The role of epigenetics in health and disease is becoming ever clearer, and I firmly believe this field of study will eventually supplant the current medical paradigm. The conventional belief has been that genes controlled their own expression and were therefore the direct cause of certain diseases. This laid the groundwork for the idea that your genes predetermined your health.
But genes are in fact NOT self-regulating.
Having “bad genes,” does not at all mean you’re doomed to suffer some inevitable fate. Genes are merely blueprints, and these blueprints are activated and controlled by something else entirely, namely their environment. This environmental information—which includes diet, toxic exposures, as well as thoughts and emotions, and more—can create more than 30,000 different variations from each blueprint, allowing for an astounding amount of leeway in modifying the expression or “read-out” of each gene!
The Power of Food as Medicine
As a result of these findings, we’re now finally seeing science alter its course to investigate the power of optimal nutrition to improve health and prevent chronic disease from occurring in the first place. To anyone who is well-versed in alternative medicine, this is simply common sense. But many are still in denial about the power each individual wields over their own health, and that preventing disease and even treating disease can be as simple as modifying your diet and lifestyle—essentially, altering the environment of your body, to provide the best, most health promoting growth medium possible for all your cells.
Part of the explanation for why food can have such a powerful influence on serious diseases such as cancer is due to its influence on a biological process called angiogenesis– the process your body uses to build blood vessels. Cancerous cells, like all other cells in your body, cannot thrive without the oxygen and nutrients supplied by your capillaries.
Excessive angiogenesis (too many blood vessels) promotes diseases such as cancer.
Most of us actually carry around microscopic cancer cell clusters in our bodies all the time. The reason why we all don’t develop cancer is because as long as your body has the ability to balance angiogenesis properly, it will prevent blood vessels from forming to feed these microscopic tumors. Trouble will only arise if, and when, the cancer cells manage to get their own blood supply, at which point they can transform from harmless to deadly.
As our ancestors intuitively understood, Nature has laced a large number of foods and herbs with naturally occurring inhibitors of angiogenesis, rendering them natural “anti-cancer medicines.” Simply by consuming these anti-angiogenetic foods you can naturally boost your body’s defense system and prevent blood vessels from forming and feeding the microscopic tumors that exist in your body at any given time.
I’ve previously written about a number of different foods found to have particularly powerful epigenetic influence, such as broccoli and resveratrol, but many researchers consider the curcumin in turmeric to have the greatest potential in combating cancer.