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Feed Your Genes: How to Prevent Hereditary Diseases

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Feed Your Genes: How to Prevent Hereditary Diseases

By Jack Challem, Experience Life

When people say things like “Heart disease runs in my family,” and “My parents had cancer, so I’m afraid I will, too,” it confirms our suspicions that DNA is destiny. The truth, however, is that it doesn’t have to be: The DNA we inherited from our parents does not necessarily determine our fate. In fact, we can modify the behavior of our DNA and genes in striking ways.

Certainly, we are all born with a set of genetic strengths and vulnerabilities, but we can bring out the best or worst in our genetic predispositions based on the nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices we make. The payoff for playing our hand of genetic cards well is better health and, potentially, a longer life. The cost of playing that hand badly, on the other hand, can be high: We may suffer the early symptoms of health problems we would otherwise have staved off until very old age; we may contract diseases we could have avoided altogether.

We all inherit variations in our genes that make us uniquely who we are. Unfortunately, some of these variations hinder our genes’ ability to do their intended jobs. Such hindrances ultimately increase our susceptibility to disease. Furthermore, as we age, our DNA and genes get damaged (mutated), which also leads to a higher risk of disease. We can’t stop the accumulation of genetic damage or the aging process, but we can slow it down and increase our resistance to illness.

Little by little, scientists have gained a clearer idea of how nutrition influences our genes. This has given rise to a new scientific field called nutrigenomics. Over the past 10 years, nutrigenomic experts have made quantum leaps in understanding how nutrients — what we eat or don’t eat — may affect our genes. The research has shown that whether we’ve inherited good genes or bad, nutrition can improve their performance. Poor nutrition and lifestyle habits, meanwhile, can predispose our genes to be on their very worst behavior.

Next: When heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer run in your family

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Megan, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

23 comments

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2:18AM PST on Nov 20, 2013

I would not take seriously the claims of a "past member" who no longer has an account (possible spammer?) without some sort of citation to a survey.

8:31PM PST on Nov 12, 2010

interesting

7:18AM PDT on May 13, 2010

very interesting read thanks

5:22PM PST on Mar 13, 2010

Great article!

5:59AM PST on Nov 22, 2009

Adam R.......Great info. Although it will not help those in a 3rd world country who could not even begin to understand the genetics behind the sprial ladder.

Plant & protect trees for life.............

11:25PM PST on Nov 21, 2009

If the semen is properly preserved by the husband till marriage and if the wife has regular menstruation for at least seven times before conception and if the couple takes acupressure treatment for at least three or four months before the child is conceived, the possibility of hereditary diseases can be reduced to a minimum.


r4i software

1:27PM PST on Nov 21, 2009

Great article !!!

8:11PM PST on Nov 20, 2009

My mom suffered from high B.P when she was 24yrs old she had lot of problems & complications .I was worried I will get the same so I was trying to keep myself fit with walking,yoga etc but suddenly at the age of 42 I started suffering from B.P. Maybe because of sedentary lifestyle no Idea . what to say ?

1:12PM PST on Nov 20, 2009

Candace C.: It has nothing to do with luck! YOU have decided to change your destiny and it seems you have been successful. I hate when people attribute hard work to luck. I am sure this wasn't easy for you to change and be different in your family. I get the same thing in my "fat" family--I was lucky. Luck has nothing to do with my slim body. I started exercising and dieting when I was in my 20s. My reward for that hard work is a slim, toned body at 59 years old. Sounds like your reward is a healthy body. Keep it up and never let people tell you you are lucky!!!

12:53PM PST on Nov 20, 2009

I have always been telling people that its not that genes determine if we will have cancer, heart disease, or the like, but rather our poor lifestyles that make our weaknesses become exacerbated. Our bodies are equipped with nearly everything they need to heal themselves and can compensate for any deficiencies. But they can only do this if our bodies our running in good condition and they have all the necessary nutrients and materials required to repair any damage. Without the materials and resources, our bodies are left with no option but to wither.

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