Do our genes really determine how healthy and fit we turn out to be? Or how we fit into our jeans?
We are more than our genes and we have an incredible amount of control over our body and mind thanks to the life style and behaviours we’re choosing. It’s called epigenetic.
Yes, it’s true. We are born with a basic “package” of genes – some traits of which are non-negotiable. For instance, our eye colour or our curly hair or our height.
But aside from these unchangeable fundamental traits we are born with, how much can we influence the genetic code we inherited?
We all know we can develop our intangible qualities, such as intelligence, strength of character, moral fortitude, etc., into something impressive, or not, depending on our choices throughout our lives. What about our physical traits?
Many would blame sicknesses or being overweight on their DNA sequence they’ve been dealt with. However, our genes play just a small part in determining many of our physical traits. We have an incredible amount of control over our aspect and health thanks to the life style and behaviours we’re choosing.
WE CAN CONTROL OUR GENES
This is called epigenetics, that is the study of how our behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way our genes work. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change our DNA sequence, but they can change how our body reads a DNA sequence.
We may be born with certain genetic traits, however, depending on our exposure to external stimuli, these traits can either be switched on or off. In other words, we can influence whether or not these genes are expressed.
Since our environment and behaviors, such as diet and exercise, can result in epigenetic changes, it is easy to see the connection between our genes and our behaviors and environment.
For example, someone may have a predisposition towards obesity in their genes, but depending on external stimuli (foods they eat, how well they sleep, their ability to manage stress, etc), chances are that this genetic predisposition will never manifest. Same with something like heart-disease or diabetes.
Our genes are not set in stone and we have a fair amount of choice over whether we allow our positive genes to dominate, or we succumb to those that will lead us to disease.
So how can we help our positive genes to activate? Here are just a few changes you can already apply to your life to turn these genes on.
1. ADJUST YOUR NUTRITION
The most fundamental change you can make to revolutionise your health and body is adjusting your nutrition.
We’ve covered it many times: you need to feed your body whole foods and beverages which are nutrient dense, (like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grass-fed meat, fish, water, fresh juices….) while avoiding any processed and inflammatory foods such as junk and packaged food and beverages, alcohol, refined sugar and so on.
Our body needs 4 main Macronutrients to thrive: Protein, Carbohydrates, Fat, and Water. To make sure our body perform all its functions properly, such as building muscles, regulating hormone production, regenerating tissues, we need to balance all these 4 Macronutrients in our diet.
Without these our body will lack vital building blocks and tissues will start to break down causing the formation of different conditions and health issues in the long run.
Even a single training session can trigger epigenetic changes. The more consistently you train, the more intense the effect.
These changes on the genes are then also passed on, which means that the offspring either benefit from epigenetics or are burdened by it.
So there is more than one reason to get into the gym or out for a run. Not only exercise makes you feel better and happier and look fitter. It also stimulates those positive genetic traits which help you keep bad traits at bay.
3. AVOID TOXINS
Our body absorbs any products we use through the skin. So what we use ON our body is as important as what we put IN our body.
While we need to maintain a proper diet, making sure to eat all whole food natural food, we also need to reduce, and eventually avoid completely, all chemical-laden products we use as beauty treatments or moisturising creams.
In the long term toxins can contribute to a myriad of diseases or allergies.
Try to buy 100% natural products for your body or make them yourself so you know exactly what you’re nourishing your skin with.
4. CUT ALCOHOL DOWN
Although a casual drink is not a crime, regular consumption of alcohol can lead to potential health issues in the long term.
Alcohol is very much like bad sugar in the body. It leads to fat accumulation, increase appetite, damage the liver, cause water retention and affect circulation negatively. In the worst cases, high alcohol consumption can lead to severe chronic diseases.
5. BALANCE YOUR HORMONES
Hormones have profound effects on our mental, physical and emotional health.
These chemical messengers help to control our appetite, weight and mood, among other things.
Unfortunately, hormonal imbalances have become increasingly common with today’s fast-paced modern lifestyle. In addition, certain hormones decline with age, and some people experience a more dramatic decrease than others.
All the above tips (exercise, a balanced whole food diet, avoiding toxins and alcohol) can all help to keep your hormones in check. In addition, getting enough sleep and maintaining gut health are also essential to establish a proper hormone balance.
These are obviously general tips that, if followed consistently, can help anybody activate those positive genes which in turn help us live a healthier life. However, everyone is different and might need more aggressive changes in their lifestyle to turn into the best version of themselves.
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