Change Genes Through Your Lifestyle Choices | Photo credit: iStock Images
- Each new year, you make resolutions to reach a milestone.
- This time overwrite the wrong script in your genetic blueprint.
- With smart lifestyle choices, modify genetic GPS to lead you to a long and healthy life.
Making healthy decisions might not be foolproof, but it could be the difference between having a significant health problem and avoiding one.
In April 2003, fifty years after the discovery of the structure of DNA, scientists from six countries announced that they had sequenced the entire genetic code of a human being with an accuracy of 99.999%. That was then, compared to man’s first landing on the moon, and the invention of the wheel.
Since then, scientists have researched links between our genetic profiles and our likelihood of developing health problems, from diabetes, breast cancer and heart attack to depression, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and so on. right now.
It is true that genes influence all aspects of human physiology, development and adaptation. Obesity is no exception. Now we have an increased awareness of the importance of genetics in our risk of certain diseases and disorders, both mental and physical.
There are currently genetic tests that help us know if we carry copies of specific genes that put us at a higher risk for various diseases. We keep hearing about various instances where a celebrity makes a difficult decision after finding out that she has copies of “cancer genes”, for example, or Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
But what has turned out to be just as true is that the genetic code can be overwritten, at least to some extent. The genetic code can be influenced by the positive lifestyle choices we make, including eating well and.
Research in the emerging field of epigenetics shows that our lifestyle choices – the foods we ingest, the air we breathe, the soil and chemicals we are exposed to, how much we choose to being sedentary or active, even our social environments – can cause alterations in our genes. This is what the evolution of species consists of.
Eat well to turn off unhealthy genes:
According to Atlantic.com, a study found that eating well can “turn off” genes that put a person at higher risk for heart problems. For this study, the participants were divided into 3 groups.
- A typical “Western” diet (more salty and fried foods, meats, eggs and sugar),
- An âOrientalâ (no more soy, pickled foods, eggs and leafy greens); and
- The “Prudent” diet (no more raw fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, nuts and dairy products).
The study found that people who ate more raw fruits and vegetables had a reduced risk of heart disease, even though they carried copies of the gene that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. People genetically most at risk of having a heart attack (they had two copies of specific genes associated with heart attacks) had about double the heart risk if they ate a diet low in fruits and vegetables, compared to people who ate a careful diet. The study shows quite clearly how eating well will not only help you feel better instantly, but also change your genes and reduce risk to your heart in the long run.
Genes don’t always give us a fixed pattern. Sometimes they give us potential that might not come to fruition as expected, says Dr Esther Entin in The doctor will see you now.
Exercise to change the stem cell plan:
The other study that Atlantic (by crediting the original article in The doctor will see you now) quote concerns how exercise can work, at least in part, by affecting the expression of our genes. When mice ran on a treadmill for as little as an hour three times a week, exercise caused these stem cells to become blood-producing cells in the bone marrow, rather than fat cells. Stem cells from sedentary mice in this study were much more likely to develop into fat cells.
The social environment can alter the potential results of genes:
Dr Esther Entin (MD) cites a study where researchers followed 750 pairs of twins from various places, ethnicities and income. They discovered that the first experiences of childhood affect the intellectual development of the child. As a child’s socioeconomic status decreased, the ability of genes to positively influence a child’s ultimate cognitive outcome also decreased. Socio-economic disadvantages suppress the genetic potential of children. Likewise, when it comes to thwarting genetic mutations that could lead to cognitive decline, it’s especially important to exercise your mind regularly.
Now you know your genes aren’t your destiny, and the lifestyle choices you make can help you outsmart your DNA to live a healthier life. Your DNA determines your risk for certain diseases, but you may be able to change more than you think.
While we can’t change our genetic makeup, we can positively influence the way our DNA is expressed, says Brandon Colby, MD, author of Outsmart Your Genes and clinical geneticist in Beverly Hills. âYou can think of your genes as a road map of possible routes,â says Dr Colby. âWhile your genes may mean that your roadmap has paths to heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease, those paths aren’t set in stone, they’re just possibilities mapped out by your genes. “
How to outsmart your genes for better health:
- Increase the intensity of your exercise
- Eat whole foods and avoid processed foods
- Keep your brain engaged in new challenges
Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or dietitian before starting a fitness program or making any changes to your diet.