5 Daily Habits that Can Damage Your DNA

Your DNA is not stagnant. New research shows that your habits and environment can actually change your gene expression, affecting which genes turn on or off during your lifetime.

Daily habits can turn genes on or off. Certain healthy habits, for instance, can turn on good genes and turn off bad genes, lowering your risk of disease. Some bad habits, on the other hand, turn on bad genes and turn off good ones, making you more prone to disease.

More surprisingly, you can pass off some of the DNA damage that occurs due to poor habits to your children and even to your grandchildren. Clearly, habits have a bigger impact than many of us realize.

These are some of the daily habits that can damage your DNA.

1. Drinking alcohol every day.

Everyone agrees that excessive drinking is bad for your health. Heavy drinkers are more likely to suffer liver disease, cirrhosis, cancer and heart disease.

Research now offers one more reason not to drink too much. A recent study found that alcohol can damage your DNA.

According to the researchers, “Alcohol damages DNA within cells and particularly in a chemical compound called acetaldehyde”. These changes increase the risk of cancer.

2. Lack of sleep.

If you thought fatigue was the only problem lack of sleep was causing you, think again. Researchers in Hong Kong say that insufficient sleep can damage your DNA and lower your body’s ability to repair DNA.

That DNA damage and lower ability to repair can increase your risk of developing diseases like cancer, according to the study.

Luckily, you can turn off those bad genes by sleeping for seven to eight hours every night. If you struggle with insomnia, use these bedtime rituals for better sleep.

3. Eating too many carbs or too few.

Eating too many carbs does more than trigger weight gain. It changes your gene expression. Research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) found that a diet with 65 percent carbs causes some genes to work overtime, which triggers inflammation.

You may think that the solution is to go on a low-carb diet, but you’d be wrong. Low-carb diets aren’t healthy, either. The study recommends getting up to 40 percent of your calories from carbs in every meal.

4. Being inactive.

Did you know that exercise produces an immediate change in DNA in inactive men and women? Interestingly, your morning cup of coffee may have the same effect, according to research.

Lack of exercise and inactivity, on the other hand, may turn off your good genes.

5. Negative thoughts.

We tend to have the same thoughts day after day. Unfortunately, some people have recurring negative thoughts, which harm their health at the DNA level.

Negative thoughts have an impact on components of DNA called telomeres. One study found that women who had high mind wandering had shorter telomeres. Short telomeres speed up the aging process and increase your risk of cancer. Mind wandering has also been linked to unhappiness.

Do you know other habits that damage DNA? 

Image via Getty

46 comments

Shae Lee
Shae Lee24 days ago

Thank you for posting

SEND
Tabot T
Tabot T26 days ago

Thanks for sharing!

SEND
Glennis W
Glennis Whitney26 days ago

Thank you for caring and sharing

SEND
Glennis W
Glennis Whitney26 days ago

Informative Thank you for caring and sharing

SEND
Glennis W
Glennis Whitney26 days ago

Great info Thank you for caring and sharing

SEND
Glennis W
Glennis Whitney26 days ago

Interesting Thank you for caring and sharing

SEND
Kathy K
Kathy K27 days ago

Thanks.

SEND
Ben O
Ben O27 days ago

Thanks for the info...

SEND
Ruth S
Ruth S27 days ago

Thanks.

SEND
Ruth S
Ruth S27 days ago

Thanks.

SEND