Don’t you hate your friend who eats anything she wants, drinks almost every day, works out little and still looks great! She got some good genes! But despair not, I have some good news for you. Genes are not your destiny. You can control your destiny with your lifestyle choices that contribute to how your genes express.
Take my case. I am born with PCOS, and it is a known fact that people with PCOS have a hard time losing weight due to insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances. I was skinny in my teen years due to unprocessed foods in India, and my PCOS symptoms did not show up much during those years. When I came to the United States and was exposed to processed foods and no exercise I gained 40 to 50 pounds in just a few months. I struggled to lose weight for many years and blamed it on my PCOS. But after understanding diet and nutrition and focusing on gaining health rather than losing weight, weight loss happened effortlessly. And I was able to maintain what I lost for last six years. I was able to dampen my gene characteristics with my lifestyle choices. So can you with the knowledge of epigenetics, a hottest and latest field of science.
Epigenetics, which literally means “above genes”, studies about how people’s environments and experiences can turn on or turn off genes. Having certain genes and having them expressed are two different things. Just like the director of the movie can change dialogues and eliminate or add scenes epigenetics can express or silence the genes. By living a healthy lifestyle, with attention to what you put into and onto your body, exercise, limited exposure to toxins, and a positive mental attitude, you encourage your genes to express positively.
With every mouthful of food you take, with every step you take and with every thought you think you can turn on/off your gene switches.
With epigenomes, you can not only control your health, but you can also pass your health and even your thoughts and beliefs to future generations. If you are not convinced read further about the science experiments on mice done to study epigenetics and how a mother’s diet can shape the epigenome of offsprings. All mammals have a gene called agouti. When a mouse’s agouti gene is completely unmethylated, its coat is yellow, and it is obese and prone to diabetes and cancer. When the agouti gene is methylated as it is in normal mice, the coat color is brown and the mouse has a low disease risk. When scientists fed pregnant yellow mice a methyl-rich diet, most of her offsprings were brown and stayed healthy. These results show that our health can be passed on to our children.
If you are wondering what foods you need to eat to alter your epigenome, consider leafy greens rich in folate and foods high in B vitamins. Food sources of B vitamins are organic chicken and beef liver, fish, eggs, dark leafy greens, asparagus, almonds, sunflower seeds and walnuts. Broccoli, green tea, cauliflower, kale, turmeric are all recommended by epigenetic and nutrigenetic experts.
Although there is some work involved from your side to silence or express these genes I hope this will make you feel more empowered to know that you are not stuck anymore with your genes.
You are not your genes. You are your genes and your lifestyle. In fact, your genes cause less than 10 percent of all diseases!
Your environment and choices determine your fate. So eat your kale, get moving and be positive and start expressing your good vibes and your good genes.
Are you surprised to learn that many of your thoughts are expressed in your children? Did your mom’s diet while pregnant with you affect your health? What kind of characteristics do you see you have inherited from your parents or have passed on to your children?