Back in the 1990s, scientists began to realize that DNA was not necessarily destiny as it related to common conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Lifestyle habits and environmental influences became recognized as having a potent capacity to either activate or silence genes.
This was ground-breaking news and a game changer in the field of health and wellness where the new message transformed from one of despair over ones genetic endowment to one of empowerment -- choose a healthy lifestyle, alter genes positively and as a result, optimize your ability to decrease disease and disability. This revolutionary science was the product of years of work by dedicated scientists at the Human Epigenome Project, a public/private collaboration by members of the multinational Human Epigenome Consortium.
The genome comprises the entire load of our hereditary information, and is packaged in our DNA which contains countless stretches of genes that are either fairly immutable (e.g., height, eye color) or are flexible (e.g., you have the potential to become obese or diabetic, or develop heart disease). For years geneticists have concerned themselves with what is happening inside the gene to affect our lives. The epigenome involves what is going on epi around the gene to influence its expression.
Surrounding each gene are proteins called histones. New research has revealed that histones are actually the script writers for the gene, monitoring your actions, wrapping around each gene and writing a script of instructions for it to follow. Histones are influenced by every thought (toxic stress vs calm meditation), mouthful (junk food vs healthy food) and step (couch potato vs regular walker) we take. Each action causes the histones to alter how that gene will speak to the rest of the body (genetic expression). Positive, productive changes are induced through a process called methylation in which methyl (CH3) groups are added to the DNA by some action you choose to do (for example, eating broccoli instead of a cheeseburger). This results in either a partial or complete quieting of a gene that would normally have left you with a high risk for a negative health outcome, such as cancer, for instance.
Dont worry too much about the science details. Just remember that methyl groups are your new best friend and you need to do whatever it takes to keep methylating your genes. Which brings us to why everyone needs to focus on Sanitas Per Escam (SPE), or health through food.
Not surprisingly, methyl donors are certainly not found in refined and processed food products. Rather, theyre richly represented in whole foods. Heres a sampling:
Sesame seeds, brazil nuts, fish, peppers, spinach
Leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, baker's yeast, liver
Meat, liver, shellfish, milk
Meats, whole grain products, vegetables, nuts
Egg yolks, liver, soy, cooked beef, chicken, veal and turkey
Wheat, spinach, shellfish, and sugar beets
Soy, soy products
A compound produced in the intestine when dietary fiber is fermented
Diallyl sulphide (DADS)
This new science helps you reframe your entire relationship with food. Sure, youll be getting wonderful vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, as well as water and fiber. Yes, the lean protein is great to build and maintain your muscles. But now, as you shop for groceries, suddenly theres another extraordinary benefit--- youre making your histones happy, producing gifted genes that lead to lively longevity. This is SPE in action!
Another side benefit to living the SPE way is to fall in love with cooking. You cannot rely upon dashboard dining and grab n go junk food for your sustenance if you want happy histones. Consuming processed food leads to self-destructive genetic expression. Instead, hop back into the kitchen and make room for three bean soups, colorful salads, and savory meats and fish. Whether vegetarian or flexitarian, prepare your foods with loving care and envision your genes directing a stronger immune system, as well as better blood sugar and cholesterol control.
Further, if you add moderate regular physical activity, like walking, youll further quiet destructive genes. Research has shown that simply walking an accrued 30-45 minutes per day can dampen the most powerful obesity gene in humans by 40%. Add healthy nutrition and suddenly DNA is no longer destiny. Your lifestyle choices are. Remember that:
Genetics may load the gun, but environment and lifestyle pull the (epigenetic) trigger.
Indeed, you are what you eatwith an epigenetic twist. Make the greens and genes connection. Live a life of health through food, keep your histones happy, and your genes on a mission of wellness. Bon appetite!
Read more at SPECertified.com