July 23, 2011
We as humans see patterns in our heredity; susceptibilities in our bodies; and expect that at a future time, we'll have to confront the ailments that we fear. We feel vulnerable and helpless to weaknesses in our genes. But what if you were told it's not quite that simple? What if you were empowered with the knowledge to alter your genes in a way that enables you to fight the onset of obesity, cancer, tumors, and other diseases?
Genetics is, of course, the study of genes. Epigenetics is a relatively new field of research. It's the science of gene expression, or things that influence the turning on and off genes. Think of it as a layer that sits on top of our genes. With its discovery, it became evident that there is more to our genetic blueprint than genes itself. What scientists have learned is that through exercise, environment, and certain foods, we actually have the ability to alter our gene expression. For example, eating specific foods can literally turn on the genes that fight cancer. Similarly, there are carcinogens which can have the opposite effect. Sugar and unhealthy fats have a negative influence on our genes. Interestingly, it is possible to pass on epigenetic traits to our children - a concept known as epigenetic inheritance.
Below is a list of some food sources that deliver positive epigenetic effects. Not surprisingly, most of them also appear in the Superfoods section of our website.
- Any foods rich in B vitamins
- High fiber foods
- Black/ green tea
- Resveratrol (found in grapes, red wine)
- Fisetin (found in strawberries)
- Curcumin (found in curry)
- Quercetin (found in apples, onions, tea, berries)
- Butyrate (found in butter)
The role of epigenetics is strong. There are limits to where it applies, but it can override our hard genes in profound ways. This is your ticket to fighting weight gain, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. Incorporate these foods into your everyday diet, as well as a good exercise routine. If you can do this while limiting the opposing effects of carcinogens and sugar, your body will thank you for it!