Genetics control a lot, but do they decide your health?
Everyone knows that your genes (half of which you inherit from mom and the other half from dad) determine a lot of your physical characteristics. They control traits such as height, eye and hair color and the color of your skin. Your genes very much control things about how you look. But how much do genetics control other factors, like what kind of health you enjoy?
Genetics can be powerful, and there are some genetic anomalies and diseases that people are born with that cannot be changed. But for the majority of people, do our genes control whether or not we develop diseases like heart disease, cancer or diabetes?
For years, we have been told that by and large, they do. If your parents had heart disease, or cancer, or diabetes––if these diseases “run in the family”––you are at heightened risk for these diseases, regardless of what you do.
But in recent years, an entire field of epigenetics has become a burgeoning new field of interest. Epigenetics literally translates to “above the gene”; in other words, it is the study of how our genes interact with our environment.
Preliminary research reveals that our genes can be reacting to their environment as often as an hour by hour basis. The environment in which we bathe our genes (located in each of our cells throughout our entire body) can have profound effects on whether or not those genes are expressed.
How do we create an environment for our genes? Factors such as diet, exercise, lifestyle factors, toxic exposures––all of these culminate into creating the environment within our bodies. These combined factors, so it seems from research, have the ability to affect our genetics on a constant basis.
So, say your inherit a gene for a certain type of cancer. Science says this puts you at increased risk for developing that cancer at some point in life. Epigenetics reveals, however, the expression of that gene––whether or not it goes on to promote cancer growth––can be influenced by the environment we bathe our genes in.
This idea has been vindicated by numerous studies saying that merely changing a few lifestyle factors, namely diet and exercise, could cut cancer rates by nearly half. It is also evidenced by the thousands of stories of people sending their diabetes into remission or reversing heart disease. Lifestyle factors simply have enormous influence over our health, and perhaps even a greater influence than the genes we are born with.
This means that the power to control your health largely is within your hands. It is never too late to begin bettering your health. Starting with a diet like The Kaufmann Diet might be a good place to begin. The Kaufmann Diet eliminates many foods that are known to promote poor health and actively works to eliminate yeasts and fungi known to also negatively affect our health.
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