NUTRITION + EPIGENETICS – OUR GENES ARE MODIFIABLE THROUGH OUR CHOICES
When I started my Nutritional Therapist studies, I had no idea I was going to find out such exciting information, and especially not about our Epigenetic systems! Basically, what we eat, do, feel, think, and believe – affects our Epigenetics, which in turn actually affect our Genes. So, you are not necessarily stuck with your genes – they are modifiable! Only a tiny percentage if disease is due to hereditary issues alone, the rest can be modified through our choices.
Your Epigenetic Systems are something like a switching station that can control which parts of your Genes are in operation. Environmental signals select, modify, and regulate your gene activity. You can largely influence those signals, so that they literally turn good genes on and bad genes off.
These signals come from what you eat and drink, breathe, touch, do, and how you live. How and when you eat is also important. The signals also come from: how you feel, what you think & believe, and what you perceive (whether real or imagined). WOW!
The activity of your genes is constantly being changed in response to your unique environment & choices of food, drink – and all the other factors above.
Nutritional Therapy helps improve your cellular activity through planning your nutrition to best suit your needs.
Nutritional Therapists help you to work out all the details for an optimal plan that is uniquely yours.
Even if you do have genes that predispose you to certain health problems, it is possible to keep them dormant, or to counteract their activity by improving your nutrition, habits, and how you live – thus changing your cell behaviour.
A nutritional therapist can:
- Work with healthy people to prevent disease & optimise good health.
- Work with people who have developed disease in order to alleviate symptoms.
Every person is unique – therefore has an individual set of dietary requirements, which is also tailored according to their current state of health.
A personalized programme is formulated to ensure that the diet:
- Addresses any nutritional deficiencies
- Contains all the essential components.
- Contains specific elements in response to each individual’s current state of health.
Health improvements are then monitored to optimize benefits.
Lots of greens and antioxidant foods neutralize free radicals and keep your liver strong, so it can effectively remove toxins. There are so many amazingly good foods to help generally or to include for specific reasons, and some things work especially well together. Herbs and spices are a fascinating part of this, and green teas are wonderful too.
A FEW OTHER FACTORS
Soluble fibre aids the body to eliminate toxins, excess hormones, and cholesterol – plus helps beneficial bacteria in the gut to grow, strengthening your immune system, and reducing the risk of infection. It is so much better to eat fruits with all their fibre content, so that the sugars in them get properly processed.
We need Omega 3’s in our diet, and salt that is proper mineral salt (for example sea salt), not processed salt. Some things have been misrepresented, such as salt, fats, sugars, and more – so it is good to get these back into perspective.
What chemicals you come into contact with via the air you breathe, fluids you drink, toiletries, cleaning products etc that you use – is also very relevant. The skin is our biggest organ, we absorb things through it, as well as breathing things in, and ingesting things orally.
Some foods (and even poor supplements) can also contain undesirable things, so we need to look out for things to avoid, as well as good things we need. But there are so many good things out there that this can be a delightful journey of discovery.
Of course, other therapies can also help with those other factors (mentioned at the outset) in your environment that select, modify, and regulate your gene activity. How you feel, what you think & believe, and what you perceive (whether real or imagined), can be hugely balanced by engaging with other therapies such as Stress Busting, Counselling, Life Coaching.
IN SUMMARY – YOUR NUTRITION CAN HELP SWITCH GOOD GENES ON AND BAD GENES OFF
So, Genes cannot turn themselves on or off, but environmental factors do. Your blueprint (DNA) remains the same, but factors such as nutrition (including what, when, and how you eat & drink) change the way certain parts of your blueprint (DNA) are read and implemented (or not). Nutrition, good or bad, switches genes on & off.
It really is a joy to know what amazing properties different foods have, and to be able to truly use that information to optimise our health. Nutrition has turned out to be really exciting!