Carol (Missy) Cohen MPH, CHHC

Your parents ailments do not belong to you!

Relax! Your genes are not set in stone.

Just because your mother got breast cancer, or your aunt or your sister, does not mean that you will get breast cancer. Similarly, just because your father is diabetic does not mean that you will become diabetic.

What genes we express, or don’t express, are determined not by the genes that we inherited but by the choices we make that activate those genes.

It’s important to remember that the food that we eat is information to the body. The foods are broken down into molecules and it is those molecules that provide the raw material for our body. Those molecules help decide if our body stores or releases toxins, which genes get to be expressed and more.

The food that is found in a donut, for example, consists of sugar, flour, milk and a bunch of artificial flavors and colors. There is not a lot there for the body to work with. The molecules found in broccoli consist of over 100 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. These are the building blocks that the body uses and it is these molecules that keep the genes that we don’t want expressed locked up tight and the genes that we do want expressed to be exposed.

In addition, our thoughts are not just random synapses firing in our brain. Thoughts also create molecules that determine what happens in our cells and, again, which genes are turned on and which are turned off.  This is how someone who is suffering from cancer can put that cancer in remission through meditation and positive thoughts while someone who is depressed and struggling with the cancer might succumb to it much more quickly.

“A Twin Approach to Unraveling Epigenetics “ by Jordana T. Bell and Tim D. Bell looked at sets of  identical twins. By definition, identical twins share the same genes.

One such set, came from a family who suffered from heart disease. Through different diet and lifestyle choices, the identical twins had very different outcomes in what genes they express. One twin had chosen to smoke, eat processed foods, drink alcohol and use sun beds. The other twin avoided smoking and alcohol and ate whole foods provided by nature. Can you guess which twin ended up having cardiovascular disease as well as a host of other issues? Yup, the one who smoked, drank and made poor nutritional choices.

This is just one example of how eating whole foods such as nature provides, getting plenty of rest, avoiding stress as much as possible and choosing other positive lifestyle choices can lead to a dis-ease free life.

Making the right choices can make the difference between leading a healthy life and struggling with cancer, autoimmune disease and other concerns. And, if you are struggling with some affliction, it is not too late to turn those genes off and turn on ones that leave you feeling healthy, full of energy and happy.

Have you turned your health around through dietary and lifestyle choices? I’d love to hear your story!

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