William W. Li, MD, is am internationally renowned physician, scientist, speaker, and author of New York Times bestseller Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself. His groundbreaking work has led to the development of more than 30 new medical treatments and impacts care for more than 70 diseases including cancer, diabetes, blindness, heart disease, and obesity. Dr. Li was recently featured in the August issue of Welcome Home, giving us insight behind four foods that boost health. He has generously offered to answer a few questions about his book and what’s next for him!
1. Why did you become a writer?
I’ve always loved books since I was a kid, and reading the ones that reveal the secrets of our body have always been among my favorites. As a physician and a scientist, I’ve spent decades writing research articles for medical and scientific journals. I’ve published in the best of them, like The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Science, and so on. But only professionals like me read those articles. So, when I realized that I had a big message to deliver, and that my knowledge about food and health could literally help billions, I knew that writing a book was the only way to go. I really loved writing Eat to Beat Disease and even more, seeing how enthusiastically people are responding to its message.
2. What inspired Eat to Beat Disease?
As a practicing physician, I saw how many of my patients were interested in diet and health when they asked me at the end of a visit what they could do to help themselves at home with food. When I spoke with colleagues, I realized they experienced the same thing. Yet, we doctors are not educated about nutrition during medical school or our training years — I thought that was wrong, and set out on a journey to do the research to understand how food can impact on our health. Using the same scientific approach as I take towards researching new biotech treatments, I discovered that hundreds of foods can impact on our body’s health defense systems: angiogenesis, regeneration, microbiome, DNA protection, and immunity. Eating these foods can activate our health defenses, and this opens a new door to embracing food for health — because we can add not subtract to the pleasure we get from eating, and become healthier along the way. I also realized that preventing disease through diet is an important solution to the huge financial burdens that our healthcare system faces today. Thinking about all this led me to write Eat to Beat Disease.
3. What’s next for you?
I am expanding my research into new foods that can improve health, and I’m focused on getting more people engaged to think about what they eat in a new way. I’m getting my message out to as many people as I can, and using different media platforms to help. Recently, I even appeared as a guest chef on a TV cooking show — so I could show viewers how to prepare a tasty, healthy meal in under 30 minutes. I believe that what the world needs now is an Eat to Beat Disease Movement, and I’m setting out to bring this about.