Your Genes Control Your Jeans
Our genes are better known as DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid in a double stranded coil. We tend to think of our DNA as being fixed or unchangeable because we can’t change our eye color or our skin color, but it is much more flexible than we think. Instead of being an instruction manual written in black and white it is more like software that can be updated.
What does that have to do with the food we choose to eat? Nutrition plays a very important role in how our DNA or genes are expressed. Our genes are always responding to what we eat, our emotions, our stress level and to the nutrition available at a cellular level. The study of this is known as epigenetics. (1) Knowing what we eat can change “that disease runs in my family” to not having that disease run in you. Maintaining a healthy environment in our bodies can slow aging and help us to be more resistant to chronic, degenerative disease. (1) Many studies also show that diet restriction while not restricting nutrition (Hello PHD) can improve life span. (2)
What we unknowingly eat can also play a very important role in our health and how genes are expressed. One study looking at malathion, a pesticide used in everything from apples to flour mills, caused chromosome loss in the DNA of white blood cells. Another study showed that it caused DNA abnormalities and chromosome defects. (3) This changes our role from passive to being empowered!
The food we choose to put in our mouths can ultimately affect our risk of disease and change how we experience aging. Eating nutrient dense foods provides optimal nourishment for our genes and turns off many disease-promoting genes. (1). Healthy food choices allow our bodies to prevent and actually repair DNA damage. So what are some of the best foods to choose? Vegetables like the ones on the PHD green list, especially broccoli, cauliflower and arugula, these cruciferous vegetables provide a variety of compounds that prevent cancer . (2) More than 600 carotenoids and 5,000 flavonoids, which are antioxidants that protect the body, have been identified in plants. Many of those are found in vegetables. High quality proteins such as fish, beef, turkey and eggs, these provide vitamins B6 and B12 which help make new DNA and repair existing DNA. Adding high quality oils and fats like avocado oil and butter helps absorb fat soluble vitamins and influences how cells communicate. (1) So in today’s chaos one of the few things we have control over is our food choices so it is more important than ever to be making choices that benefit our health instead of causing damage.
- Jack Challem. Feed Your Genes Right, Eat to Turn Off Disease Causing Genes and Slow Down Aging. John Wiley and Sons. 2005
- Tiffon, Céline. “The Impact of Nutrition and Environmental Epigenetics on Human Health and Disease.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 19,11 3425. 1 Nov. 2018, doi:10.3390/ijms19113425
- Doris J Rapp, MD. Our Toxic World, A Wake Up Call. Chemicals Damage your Body, Brain, Behavior and Sex. Environmental Medical Research Foundation. 2004