Can food re-write your DNA?
It’s been shown that a mother’s diet during pregnancy can switch genes on or off in the unborn infant. This includes permanent changes, such as the coat colour of a mouse being influenced by its mother’s diet.
Research that followed 84 women in rural Gambia suggests that maternal nutrition may also have an impact in humans.
What is epigenetics?
Put in simple terms, epigenetics is the study of biological mechanisms that switch our genes on and off.
There are many factors that impact our health, including the genetics we are born with.
When it comes to so-called lifestyle diseases, I believe that if genetics loads the gun, it is the way we live and eat day to day that most commonly pulls the trigger.
I believe there are 3 key factors that affect your health: Attitude, Intake and Movement.
In other words, your mindset and mental wellbeing have a major impact on overall health. So does everything you put in or on your body, as well as your activity levels. Sitting is the new smoking, right?
What if these 3 things could not only avoid us pulling trigger, but also had the potential to unload the gun?
When it comes to epigenetics I believe the microbiome of our gut may play a significant part.
Your gut microbiome is a sophisticated community of bacteria, viruses and microbes. Just as humans living in communities have the potential to make a massive impact on the environment around them, the inhabitants of the microbiome can impact their human host.
As humans, we are influenced by the resources available in our communities. The gut microbiome is influenced by diet.
As humans we have choices about how we look after our environment and we know that our actions have consequences. The behaviours of your gut microbiome may have similar consequences for your health.
I believe that how we feed our microbiome (the resources we provide its inhabitants) plays a significant role in our ongoing health. Just as derelict land can become a lush, fertile environment when looked after, perhaps the same is true in our bodies.
My belief is that a diet rich in unprocessed plant-based foods is key. The easiest way I know to significantly increase your intake of nutrients from vegetables and fruits is to drink them.
I am NOT claiming that drinking fresh fruits and vegetables is any kind silver bullet or guaranteed way to stay young, although I do think we all instinctively understand that fruits and vegetables are beneficial to our health.
I have heard so many life changing stories about consuming more plants, that I encourage you to try adding 1 or 2 freshly extracted juices to your day.
This post is adapted from my recent article ‘Can You Juice Yourself Younger?’ published in Thrive Magazine
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