4 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Genes
Are you under the impression that your inherited genes determine how you must live the rest of your life? Have you ever blamed your parents for the body you have?
Let me ask you one more question. If you knew you could change your genes, would you?
While it’s true that we inherit our genes, it’s also true that we can change our genes! This is what’s so fascinating about epigenetics! Our genes can be switched on and off. They are not hardwired. So if you don’t like what you’ve been given, there is great news for you. You can change your genes starting today!
Here are the four main ways in which you can modify and improve your genes!
Wikipedia defines gene expression “as the process by which possession of a gene leads to the appearance in the phenotype of the corresponding character.” In lay terms, this means that the genes that make up our chromosomes are the blueprint for our development.
Additionally, our genes can be turned on and off (think of a computer or iPhone). The hardware is our genetics and the software is our epigenetics. To have a healthy body, we need both hardware and software to function. (Thanks to Dr. Richard Denison for explaining this!)
The first way to change your gene expression is through exercise.
I’m sure you know by now that exercise boosts your mood, improves your health, and makes your clothes fit. But the other amazing thing that exercise can change is our muscle and fat cells! Did your ears perk up hearing that?!
Researchers at Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden took sedentary, but healthy men, and sucked out some of their fat cells. They also measured their body composition, aerobic capacity, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other indicators of health.
And then do you know what these scientists asked these men to do? They asked them to start moving their bodies and getting their sweat on (as I like to call it). With the supervision of a trainer, these men worked out for an hour twice a week, doing spin classes and other aerobic exercises. They continued this exercise plan for 6 months.
Not surprisingly, these men lost fat, which resulted in weight loss. They also improved their blood pressure and lowered their cholesterol. All from simply moving their body intentionally and being active! If that’s not motivation to get active, I don’t know what is. 🙂
In addition, this study found that the methylation (a fancy word for the atoms and molecules that make up our DNA) reversed the genes that were previously headed for obesity and diabetes! See how amazing fitness is?!
Other studies have found that…
…A single workout altered gene DNA from unhealthy cells to healthy cells. Click to Tweet.
If you are sitting reading this article you might want to jump up and go for a brisk walk, do some pushups, sign up for a 5k or a half marathon, go for a bike ride or go to yoga tonight. You can start changing the expression of your genes through exercise to live a healthy, disease-proof life!
The color of your eyes, the color of your hair, and your body frame are passed down through generations. Your genes are a result of the lives that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents led. But only 2% of the genes you inherit cannot be changed. Only 2%! The other 98% can be changed!
This is why living a healthy lifestyle is such an important way to modify your genes. We really are a product of how we live! People used to think that heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke and other disease were hereditary (because of our genes) or growing older. But according to recent findings, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth!
The way we live our life plays a large part in determining whether we get disease or not. This is because we can live in a way that creates health, longevity, and production of healthy cells (epigenetics). Or, we can live a life of disregard that promotes sickness, disease and illness.
Each one of us has cells that can cause disease (like cancer).
Or, our daily lifestyle can condition unhealthy cells to permit cancer and disease to flourish.
We have more power over our health then we realize! This is why making healthy habits a part of our daily life is so important.
As you just read, fitness is crucial to promoting healthy epigenetics cells. Of course, it’s also a no brainer to stop smoking, which only destroys cells. And, of course, the right nutrition is paramount to a thriving and disease-free body.
What you eat can either prevent disease – including cancer – or have the opposite effect on your genes. And because what you eat changes your genes, therefore what you eat changes the genes for future generations, too!
As you probably know by now, our food system is pretty toxic. As a result, we have to be more diligent than ever to educate ourselves and learn about what we put in our body. Our food system is becoming more and more unsafe not only for our bodies, but our land, our air, and our water.
There are many ingredients in our food supply that are known carcinogens.