietary fiber. It’s got natural polyphenols in it. And one of those proanthocyanidine calls out the stem cells from our bone marrow. So when you drink hot chocolate, more stem cells come out into our body, and the stem cells only repair the areas that need to be repaired. So this study that looked at these 60 men, I mean, men in their 60s gave them either a placebo or they gave them chocolate. Dark chocolate, dark chocolate, hot chocolate, dark chocolate twice a day. And they found over the course of a month, they could double the number of stem cells in their bloodstream. Okay. And they could improve their circulation by almost double as well. The resiliency, the agility of their blood flow was also improved. And think about that. If the ability to be able to improve your circulation, as we are in that third chapter of life is amazing, gives you more energy, your brain’s got better blood flow, you got better cognition, the other bits and parts that you want good blood flow, better regeneration as well. And so huge implications of this regenerative system that foods can actually stimulate barley is another food that can actually stimulate stem cells as well.

    Wes Moss [00:50:06]:

    But we need to do that with the exclusion of sugar. If you were to eliminate a couple of really toxic things, what would they be?

    Dr. William Li [00:50:19]:

    I got to go with the things that are just overtly essentially toxic. One is alcohol. Even though people drink, even though it’s a social tradition for humans to have a wine or a beer, all the good stuff and they’ve been shown to have health benefits, all the good stuff, all the benefits come from the stuff inside the liquid, not from the alcohol itself. The ethanol that’s actually in wine or beer is actually a toxic. It poisons your organs, kills brain cells, kills liver cells. Your body has to fix itself every time you have a drink, okay? Unfortunately, we can regenerate, as I told you, but that’s a toxin that not everybody needs to have. Number two, I would say a little bit of sugar is fine. A lot of added sugar. That is something you should really try to cut down or cut out. I’m telling you, those ten teaspoons of sugar in a soda. Think about it. If I gave you an empty glass and I gave you a teaspoon and just in a sugar bowl and I said, go ahead and put ten in a glass. Okay, you want to actually and I said, now eat it, you would never do it. Right?

    Wes Moss [00:51:28]:


    Dr. William Li [00:51:29]:

    Right? So basically that’s something that overwhelms a little bit of sugar from incredible juicy summer peach, something I crave really sweet. That’s not going to hurt you because your body is getting a little hit of it, but you’re also getting all these other bioactives and dietary.

    Wes Moss [00:51:50]:

    How about a Sumo orange? Have you ever had a Sumo love? Those are they not so great. They look ugly.

    Dr. William Li [00:51:57]:

    But you know what I love about them is they’re pretty intimidating looking, right? Yeah, they’re kind of gnarly almost the texture, but all you do is you just grab it and you just pull on it and the whole thing comes.

    Wes Moss [00:52:10]:

    Up, rip off the skin. The sumo orange is amazing. And by the way, I’m such a huge fan of the next gen apples, and hopefully they’re still good for us. But the combination of the I think it’s the honey crisp and the Empire to make the pink lady or the pink crisp. I know it’s like a designer apple, but some of those apples have gotten so good. I did a bunch of I don’t know, I had this fascination phase with apples at one point in my life and have discovered a couple of apples that I love and I don’t know, I guess you’re saying the skin of apples is really good for androgenesis correct.

    Dr. William Li [00:52:49]:

    And the flesh of the apple is good for antiangiogenesis, for starving cancers.

    Wes Moss [00:52:55]:

    Eat the whole apple.

    Dr. William Li [00:52:58]:

    Yeah, right.

    Wes Moss [00:52:59]:

    Hold on. Alcohol, sugar, one more thing to avoid. What about red meat? Am I allowed to eat steak?

    Dr. William Li [00:53:03]:

    You know what? Okay, so there’s so much when it comes to nutrition and food and health that almost becomes a religion, right? So I’m a scientist and I’m a doctor, and I’m working on food as medicine. I’m all about the science, I’m all about the evidence. And of course, people listening to this, you can tell that I actually really enjoy food. I’m kind of a foodie. And so to me, food is also food as medicine does, something that medicine can’t do, which is bring you joy. All right? And so I don’t take the sides of like you got to be vegan if you’re a good person and if you eat meat, you’re a bad person. It’s almost like that way how it’s discussed. I’ll say, look, life is for the living. And I used to tell this to my patients all the time, you got to make it worth your while. What I encourage you to do is to spend most of your time eating stuff that’s good for you. And every now and then, if there’s just something that you really love that you want to treat yourself to, go ahead and knock yourself out. I don’t think that you should be eating red meat all the time, but I don’t think that’s one of those toxic materials you got to cut out of your life.

    Wes Moss [00:54:10]:


    Dr. William Li [00:54:12]:

    By the way, if you’re going to actually eat, if you enjoy meat, not everybody enjoys meat, but if you enjoy meat and meat does have iron and other minerals and vitamins that you can’t get very easily from other foods. So I just say that. But you got to like it. And I’m saying if you’re going to get meat, get the best, most enjoyable cut of meat. Don’t get too much of it. Don’t eat it too often, but really knock yourself out with enjoyment. Like really savor what you’re actually doing.

    Wes Moss [00:54:39]:

    Like a six ounce fillet. Why not once a month?

    Dr. William Li [00:54:43]:

    And what I’m saying is, once a month, this whole idea of inventing things that are ultra processed foods that look like meat and maybe taste like meat.

    Wes Moss [00:54:53]:

    But yeah, beyond burger meat.

    Dr. William Li [00:54:55]:

    Yeah, I’m just not into that. And I just sort of think that’s an ultra processed food.

    Wes Moss [00:55:00]:

    By the way, it’s what it’s made of? Soybeans. Is that correct?

    Dr. William Li [00:55:04]:

    It’s like ultra processed extruded stuff that doesn’t look like the whole food. It’s not made for the whole food. They’ve mixed all kinds of stuff together. In fact, some of that stuff is genetically modified. So it can bleed. The meat can bleed. I’m just telling you. I think we need to be as simple as possible. The old food cultures, the things have been handed down for hundreds or thousands of years, didn’t stick around that long without reason. And so that’s why mostly eating whole foods that are mostly plant based nuts and seeds, healthy oils, seafood is actually really good for you.

    Wes Moss [00:55:43]:

    Seafood is okay, yeah. So seafood is you don’t want to eat a steak every day, but you would be fine to eat some sort of seafood. What is kind of a staple seafood? You would well, you’ve already said you’ve liked kind of fish and tin, like a tuna.

    Dr. William Li [00:56:01]:

    Well, so here’s the thing. What’s good in fish? Well, it’s a good source of protein, but it’s also a good source of these marine omega three fatty acids that ultimately, by the way, come from algae. So at the end of the day, the good stuff still comes from a plant, but the fish ate it. When you eat fish, there’s so many fish that actually have omega three S and eating shellfish as well. Manila clams have more omega three S than salmon does. Actually, again, kind of bring out the inner foodie and explore these different foods and get your omega three s. Everybody says salmon, and I tell people halibut cake. All these other fish have also seabasts, Mediterranean, sea bass. They all have a lot of omega three s. Clams mussels have omega three s. If you like. Shellfish lobster has some omega three s. So you don’t have to only be a robot and eat salmon all the time. If you eat salmon, by the way, something a lot of people don’t know is that the healthy omega three s, most of it in salmon is in the skin. So don’t be throwing away that skin. That’s all the good stuff. So then you got to prepare it in a way where you’re going to eat the skin, like, make it nice and crisp so that skin tastes, if.

    Wes Moss [00:57:18]:

    That’S done right, by the way, in a good Mediterranean or Persian restaurant, the skin of a salmon is just so good. It is the best part, but it’s not everywhere that you find it done well enough to do that.

    Dr. William Li [00:57:30]:

    Precisely. Precisely. I can tell you’re somebody who appreciates you appreciate food.

    Wes Moss [00:57:38]:

    Yeah, I really do. Yeah. I feel like every human does, but I get made fun of in my family as the non foodie only because I’ve got a couple of siblings that all love to cook, and I actually do, too. Ironically, I secretly probably cook almost as much as they do or like it just as much as they do. But I think that I get chided a little bit because I also like any non fancy food. Like, I love I would be totally fine with a hot dog and mustard and relish. I know that’s terrible, but that for some reason cancels me out of the family foodie camp.

    Dr. William Li [00:58:13]:

    Well, tell them about the pasta with the tin fish. That’s an ultra simple. It sounds lowbrow, but as you know, from Spain, if you get I lived in southern Spain.

    Wes Moss [00:58:25]:

    I lived in Sydney for a long time.

    Dr. William Li [00:58:27]:

    That’s a delicacy.

    Wes Moss [00:58:28]:

    Yeah. I love it. All right, so let’s go to kind of our gut, our DNA, and then I know this all kicks into the immune system.

    Dr. William Li [00:58:35]:

    Yeah. Well, so gut microbiome, we talked a little bit about already eating foods with high dietary fiber. What kinds of foods are they? Mushrooms have a lot of dietary fiber. The fiber is called prebiotic because it’s before the bacteria. You’re feeding the bacteria. Bach choy is a good source of dietary fiber. Tree nuts are a great source of dietary fiber. Kiwi is a great source of dietary fiber. I just kind of ran the gamut right now of the produce section of the grocery store so you can find all kinds of things with great dietary fiber. Probiotic foods are also good for the gut microbiome, because now you’re introducing healthy bacteria. You’re eating it. Kimchi sauerkraut yogurt. Like anything else, you want to make sure you understand the provenance of where your food is coming from and what’s been added into the food. You don’t want a lot of stuff that’s been doctored up, I would say for your audience. Whatever you’re getting, make sure you know where it’s coming from. And you should ask that question. And also, if it comes in a box or a can or a bottle, lift it up and take a look at those ingredients. You want to read it. And if there’s something that doesn’t make sense to you or something you can’t understand why it’s there.

    Wes Moss [00:59:54]:

    Probably not a good idea.

    Dr. William Li [00:59:55]:

    Probably not a great idea.

    Wes Moss [00:59:57]:

    How about our DNA? I mean, that to me feels like, isn’t the DNA just the DNA? What can you do?

    Dr. William Li [01:00:03]:

    Right? So here’s the thing. Our DNA is well known now to be our genetic code. They mix proteins in our body, which keeps us alive. And I’ll give you some interesting stats. So remember I told you you’ve got 40 trillion cells in your body? Well, each cell, if I were to take one of the cells out and put it under a microscope, and I were to take a tiny little dissecting knife and open up your cell and wanted to get your DNA with a pair of forceps, I could pull out a six foot strand of DNA in one cell? In one cell. It’s all packed in there. Okay. Now, guess what? The part that’s our genetic code to actually make proteins, the way that we think about it, only occupies 2% of that six foot. Okay. The rest of it is all instructions for coordinating things in your body, actions in your body, chemical reactions in your body, and protecting the body from harmful forces. Now, why do you say protection? When our DNA is injured or altered in a negative way, that’s called a mutation. Everyone knows that cancers are caused by mutations in their DNA. So one of the things that our body desperately is hardwired to do is prevent these mutations from actually happening. Now it’s hard to prevent a mistake from happening a mutation. It’s much easier to fix that mutation. Okay, so our DNA’s protection as a health defense is to fix those mistakes. How many mistakes do you think your body makes or a typical person human’s body makes every single day in terms of their DNA?

    Wes Moss [01:01:47]:

    Yeah, that’s what I’m wondering. Now that we’ve got 40 million cells, I guess it happens core than we think.

    Dr. William Li [01:01:52]:

    That’s right.

    Wes Moss [01:01:53]:

    It’s not like once or twice a day. It’s like no.

    Dr. William Li [01:01:56]:

    The answer is that 10,000 mistakes are made in an average person every single day.

    Wes Moss [01:02:02]:


    Dr. William Li [01:02:04]:


    Wes Moss [01:02:04]:

    And again, if 9999 of them get corrected, but one doesn’t, that’s what leads to a cancer.

    Dr. William Li [01:02:11]:

    A microscopic cancer. Correct. And so that’s why eating foods that can help our DNA protect itself is really important. Now, where do those 10,000 mistakes come from? Well, some of it comes. From just the copy paste mechanism of 40 trillion cells. It’s really hard to do that perfectly. But think about the other forces that we go through our life where we can actually damage our DNA. Look, going to a sun tanning clinic not good for you. Tanning burning on the beach can mutate your DNA, but you know, it’s ultraviolet radiation. And so is sitting in traffic with your window down and the sun shining on your forearm also causing damage to your DNA? So how come you don’t get arm skin cancer in your arm after sitting in traffic for your career? Because your body’s DNA, the protection, is fixing it. Here’s another one. What about, like, if you’re at the filling station filling up your car with gas? I always ask people, do you stand upwind or downwind? And people look at me like, I don’t know. Why do you even ask? If you are smelling the fumes, the gas, you are downwind and you are inhaling these solvents into your lung that’s causing mutations in your DNA in your lung. So how come you don’t get lung cancer from going to filling up your car with gas? Because your DNA is fixing itself. Here’s another one. Radon, just a basement radiation coming up from Mother Earth, is also frying our DNA from the soles of our feet upwards. How come we don’t develop foot cancer? Because our DNA is fixing itself. Now, obviously, it’s to our own advantage to tip the odds in our favor of not having those mistakes, helping our body fix those. So what are some of the foods that can actually help fix our DNA? Well, citrus foods that actually contain vitamin C, which is an antioxidant, can help our DNA prevent from being damaged. So what are some of the foods? Strawberries, besides Sumo, oranges, as you’re talking about, lemons and limes, guava, papaya, tomatoes, all great sources of vitamin C. Red bell peppers. What are some other great sources of DNA protection? Turns out the kiwi is a good one, one of my favorites. So research studies have been done showing eating one kiwi a day and checking your bloodstream an hour later is enough to actually protect the DNA damage by 60%.

    Wes Moss [01:04:41]:

    I’m going to get a kiwi. I’ve never been able to wrangle the kiwi, but I’m going to try it now. I just have never bought a kiwi, ever.

    Dr. William Li [01:04:49]:

    Because you know what, and if you’re not really into eating, peeling the hairy skin off and then cutting up that green fruit, do that and just throw it into a blender for making a smoothie.

    Wes Moss [01:05:03]:

    So you almost don’t even yeah, at least you get the kiwi.

    Dr. William Li [01:05:08]:

    It’s got a lot of fiber in it as well.

    Wes Moss [01:05:11]:

    Fiber for the gut, kiwi for the DNA repair.

    Dr. William Li [01:05:14]:

    Yeah, exactly. It’s got the other stuff, bioactive for protecting your DNA.

    Wes Moss [01:05:19]:

    And then lastly, immune. Are there immune boosting foods? I suspect there are, yeah.

    Dr. William Li [01:05:26]:

    Well, especially in the last couple of years, people have been really digging deep to say what kind of foods can be helpful for our immune system. I’ll tell you, first of all, you got to understand a little bit about how complicated the immune system is. Our immune system is like an army of super soldiers, different types of immune cells. And each immune cell has their own special weapons that they can use to fight invaders. Invaders from the outside of the body are bacteria and viruses. For example, invaders from the inside of the body are these microscopic cancer cells we talked about. And so our immune cells patrol looking for problems to make sure everything is peaceful and we’ve got good security. Foods that can actually help boost our immune system are blueberries, for example, can up our T cells. We also know that broccoli and broccoli sprouts can help elevate our immune system. Here’s quite an amazing research study that was done out of the University of North Carolina. They studied a bunch of young people in their 20s who were getting the flu vaccine so ordinary it’s fall get a flu vaccine. And they divided them in half. And half of them they gave a placebo, and the other half they gave a shake made with broccoli sprouts. Okay. Broccoli sprouts are three to four day old baby broccoli, kind of nutty flavor. You can flavor them with other things. And what they found is they measured their blood and they found that of course, everybody’s immune system reacted positively to getting the flu vaccine. But the people who had flu vaccine and the broccoli sprout shake had a 22 times increase in their immune response. So they became supercharged. Their immune system became supercharged just with this shake.

    Wes Moss [01:07:23]:

    Wow, talk about it. I mean, that’s a very powerful so broccoli, broccoli sprouts really powerful for the immune system.

    Dr. William Li [01:07:29]:

    Oh, yeah.

    Wes Moss [01:07:30]:

    Wow. So food really is I mean, is there a world where if you were to take away the pharmaceutical world and start over and make food just as profitable as pharmaceuticals? Is there a world where that could be? You had mentioned earlier that in a lot of cases, food is as powerful as a drug that’s FDA approved. Could that actually be part of a world that we live in if we were to be able to restart or is a real place obviously for both? And I think that would be the answer. But is there just not enough emphasis on food?

    Dr. William Li [01:08:10]:

    Yeah, listen, I think that we are heading to an inflection point where Core and more people are realizing that when it comes to human health, we cannot only rely on pharmaceuticals. We need to rely on the other pharmaceuticals that isn’t spelled with a PH, but spelled with an F. The farm right F. The right F. Exactly. And the idea is that rather than sort of rely on the industrialized, prepackaged, inexpensive, quick, heat and serve kind of food, that there’s a new type of awareness, knowledge, and interest in pursuing the foods that are going to be best for us, make better choices. And I think that that’s really where we’re going to be more attentive to. All right, tomatoes have lycopene, which can lower the risk of prostate cancer. Which tomatoes have the most lycopene? I can tell you the answer is a San Marzano tomato from Italy. Instead of using butter or a canola oil, we should use extra virgin olive oil. Okay, well, there’s a lot of different types of olive oils. What’s the best, most healthful type of olive oil? Well, what’s an olive oil? Hydroxytyrosol, one of the bioactives. So which olives have the most hydroxytyrosal? Well, if you look at a Greek olive oil, it’s the oils made with Coronecki olives as a monovarietal in the olive oil. If you look at Italy, it’s the moriolo olive from Umbria. And if you look at Spain, it’s the know like that’s. Those are the best. They have the highest amount of polyphenols. So it’s kind of like the Robert Parker, the wine guy. Oh, yeah. Rating the wines. It gives a number.

    Wes Moss [01:09:58]:

    You’re rating olive oil for health?

    Dr. William Li [01:10:01]:

    Yeah. Well, I think that this it’s not and it’s not just olive oil. I mean, I think that in the coming future, we are going to want to find ways to create ratings and rankings of not just different types of foods. Like right now, our conversation has been a lot about identify the bad foods versus the good foods. All right? But I think in the future, we’re going to be talking more about the good foods and say what’s the best among the good foods? And that’s a higher level conversation that I’m looking forward to having.

    Wes Moss [01:10:34]:

    Well, this has been a high level conversation. Holy cow. Now. At least I have. If I were to sum this up for the happy retiree, it is to first understand our conversation and the power of food, which a lot of us, we’re getting better at understanding that and then exploring the world of food, to be able to feel good about a variety of things that are really powerful for our bodies. And that makes me excited. I cannot wait to go to my local fresh market and farmers market and find the foods that are fun and also can help with the five things that we talked about today. So glad we had you. So glad I found you on the interwebs.

    Dr. William Li [01:11:23]:

    Well, and the thing is that this research is coming out faster and faster every week and every month. And so one of the things that I do as a food, as medicine researcher, is I try to curate the parts, the studies that are actually most important. I call it kind of like information that you can actually use. There’s a lot of pretty sophisticated research that not ready for primetime or maybe interesting for just a bunch of chemists or biochemists or scientists, food scientists. But what I’m interested in is information about food that you can put to use every day. Like I told you, we talked about the nuts and colon cancer. We talked about the dietary fiber that can actually be transformative. Those are the kinds of things that people can use. And so I actually would encourage anybody who’s interested that wants to follow the ongoing news that I pump out, because when I see it, I’ll take a look and see if it’s something I think the audience should know. So people want to sign up for my newsletter, come to my website, which is, or follow me on social. My handle is at. DrWilliam. Lee.

    Wes Moss [01:12:38]:

    I’m always on Instagram.

    Dr. William Li [01:12:41]:

    On Instagram? Yes. I’m always putting out new information that’s coming out.

    Wes Moss [01:12:45]:

    Well, you picked up at least one follower today.

    Dr. William Li [01:12:48]:

    Well, thank you.

    Wes Moss [01:12:50]:

    You picked up one big fan today. And this is exactly what we needed on the Retire Sooner podcast. This has been a void, and I’m glad. I’m so excited that we’re able to find you. And this is so good, so much good information and gives me hope that we can eat healthy. And I’ve seen the power of it. I’ve had some phases of life where I was good about eating healthy, and it just is so awesome if we can do it. I think your job is to help make it easier for more people to be able to do that and not feel like it’s restrictive. So. Thank you, Dr. Lee. Thanks for being on retire sooner today.

    Dr. William Li [01:13:30]:

    My pleasure, Wes.

    Mallory Boggs [01:13:32]:

    Hey, y’all, this is Mallory with the Retire Sooner team. Please be sure to rate and subscribe to this podcast and share it with a friend. If you have any questions, you can find That’s You can also follow us on Instagram and YouTube. You’ll find us under the handle Retire Sooner podcast. And now for our show’s. Disclosure this podcast is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only and is not to be viewed as investment advice or recommendations. This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. It is not intended to and should not form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before.

Call in with your financial questions for Wes to answer: 800-805-6301

Join other happy retirees on our Retire Sooner Facebook Group:


This information is provided to you as a resource for educational purposes and as an example only and is not to be considered investment advice or recommendation or an endorsement of any particular security.  Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no guarantee offered that investment return, yield, or performance will be achieved.  There will be periods of performance fluctuations, including periods of negative returns and periods where dividends will not be paid.  Past performance is not indicative of future results when considering any investment vehicle. The mention of any specific security should not be inferred as having been successful or responsible for any investor achieving their investment goals.  Additionally, the mention of any specific security is not to infer investment success of the security or of any portfolio.  A reader may request a list of all recommendations made by Capital Investment Advisors within the immediately preceding period of one year upon written request to Capital Investment Advisors.  It is not known whether any investor holding the mentioned securities have achieved their investment goals or experienced appreciation of their portfolio.  This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax, or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.

Previous ArticleNext Article