We’ve all heard it a million times “you are what you eat”, and there is little argument that what you eat controls each and every cell in your body. Since eating is something we all do, it seems like a good idea to put the conversation forward: Are your genetics influenced by the foods you eat, and even more importantly, do you have the power to control how your genes are turned on or off through nutrition?
The answer is: YES.
This concept has been around for much longer than you think. In the early 1900’s Weston Price examined the link between food and degeneration, especially over the span of multiple generations. He proved that processed foods changed cranial formation and teeth growth in the generational gene pool after examining many tribal peoples all over the world. The removal of more traditional diets and healthy fats, not only led to structural problems, but brain and neurological disorders as well.
What Price was researching all those years ago, we now know as Nutrigenomics; looking at how the genetic code is affected by environmental influences, and how we have the ability to turn wellness or illness genes on or off through foods (and other lifestyle choices). If you were to hear someone say, “it’s all in my genes” it’s true, but what you don’t hear people say is, “but I have the power to control them.”
Now I’m not talking about hair color, eye color, skin color etc, these things are in the genetic code and make up your physical appearance. But lets say someone is meant to be 6 foot 5, but they were fed a horrible diet as a child- malnourished, sleep deprived, and under exercised (sound familiar?). It’s likely they wouldn’t make it to that height due to the genetic code being altered by deficiency states.
It’s the same with many of today’s epidemic diseases in the modern world like heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and obesity. In a family where both parents have diabetes type 2, some will argue there is a genetic link for their child to get diabetes type 2 when they are older. This may be partially true, and like according to Price’s work, this child’s grandparents’ diet also affected his health. In truth, if the child was fed a healthy diet devoid of simple carbohydrates and bad fats, and full of vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins (with adequate exercise) it is very unlikely that this grown adult will get diabetes, for if the gene existed, it wouldn’t be turned on. This could also lead to decreased rates of cancers and Alzheimer’s Disease, known to be triggered by metabolic issues such as diabetes. However in today’s world we see children getting type 2 diabetes, a sure sign that if we continue to eat (and stay sedentary) the way we do, gene destruction will happen at an alarming rate.
The bright side to all this is that you have the power over what you put in your body and even though you don’t know every “bad” gene in your body, you do have the say in what your genes can do. Many will disagree with me here, but I have seen all to many times that when people improve their nutritional status, their bodies become efficient, leaner, and free of disease, while their minds are calmed and bright. Even those who are what we considered “diseased”, can benefit from a clean whole foods diet, sometimes even reversing their conditions and/or optimizing their current states.
One of the best ways to get intimate with food and how it can change your genetics is GROW A GARDEN– even if it is in pots on your deck. Growing your food and teaching your children where it comes from will give you more appreciation for your body!
Take this month to educate yourself and others about the importance of healthy food, and remember you aren’t helpless to your genes.
Want to learn more about your genes, brain health and how you can make changes in your nutrition? Check out my upcoming Programs designed specifically for you!