Best of The Weekly Thread: 6 foods that fight cancer, inside the brain of a ‘super-ager’, and choosing the right olive oil for you.

If you are reading this, it’s highly likely, that you have cancer. 

As I write this, I know, it’s highly likely that somewhere, inside my body, I have cancer. 

Now, the cancer I am referring to is most likely microscopic, and harmless, at the moment. 

Chances are it will remain microscopic, and thus, harmless. 

Let’s get a little more clear on what I mean by this. 

It all begins with cellular senescence.

A senescent cell, also known as a “zombie cell”, is a cell that has stopped multiplying, but doesn’t die off when they should, and have stopped serving their purpose in the body. 

Over time, these senescent cells, with no purpose to serve, can become autoimmune, or metabolically inefficient, meaning, potentially cancerous. 

If the aging process has begun in your body, you deal with cellular senescence. The older you get, the more cell senescence happens. 

This is why I say, it’s highly likely that if you are reading this, that you likely have cancer in your body, and most likely, as it currently stands, it is harmless. 

So when we think of someone being diagnosed with cancer, it’s not the actual presence of a cancerous tumor, as many of us have microscopic cancerous tumors in our body that are harmless. 

Rather, when someone is diagnosed with cancer, what that really means is that what once was a seemingly harmless, microscopic tumor, has now become a problem. 

A potentially life-threatening problem. 

This can be a bit of a sobering reality, knowing that it’s likely we have cancer in our bodies, but also empowering, knowing this, and knowing there are proactive measures we can take to ensure those harmless, microscopic tumors remain so, or are killed off by the body through a process known as “apoptosis”. 

So how does cancer go from harmless and microscopic, to larger, and problematic?

Through a process in the body known as angiogenesis. 

Angiogenesis, simply put, is the development of new blood vessels.

Typically, angiogenesis is the giver of life in the body, and beneficial. 

However, in the presence of a cancerous, microscopic tumor, the last thing we want to do is give it “life”. 

Therefore, in the presence of a cancerous, microscopic tumor, we don’t want angiogenesis to take place. 

When new blood vessels form around the tumor, the tumor can now be fed, it has blood flow. 

Therefore, to stop cancer from gaining a life force, from growing, and thus, becoming a potentially deadly problem, you want the opposite of angiogenesis to take place. You want the cancer to essentially starve itself out. 

Meet Dr, William Li

Dr. William Li is a Harvard educated physician, who has authored over 100 peer reviewed papers, serves on multiple boards, and is the Chief Executive Officer, President, and Medical Director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a non-profit organization he founded to reconceptualize health and fighting disease through angiogenesis.

Dr. Li knew that we used pharmaceutical drugs to “starve out” cancer cells, and he had a simple hypothesis, which was that through research, we could discover foods that yielded the same, if not better results for starving out cancer, or having an “anti-angiogenic” effect. 

This hypothesis was what the Angiogenesis Foundation was built on. 

It turns out that this hypothesis was correct. 

The Angiogenesis Foundation has discovered over 100 foods that have an anti-angiogenic effect. Essentially foods that you can eat, and will help you keep those harmless, microscopic tumors harmless, and potentially, even help support your body in killing those potentially cancerous clusters of “zombie cells” off.

Of those 100+ foods, Dr. Li has located some as his “top cancer fighting foods”, and I think you’re really going to be happy to see some of them. 

Foods to eat to Beat Cancer

Coffee. Coffee beans contain specific polyphenols that epigenetically turn on your body’s tumor suppressor gene RARB2. This has been documented by scientists at the University of South Carolina. These polyphenol compounds that have this tumor suppressing effect on our genes are susceptible to oxidation, so we recommend grinding your beans fresh when possible as this provides you with a cup of coffee highest in active polyphenols. This is why we always grind your beans fresh, and French press every cup of coffee we brew for you. At minimum, try to choose high-quality coffee, preferably organic. 

Red Wine. Like coffee, red wine contains polyphenol compounds that have antiangiogenic effects. This is one of the reasons a glass or two of red wine per day has been shown to have therapeutic, anti-aging effects. Also, like coffee, there are ways to ensure you’re getting the healthiest glass of wine. To learn more about how to choose the healthiest wine CLICK HERE. 

Beer. Well, hops. The rub is, beer is really the only food/drink we consume that contains hops, and it does contain a high concentration depending on the beer you select. Hops contain xanthohumeral, which is a known antiangiogenic bio active. The U.S. National Cancer Institute conducted an analysis of almost 108,000 people, and found that those who consumed approximately 5 beers per week, had a 33% reduced risk of kidney cancer. Choosing a craft brewed IPA will yield the highest concentration of hops, and therefore, cancer fighting xanthohumeral. There is also a great, non-alcoholic way to consume cancer fighting hops in a drink called HOP WTR. It’s a carbonated, hoppy drink, with adaptogens, that will help you relax and wind down. 

Note: When consuming alcohol and considering the potential health benefits, extreme moderation is the key. Excessive alcohol consumption has very well documented deleterious effects, and those deleterious effects will outweigh the health benefits when over consumed. However, in moderation, 1-2 servings in a day, based on weight, or 4-5 servings per week has been shown to have potentially positive effects on cardiovascular health, and stress relief. Combine that with some other researched anti-aging and disease preventive benefits, and it looks like you can in fact, drink to your health. 

To read more, check out Dr. Li’s full article, 6 Foods to Eat to Beat Cancer.

The distinct psychophysiology of ‘SuperAger’ brains 

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Mesulam Center of Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease is collecting data for their ‘SuperAging Research Program’.

Data collected from ‘SuperAgers’ has been used to provide insights into how the brains of these adults compare to those of generally healthy adults and those afflicted with Alzheimer’s. 

What is a ‘SuperAger’?

The researchers at Northwestern define a ‘SuperAger’ as an adult over the age of 80 with a superior memory capacity that resembles that of middle aged adults. To be considered a ‘SuperAger’ the individual must show an ability to recall everyday events and previous personal experiences better than typical adults in their 50s and 60s. 

The ‘SuperAger’ brain. 

Through the study of the brains of ‘SuperAgers’, researchers gain a better understanding of how different aging processes are reflected in the brain. Furthermore, researchers believe the data from the study will have a tremendous impact on understanding the mechanisms responsible for the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

While living, the ‘SuoerAgers’ participating in the study provide blood work, and have MRI and PET scans done on their brain. They also donate their brains to the research study when they pass. 

Already, the study has revealed that the brains of the deceased ‘SuperAgers’ have thick cortexes that deteriorate much more slowly than those younger than them, in their 50s and 60s. The cortex is responsible for decision making processes, critical thinking, and retention and memories. 

The entorhinal cortex, which is often the first part of the brain to be affected in Alzheimer’s, plays an important role in memory and learning. 

‘SuperAgers’ brains also have less tau tangles. This is an abnormal protein in neurons, that when found in high amounts, is often indicative of Alzheimer’s. 

This significantly reduced amount of tau tangles in the ‘SuperAger’ brain could be the reason for their more resilient, more robust cortex. 

Von Economo neurons (VENs) are found in the fromto-insular cortex, and anterior lambic area. The true functional implications of VENs are not yet known, however, the high concentration of these cells, indicates, that they likely play an important role in emotional regulation and attentiveness. 

The brains of ‘SuperAgers’ exhibit a much higher concentration of VENs. 

What have we learned already from studying the ‘SuperAger’ brain?

Some noteworthy, distinct correlations have been made that appear to be significant, with respect to the ‘SuperAger’ brain:

  • They have a thicker, more resilient cortex
  • Noticeably lower concentration of tau tangles 
  • Noticeably higher concentration of VENs

Got it. So how do I maintain a thicker, more robust cortex, and higher concentration of key neurons? 

Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in neuronal survival and growth, serves as a neurotransmitter modulator, and participated in neuronal plasticity, which is essential for learning and memory. 

Therefore, increasing BDNF production in the body, could be effective at maintaining healthy, and even growing more robust neurons. 

Qualia Mind is a research backed nootropic also designed to maintain, and enhance long term brain and cognitive health, and has been shown to improve BDNF. 

The medicinal mushroom Lion’s Mane, that is popping up more and more for its benefits in daily use at improving mental acuity, may also help play a larger role in long term brain health, and the production of BDNF. 

Furthermore, despite vastly different backgrounds, education levels, and personal experiences, ‘SuperAgers’ do share distinct similarities in how they live their everyday lives that are worth noting. 

They remain active on all fronts into their 80s, both physically and mentally. Hearing this, probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise, however, knowing this corelation has now been drawn from the actual study of ‘SuperAger’ brains, should reinforce this sentiment. 

They also maintain robust social lives, and stay close to, and surrounded by family. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Keep moving, and just walk more, everyday. Time and again, research shows that simply taking more steps in a day will help you not only live longer, but also with higher quality of life. 
  • Stay engaged. Keep working, even on projects, learning, and stimulating your mind, and thus, brain. Treat it like a muscle that needs to be trained. 
  • Stay active in your community, maintain strong relationships with friends and family, and find ways to develop new relationship

What’s the difference, and which one should you choose?

A recent article posted on titled Olive Oil vs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: What’s the Difference, and Which one Should you Choose?, broke down the key differences between the two oils to help you make a more informed decision on choosing the right oil, based on your needs and preferences. 

How is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) made?

EVOO is made by crushing whole olives to create a mash. The mash is then spun, or kneaded, which separates the pure, “virgin” olive oil from the mash. No chemicals or heat is used in the process. This is why many EVOOs will say “cold pressed” on the label, to indicate no heat was used to extract the oil, much like in “cold pressed juices”. 

How is regular olive oil made? 

Olive oil (sans the “extra virgin” part), is made by combining EVOO and olive oil that goes through a refinement process using chemicals and/or heat. 

Health Benefits of EVOO vs. Olive Oil 

On the surface, due to the refinement process that goes into creating standard olive oil, you may think all the wonderful, anti-aging health benefits of it may be effectively lost. 

To be honest, this is what I thought for quite a while. 

Good news is, that’s not the actual case. 

It is true that EVOO is the nutritional, anti-aging king of all oils, so let’s first touch on that. 

EVOO is extremely rich in polyphenols. These are phytochemicals that have been shown to have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective (good for your brain), and even prebiotic properties. 

A diet rich in polyphenols draws strong correlations to overall health and longevity. 

Furthermore, EVOO is rich in heart-healthy, anti-aging monounsaturated fats, most notably, Oleic Acid, a fatty acid often correlated with improving longevity. 

Because of these incredible health benefits, I will often consume high amounts of EVOO straight, on the daily, to ensure I’m working it into my diet with regularity, along with using it as a dressing or finishing oil on foods. 

I’m a member of the Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club, to ensure I’m getting the highest quality, freshest EVOO delivered directly to my door once a quarter. 

Olive oil, due to the exposure to heat and/or chemicals in the refinement process does lose some bioavailability of the naturally present phytochemicals polyphenols, but not entirely. 

The anti-aging monounsaturated fat, Oleic Acid that is rich in EVOO, is just as present in refined olive oil. 

Choosing Between Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Olive Oil

For Cooking 

I also fell into the camp for quite some time that thought you couldn’t cook with EVOO. The thought was that it was too volatile in its “extra virgin” state, and that any exposure to heat would change it chemically. 

(This is typically why oils are refined in general, as it makes them more suitable for cooking.)

This is not the case, as you can bake, roast, and even sauté with EVOO. 

EVOO has a “smoke point” of 350 degrees, at which point, if it goes over, yes, the healthy fats in the oil will change chemically, and lose much, if not all, of their health benefits. 

That said, to ensure you are not changing the oil chemically, I do recommend consuming most of your EVOO as a dressing or finishing oil as a drizzle on foods. 

Refined olive oil, however, has a smoke point of 475 degrees, making it a more suitable oil, with more wiggle room, when used for cooking. And remember, it’s not as nutritionally dense as EVOO, but even refined olive oil is still far superior nutritionally, and in health benefits to most other refined cooking oils, especially canola and grape seed oil. 


EVOO definitely has a stronger taste to it. I personally love it, and thus, drizzle it pretty liberally on foods, however, if you are looking for a milder tasting oil, especially if for cooking, refined olive oil is a great alternative to EVOO.


  • EVOO is richer in bioavailable polyphenols, a phytochemical that has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and prebiotic properties. 
  • Both EVOO and refined olive oil are rich in the monounsaturated fat oleic acid, which has strong anti-aging properties. 
  • Refined olive oil has a much higher smoke point, making it more suitable for cooking. 
  • Refined olive is more mild in taste, whereas EVOO has a more robust, unique taste profile. 
  • Whether you are buying EVOO or refined olive oil, buy smaller bottles to ensure you go through jt more quickly and avoid it going rancid. Also, buy in dark glass bottles ideally, as clear plastic exposes the oil to more light, which can also have a damaging effect on the nutritional value of the oil.