by ADMIN on JULY 29, 2011
Did you know that your genes do not necessarily hold your fate?
That’s right! Although our genes are inherited and there are some things we can’t change, science is now finding that the expression of these genes (whether they are turned on or off) can be modified by our environment.
In fact, you can have an enormous influence on your future health by simply choosing the right foods.
This new field of study is called Nutrigenomics, and the findings are astonishing. You have huge control over whether you develop heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes – and you can reverse your risk as well.
So now you’re probably wondering what foods can help turn off the ‘bad’ genes. Well as you read on, you’ll realize that it’s nothing you haven’t heard before! As I go through the list, I’m going to focus on foods to include in the diet; rather than those to avoid.
Fruits and Veggies
Though science puts out conflicting nutrition information just about everyday, there’s one piece of science that has withstood the test of time: the benefits of fruits and vegetables. Produce are nature’s multivitamin, providing the body with the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed for optimal health.
Interestingly, antioxidants are the substances in plants that give them their color, aroma, and flavor. More importantly, these substances help protect the plant from UV rays, insects, and other pests – acting like a plant immune system. Just as they help plants, antioxidants support our health as well.
Antioxidants help protect our cells against free radicals, which are basically naturally-occurring oxygen molecules ‘gone bad’. They are short an electron causing them to be unstable – reacting with anything they come in contact with.
Typically, that ‘anything’ is our cells; a reaction that causes damage. Too much oxidative damage can potentially lead to cancer, internal inflammation, and other chronic diseases. Antioxidants protect us by being the first line of defense against these harmful free radicals, giving over an electron and making them stable, happy, and nonreactive.
Some antioxidants even have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
All fruits and veggies have different colors, tastes, and smells. That means that they all contain a different array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; and each one provides the body with different benefits. So when we choose to eat just a few types of fruits and veggies, we’re limiting the nourishment and advantages we’re giving our bodies.
Choose a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies and give your body the best health protection you can!
Goal: Include at least one fruit or vegetable serving with each meal and snack. Big Goal: 5-9 servings per day.
Serving: Veggies = 1/2 cup cooked, 1 cup raw; Fruit = 1 whole fruit, 1 cup chopped, 1/4 cup dried
You knew this one was coming, right? We’ve all heard it before: choose whole grains. But you know what? It’s not just about the fiber! Yes, fiber is wonderful for our bodies: helping to lower cholesterol, helping to keep you feeling full and satisfied, and helping to keep us regular. In fact, I would say fiber is like pumping iron for your colon – keeps you healthy! But let’s take a closer look at why else whole grains will help you take control of your healthy destiny.
Vitamins and Minerals. Whole grains are rich in vitamin B, which helps convert food to energy in the body. Feeling tired? Try choosing whole grains for a boost.
Antioxidants. That’s right, whole grains have them too! The antioxidants in whole grains have been shown to help reduce harmful internal inflammation, which is a process that can lead to chronic disease.
Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs). Whole grains are broken down into SCFAs in the intestines, which is the primary fuel used by the intestinal cells to stay healthy. By eating whole grains you’re improving the health of your gut, which then allows for better absorption of nutrients and better digestion.
When you choose whole grains, you’re choosing to promote and strengthen your Health Destiny.
Whole grains include: 100% whole wheat, rolled oats, brown rice, wild rice, bulgur (cracked wheat), barley (not pearled), millet, amaranth, quinoa, rye, spelt, wheat berries, and flaxseed.
Goal: Choose whole grains over refined/processed grains the majority of the time. Be sure cereals and grains have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving to ensure they’re a good choice!
Serving: 1/2 cup cooked grain; 3/4 – 1 cup cereal.
Another key nutrient that will help you control your health destiny are unsaturated mono-, poly-, and omega-3 fatty acids. These fats come primarily from plant sources and are liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats help to reduce lower harmful LDL cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke. In other words, they help turn off those ‘bad’ inflammatory genes!
Omega-3 fatty acids not only lower LDL cholesterol, but also help raise good HDL cholesterol! Benefits of omega-3’s span all the way from protection against certain cancers to prevention of heart disease, arthritis, degenerative eye disease, and high blood pressure. Although these omega’s are found in walnuts, canola oil, and flax seeds; the best source is cold water fish.
Unsaturated fats include: canola oil, olive oil, walnuts, almonds, flax oil/ground flax seeds, chia seeds, and cold water fish (tuna steak, sardines in water, blue fish, salmon, lake trout, herring, mackerel).
Goal: To replace most of your saturated and trans fat intake (fatty meats, sausage, bacon, skin on poultry, butter, cream, high fat milk, processed high fat foods) with foods that contain unsaturated fats.
Serving: Although these are all healthy foods, they also pack a big calorie punch – so go easy! Nuts: 2 oz (one shot glass full) is 150-200 calories, Oils: 1 Tbsp has 100 calories.
If given a chance to prevent and reverse diseases that that may be in you or your children’s future, would you jump at the opportunity? By simply concentrating on fitting in more of these foods, that’s exactly what you’ll do.
We all wish there was a magic pill that would make life easier and healthier; but unfortunately, there isn’t. YOU hold the power to control your current and future health. Making changes in your eating habits isn’t easy, but if you choose one goal to accomplish at a time, then you’re setting your self up for long-term success.
You CAN achieve your Best Self!