Highlights from Jonathan Otto's interview with Dr. Joel Fuhrman, for the Depression & Anxiety Series. 

Joel Fuhrman: 02:24 I've had many patients with severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis make complete recoveries. I can predictably expect that with a disease like that. Some of these people are on medication suffering for decades. I have a lot of these cases on my website. I've even wrote a medical study, a medical journal study published in a nutrition journal showing consecutive case series of autoimmune conditions reversing themselves.

Joel Fuhrman: 02:47 So even though I advocate what I call a nutritarian diet, which is diet rich in nutrients, And of course we're taking out processed foods and low nutrient and foods with concentrated calories. So eating lots of vegetables. It's a diet of beans and fruits and nuts and vegetables and onions and mushrooms.

Joel Fuhrman: 03:06 I usually give my patients with autoimmune conditions a glass of fresh squeezed vegetable juice a day as well. In most cases they're drinking a glass of three part juice product which has one part cruciferous greens, one third carrot and beet, and one third benign like lettuce, celery, cucumber mixed together maybe with a squeeze of lemon.

Joel Fuhrman: 03:24 I want to get their nutrient levels up in their tissues better. If they're on medications I usually start to decrease the medications after a three month period of chocking up their body with a lot of nutrients. I don't want to cut the medications out when they're still nutritionally deficient.

Joel Fuhrman: 03:37 When I test the nutrient levels in patients with autoimmune disease they generally have very, very low antioxidant scores and very low skin carotenoid scores. It usually takes about three months to get the scores up to normal again, so I feel safe enough to start lowering their medications.

Joel Fuhrman: 03:52 So you asked me about the dietary protocol. There's not one dietary protocol I use for every patient with autoimmune conditions, because some could be sensitive to some foods more than others. So we do some elimination with them, and we do also with some of my patients with Crohn's disease, colitis and lupus, I also do some intermittent fasting.

Joel Fuhrman: 04:13 I might have them doing some juice fasting or even water fasting a few days a month, two to three days of water fasting a month. Even with patients who are bleeding with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. I have them try to start out with just a day on juice. Sometimes when I'm starting them on juice I'm warming the juice with a little bit of heat because they don't do well with raw food in the beginning. But over time I can get them tolerating raw food and moving more to eating more raw greens.

Joel Fuhrman: 04:36 I'm careful with eating mostly cooked foods when they have digestive impairment and bleeding in the bowel. I'm mostly giving them a cooked vegetable diet with lots of cooked root vegetables and quinoa. Foods that are more gentle on the gut with vegetable juices that are lightly warmed, almost to boiling and then we shut them off.

Joel Fuhrman: 04:53 Then over time they are able to tolerate blended salads and more raw food. We expand their diet more so it's not just like one simple diet. I coordinate the diet, or adjust it for their particular needs. If they're having gut inflammation I have to be a little more gentle in juicing raw salads that might irritate them with bleeding from ulcerative colitis.

Joel Fuhrman: 05:13 With rheumatoid arthritis, for example, a lot of patients with rheumatoid arthritis are sensitive to too much sugar in their diet. A lot of them don't do well with too much fruit in the diet. So we do make the diet, initial diet with rheumatoid arthritis very cooked vegetable and starch heavy. More quinoa, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, winter squashes, things like that with a lot of cooked greens.

Joel Fuhrman: 05:37 Then we introduce the blended salads and the juicing. We keep their fruit content very low. We start with strawberries and wild blueberries with less sugar. A lot of rheumatoid arthritis patients flare up again if you give them too much sweets.

Joel Fuhrman: 05:50 So what I'm saying is, I don't have one particular diet that is cross the board the same for all autoimmune diseases. There's slight modifications we make based on their individual differences. Sometimes there are patients with rheumatoid arthritis that are sensitive to some foods and not other foods.

Joel Fuhrman: 06:08 We do a lot of putting them on a lot of plant based, healthy diet. But we do rotation and elimination with their diet. I'll keep certain foods out of the diet for a whole week, and they'll monitor their scores. Then I'll put them back in for a week and I'll take them out for a week and put them back in for a week.

Joel Fuhrman: 06:21 And I'll do that with many, as we treat them over the first six months. We do a lot of food rotation and elimination. Trying to feel what they're sensitive to.

Joel Fuhrman: 06:27 You can get some idea with blood work but usually blood work is not 100% accurate. It's better to reinforce that with some testing as well.

Joel Fuhrman: 10:54 I call the diet I recommend a nutritarian diet. Because it's not just plant based, it's also very rich in whole foods that have been shown to prevent cancer and have effects on strengthening the immune system. I have an acronym so people can memorize those foods that offer the most cancer protection.

Joel Fuhrman: 11:12 So there's lots of foods you can eat. If you're gonna eat lots of foods you should have a wide variety of foods in your diet. Your diet shouldn't be just one food. A macrobiotic diet, eating mostly brown rice is not a diet that's gonna maximally protect you against cancer.

Joel Fuhrman: 11:25 We need a variety of anticancer nutrients in the diet for the maximum protection. That acronym is called GBOMBS. It's G-B-O-M-B-S, which stands for greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds.

Joel Fuhrman: 11:41 So green, cruciferous vegetables are probably the food with the most powerful anticancer effects. We show people how to make them taste great and prepare them in a manner to retain the isothiocyanates. Because you can cook them and you can blow almost 90% of the isothiocyanates off, so you don't really get the benefits from it.

Joel Fuhrman: 11:58 It's the way you cook them. And the secret here is, if you're gonna add kale or bok choy or collard greens or turnip greens to your soup, you should blend it in the blender while it's still raw so it breaks down the cell wall, so the myrosinase can catalyze the reaction to form the ITC's before it's heated.

Joel Fuhrman: 12:15 And then you can add it to the soup. Because once the ITC's, the strongest anticancer part, are formed, then the heat's not gonna destroy them. But if you cook the kale or the bok choy or the cabbage first in the soup and then you blend it in or chopped it in you'd lose all the myrosinase activity.

Joel Fuhrman: 12:32 The same thing is true with onions and the alliinase activity. We want to blend the scallion and the onion while still raw, make it smell and stink up your kitchen, with the sulfenic acid that can burn your eyes. Then pour in the soup to cook it.

Joel Fuhrman: 12:44 I'm telling people to use raw cruciferous greens like arugula and watercress, chopped kale, the bok choy on the salad raw each day, and also use raw onion or scallion on your salad as well because that combination of raw green and raw onion or scallion have tremendous powerful protection against cancer.

Joel Fuhrman: 13:02 We're talking here about two raw foods, greens and onion family, and two cooked foods, mushrooms and beans. Mushrooms should mostly be cooked because they contain a mild carcinogen called agaratine that blows off with just a minute of cooking.

Joel Fuhrman: 13:16 Beans should be thoroughly cooked. When the beans are thoroughly cooked there's no danger of lectins or glutens, or nothing like that. But cooked beans have powerful anticancer effects. And they're the most strong in inositol pentakisphosphate, which is a powerful protection against breast and prostate cancer. And they're very high in micronutrients.

Joel Fuhrman: 13:33 And because they're highest in resistant starch they cultivate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. And these healthy bacteria in the gut from onions and greens and beans and mushrooms thicken the microbiome with protective bacteria, lowering the glycemic effect of everything you eat.

Joel Fuhrman: 13:50 So when you had that mango for breakfast the glycemic effect of that mango is reduced, lower glucose transmitting to the gut wall, because you are a regular consumer of greens, onions, mushrooms and beans.

Joel Fuhrman: 14:02 So what I'm saying is the nutritarian diet includes a full portfolio of foods that have anticancer effects. And with the full portfolio of anticancer foods including nuts and seeds, which facilitate the absorption of phytochemicals, the flax seeds and chia seeds and sesame seeds contain lignans and other anticancer ingredients all on their own. The fact that these nuts and seeds also have the right type of fats facilitate the absorption of the phytochemicals in the vegetables you're eating as well. You can absorb ten times the anticancer phytonutrients in the vegetables because you ate some nuts and seeds with that same meal. If you had a meal that was very low in fat, with no nuts and seeds, you'd be leaving those phytochemicals on the table.

Joel Fuhrman:
14:42 So a nutritarian diet looks at every single element that can extend human life span. So you don't leave anything out of the equation. It's designed to get all the full health benefits to prevent cancer. And with this type of diet style, I'm convinced we can wipe out the vast majorities of cancers in America.