Vail Daily column: Healthy lifestyle trumps bad genes |

Vail Daily column: Healthy lifestyle trumps bad genes

Do you worry that because your parents passed away early or because diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Type 2 Diabetes or heart disease are prevalent within your family, you too will follow in suit?

This July Fourth is a perfect time to celebrate that you now have learned you have the ability to promote healthier genes. If you were under the misconception that your genes are what they are and that you have no influence on gene activity, then you may want to think again.

According to Donald Lloyd-Jones, a cardiologists at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Department of Cardiology, “some genes lead to disease. But for most people, a healthy lifestyle trumps inherited risk.”

Regardless of family medical history, by staying active, watching what you eat and not smoking, you can greatly influence your odds of contracting many health conditions. Your lifestyle choices can make a huge difference in the quality of your life and how you age.

Via our diets, we can boost detoxification within our bodies and minimize DNA damage from environmental toxins.

In a great book recently written by Deepak Chopra and Rudy Tanzi titled “Super Genes,” Chopra states that, “You are not simply the sum total of the genes you were born with. You are the user and controller of your genes, the author of your biological story. No prospect in self-care is more exciting.”

Effect of epigenetics

This philosophy has opened the world of epigenetics, the study of heritable changes that occur without a change in the DNA sequence. Epigenetics revolves around the idea that environmental factors, such as diet, lifestyle choices, behaviors and stress can change the gene expression of people and also the health of their descendants.

One of the most effective ways to change gene expression is through diet. After you eat, the nutrients extracted from your food enter certain metabolic pathways in your body, where they are broken down into readily usable molecules.

Starting with diet

Via our diets, we can boost detoxification within our bodies and minimize DNA damage from environmental toxins. Foods such as Brussels sprouts, basil, olives, tomatoes and artichokes are all thought to be quite helpful.

Have you ever heard that people with heart disease have changed their diets? By changing the foods and nutrients we put in our bodies, many cardiologists believe that we may stand a greater chance to alter the course of the genetic disease. Studies have shown that foods such as salmon, avocado, ginger, kale, almonds and Goji berries promote the chances of enjoying a healthier heart.

If you give credence and value to such modifications to your diet, then it should not be too far off for you to believe that we can have an effect on how our genes evolve. Every cell in our bodies is communicating with other cells via genetic messages. We need to be part of the conversation.

If this subject matter interests you, then pick up a copy of “Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being.” It is a thought-provoking read.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. Contact him at and 970-328-5526.

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