We hear people talk about their medical conditions all the time and often say, “it’s genetic.”
It’s common to feel destined for poor health because of family history. Diseases like diabetes,
cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer all fall under this sad category of genetic
ailments. It’s true that the genes we are given from our parents come into play… but it’s not
the end all be all. We can’t change our DNA, but we can change how it functions! There’s
fascinating research on health and epigenetics that backs this up. Epigenetics is the study of
what occurs to our DNA at the cellular level. There are certain genetic markers for diseases…
The awesome part of this is the ability for certain genes to either be activated or turned off by
the lifestyle choices we make. Meaning, even if you have markers for a certain disease, it does
NOT mean that having that medical condition is an absolute. This is great news for us and for
Your lifestyle determines which genes are switched on or off! Factors such as nutrition (HUGE),
smoking, sleep, exercise, stress, chemical exposure, and immune system health all come into
play. This means we have A LOT more control over our health than just being destined to
become ill because of our genes. A healthy lifestyle trumps inherited genes.
Where to start… Nutrition and Exercise
The sooner you take on healthy habits, the better. But even if you’re already in your 60s or 70s, it
helps a lot, research shows. By exercising and following a healthy diet, people can lower their risk
of both heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Eating fruits and vegetables can “turn off” the heart
attack genes and exercise can sway the development of stem cells. With regular exercise,
stem cells can become bone and marrow cells, instead of fat cells. As little as 30 minutes of
exercise 3 times a week will change our bodies. As many studies show, people who eat more
raw fruits and vegetables have a reduced risk of heart disease, even if they carry copies of the
gene that increases one’s risk for cardiovascular disease. People who were genetically at the
very highest risk of having a heart attack (they had two copies of the specific genes associated
with heart attacks) had about double the heart risk if they ate a diet lacking in fruits and
vegetables, compared to people who ate a prudent diet.
Having a hard time getting enough fruits and vegetables?
Click Here to Learn More About Getting Raw Fruits and Veggies Everyday
We are not completely at the mercy of our genes. In many ways, they are at the mercy of our
health and lifestyle decisions and habits. Family history can be a strong predictor of disease, but
we have at least some power to change it. Making healthy lifestyle choices may not be
foolproof, but for many it could mean the difference between experiencing a significant health
issue and avoiding it. Take note of these choices and know your genes are paying attention.