How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

by Michael Greger

How Not to Die is a guidebook about preventing death from the 15 most common illnesses and diseases. With groundbreaking scientific research to back up each and every one of author Dr. Michael Greger’s claims, this book presents a conclusive, step-by-step guide to combating different diseases through your diet and general lifestyle.

We have compiled all these steps into simple, easy-to-follow actions for you to try! So, if you’re at risk of any of these 15 diseases, you will not have to worry any more—your solution is right here.

Summary Notes

How Not to Die from Heart Disease

The killer I’m talking about is coronary heart disease and it’s affecting nearly everyone raised on the standard American diet.

LDL cholesterol is the vehicle by which cholesterol is deposited into your arteries, leading to atherosclerosis (cholesterol deposits). When you have high levels of cholesterol in your arteries, you block blood flow through them.

If you have atherosclerosis in your coronary artery (the artery providing oxygenated blood to your heart), you risk blood flow to your heart being compromised and you may have a heart attack.

Studies show that by eating healthily and reducing LDL cholesterol levels, you can actually reverse atherosclerosis and therefore reverse heart disease!

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Lung Diseases

The worst death I ever witnessed was that of a man dying of lung cancer.

Smoking tobacco contributes to up to 90% of all lung cancer deaths and is known to cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) such as emphysema and bronchitis. Even nonsmokers who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke have a 20–30% higher risk of developing lung cancer.

However, quitting smoking and/or staying away from secondhand smoke will greatly reduce your chances of developing lung cancer/disease.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Following a primarily plant-based diet has been proven to reduce the risk of developing COPD. Just one extra serving of fruit each day can reduce your risk of dying from COPD by 24%!

On the other hand, cured meat such as bacon, ham, sausage, etc., can increase the risk of developing COPD.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Asthma

Following a primarily plant-based diet has been proven to reduce the risk of developing allergic asthma, as well as improve lung function in children with asthma within eight weeks.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Brain Diseases

Unlike a problem with your foot or your back or even another vital organ, brain disease can attack your self.

Fiber has been proven to moderate cholesterol and blood sugar levels, thereby decreasing the amount of artery-clogging plaque in your brain’s blood vessels. This will reduce your risk of having a stroke or developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Potassium can also prevent strokes: research shows that by increasing your daily potassium intake by 1,640 mg, you can reduce your risk of having a stroke by 21%!

Citrus will help moderate your blood flow. Research shows that just two cups of orange juice can improve your blood flow and reduce your chance of developing a stroke.

Antioxidants can slow down, and even reverse, your body’s aging process. This will help reduce your chances of developing age-related diseases, especially strokes!

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Alzheimer’s disease

Highly processed foods are full of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These chemicals are known to accelerate the aging process in human bodies and can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Antioxidants can slow down, and even reverse, your body’s aging process. This will help reduce your chances of developing age-related diseases, especially strokes! These powerful chemicals can also improve memory abilities in older adults, thereby reducing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Research indicates that exercise improves memory function and can therefore reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Digestive Cancers

Three of the most common cancers of the digestive tract kill approximately one hundred thousand Americans each year.

Regular screenings for colorectal cancer will increase your chances of detecting it early, if you develop it. Early detections have better remission rates than late ones.

Turmeric contains curcumin, an anti-cancer compound that does not get absorbed much into your bloodstream. It ends up in your colon and can reverse colorectal cancer in its early stages—and sometimes, even in its late stages!

Phytates are also known to have cancer-fighting properties and can decrease the number of cancer cells in your body by boosting your immune system and cutting off the blood supply to tumors.

Heme iron can generate cancer-causing free radicals by acting as a pro-oxidant, and is  found in blood and muscle. However, ensure your diet is supplemented with non-heme iron from plant foods, as too little iron in your body can cause anemia.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Pancreatic Cancer

Researchers have discovered that even 50 grams of chicken consumed daily can lead to a 72% increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Tobacco and excess alcohol consumption have also been linked with causing pancreatic cancer.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Esophageal Cancer

Even light amounts of alcohol increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer, so it’s best to just stay away from it.

There is also a strong correlation between acid reflux disease and esophageal cancer, likely because acid reflux can damage your esophageal lining and increase the risk of cancer cells forming.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Infections

Humanity’s dominion over animals has unleashed a veritable Pandora’s ark of infectious diseases.

Infections are transmitted very quickly through contact—simply shaking someone’s hand after they’ve coughed into it while sick can cause you to catch their infection! This is why sanitizing your hands after coming into contact with potential contaminated zones is extremely important.

Maintaining responsible habits while sick is also extremely important so you do not cause others to get sick too.

Exercise has been proven to boost the level of antibodies in your body, thereby improving your immune system’s ability to fight off infection.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Food Poisoning

Salmonella is the leading cause of food-poisoning-related hospitalizations as well as the number one cause of food-poisoning-related deaths in the US. Stay educated so you can avoid it!

E. coli is known to cause urinary tract infections, and most strains of this bacteria are antibiotic resistant.

Yersinia infection typically leads to acute gastroenteritis, but if left untreated, it can cause chronic inflammation of the eyes, kidneys, heart, and joints. It can also trigger Graves’ disease (an autoimmune thyroid condition).

C. Difficile is a superbug that causes a condition known as pseudomembranous colitis. The most characteristic symptom is painful, crampy diarrhea.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Diabetes

By switching to a healthy diet, you can start improving your health within a matter of hours.

Research shows that children and adults who follow a plant-based diet have lower BMIs—the lowest BMIs are attributed to those who follow a vegan diet. In general, consuming large amounts of saturated fat, which is found in high levels in meats but low levels in plant-based foods, contribute to a high BMI.

Specifically, eating a significant amount of legumes has been associated with low BMIs and a low risk of obesity (the number one risk factor for diabetes).

Actions to take

How Not to Die from High Blood Pressure

The number one risk factor for death in the world is high blood pressure.

Having a high intake of soda, processed meat, sodium, and refined grains has been associated with death due to high blood pressure.

On the other hand, eating plenty of fruits, flaxseeds, hibiscus tea, nitrate-rich vegetables, and whole grains has been found to reduce an individual’s risk of developing high blood pressure!

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Liver Diseases

The most common causes of liver disease are drink and food: alcoholic liver disease and fatty liver disease.

Liver disease arising from excessive alcohol intake is extremely common and, if left unaddressed, can lead to cirrhosis (irreversible scarring of the liver) and even death.

When cholesterol accumulates in liver cells, it can crystallize and cause inflammation. This can lead to a fatty liver, cirrhosis, and liver disease.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Blood Cancers

Fortunately, dietary changes may reduce our risk of all these blood cancers.

Cruciferous vegetables contain a compound known as sulforaphane, which has been found to kill human leukemia cells.

Acai berries have also been found to be able to kill human leukemia cells, as they are full of antioxidants.

Curcumin has been found to be able to combat multiple myeloma, one of the most dreaded cancers.

On the other hand, poultry has been linked with increasing the risk of developing blood cancers! For every 50 g of poultry consumed daily, the risk of developing blood cancers increases between 56% and 280%.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Kidney Disease

It’s easy to take your kidneys for granted, but they work around the clock, like a high-tech, nonstop water filter for your blood.

Animal products—especially those high in cholesterol—have been linked to causing kidney disease. This is because plugs of fat and cholesterol tend to “clog up the works” in kidneys, disallowing kidneys from functioning at their full capacity and forcing them into a state known as “hyperfiltration,” where they have to work twice as hard to accomplish half as much.

While cholesterol-lowering statin drugs can slow the progress of kidney disease, eating healthier will create a much bigger positive impact.

A higher dietary acid load is associated with a significantly higher chance of protein leaking into the urine—a known symptom of kidney disease. This is because when there is excess acid in your diet, your kidneys produce a base (ammonia) to neutralize the acid. However, high concentrations of ammonia can be toxic, thereby triggering kidney disease.

Luckily, plant-based foods alkalinize the kidneys, so eating more plant-based foods is a good way to prevent high dietary acid levels! The alkalizing effect of plant-based foods also plays a role in the prevention and treatment of kidney stones.

Excess phosphorus in the body is linked to causing kidney failure.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Breast Cancer

The good news is no matter what your mum ate or how you lived as a child, by eating and living healthfully, you may be able to slow the growth rate of any hidden cancers.

Animal foods tend to contain high levels of cholesterol, which has been linked to increasing the risk of developing breast cancer. Furthermore, plant foods tend to contain high levels of fiber and other compounds that prevent breast cancer. Specifically, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower contain sulforaphane, which can suppress tumorous breast cancer cells.

Melatonin is produced by your body to help you sleep at night. However, it also plays a role in suppressing tumor cells.

Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are produced when muscle meat (i.e., beef, pork, fish, and poultry) is cooked at high temperatures of above 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, it is important to cook meat thoroughly to kill any foodborne pathogens, but cooking meat too thoroughly can cause foodborne carcinogens to form.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Suicidal Depression

Healthy food can have a powerful effect on mood.

Arachidonic acid is metabolized by the body into inflammatory chemicals, which can cause inflammation in the brain and trigger negative mood states. While this compound is important for fighting infections, the human body already produces sufficient levels of it. By reducing the amount of meat you eat, you can reduce the amount of arachidonic acid in your body, and you will probably notice an improvement in mood.

Fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients that inhibit monoamine oxidase (MAO), an enzyme that breaks down dopamine and serotonin (chemicals in your brain that maintain positive moods). Low levels of dopamine and serotonin are linked with depression, so, by inhibiting MAO activity in the brain, you can combat depression. Spices such as cloves, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg also contain MAO-inhibiting phytonutrients.

Fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants, which can eliminate the free radicals in your brain, thereby reducing depressive symptoms.

Seeds contain tryptophan, which is the building block of serotonin. Coupled with carbohydrates, this amino acid can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase the concentration of serotonin in the brain.

Drinking two or more cups of coffee daily decreases suicide risk by almost half. However, adding artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or saccharine has been found to increase the risk of depression.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Prostate Cancer

More than two million men are currently living with prostate cancer.

Milk, eggs, and poultry have been linked with prostate cancer. In fact, carcinogens build up more in the muscles of chickens and turkeys than in any other animals. Eggs contain a compound known as choline, which can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.

On the other hand, plant-based foods have been found to suppress prostate cancer cell growth by 70%. This is largely because animal-based foods promote the production of insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and plant-based foods do not. IGF-1 has been linked to promoting cancerous cell growth.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Parkinson’s Disease

No family should have to endure the tragedy of Parkinson’s.

Most animal-based foods (meat and dairy) contain pollutants. These pollutants can trigger Parkinson’s disease by mutating your DNA and increasing your susceptibility to the disease.

Berries have been linked with being able to counter the negative effect of these pollutants and pesticides, thereby decreasing the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Nicotine-rich vegetables have also been associated with decreasing the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Actions to take

How Not to Die from Iatrogenic Causes

For chronic diseases, which are the leading causes of death and disability, conventional medicine doesn’t have much to offer.

Research indicates  that out of all children who undergo abdominal or head CAT scans every year, five hundred may ultimately die from cancer developed due to the radiation from the scan.

Luckily, foods rich with antioxidants and vitamin C, such as citrus, nuts, seeds, pumpkins, peppers, kale, spinach, etc., can combat these negative effects of radiation and offer some protection.

Generally speaking, eating herbs and spices will increase the amount of salicylic acid in your bloodstream. Salicylic acid is known to have anti-cancer properties, and can reduce your risk of developing cancer.

Actions to take

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