Heard the saying that you are what you eat? Well, according to scientists, it’s true. But it’s not that simple. Recent studies show that while we are a product of what we eat, we are also a product of what our parents and grandparents ate, too.
Why exactly are we affected by the dietary choices of our relatives? Scientists say the answer lies in epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene activity due to outside, environmental factors. These changes do not occur in the actual genetic code. Instead, they occur in the cellular material, such as enzymes and proteins, which surround DNA.
Your children and grandchildren can inherit these changes! The influence of diet and epigenetics has been shown, for example, in children born to mothers during famine, like the WWII famine in the Netherlands. These children, whose mothers faced malnutrition, had increased chances of health problems throughout their lifetimes.
The Effects of a Poor Diet
If you want to feel and look your best, your diet is the answer. A poor diet can impact your inner health and outer appearance, along with those of your descendants. Eating right can postpone aging and improve your quality of life. If you consume an unhealthy diet, however, you will find yourself at an increased risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer, among other things.
Poor dietary choices can cause your physical appearance to suffer as well. You can choose from hundreds of face creams, so-called magic potions, and anti-aging concoctions to improve your appearance, but real beauty comes from within by consuming nutrient-rich foods. Refined sugars and salt lead to puffiness, sagging, and wrinkles, while nutrient-dense foods can increase collagen production, detoxify cells, promote skin repair, and slow down aging.
And how about ‘inflammaging’? This term can be applied to chronic, low-grade inflammation that causes premature aging. Maybe we should look to the microbiome as the go-to organ for anti-aging benefits.
Lack of nutrients can negatively change the DNA environment, increasing your risk for metabolic syndrome, various diseases, and poor aging. An unhealthy diet can lead your offspring to inherit these genetic changes and experience the same internal and external health consequences.
Top Dietary Recommendations for Healthy Genes
- All foods should grow from the ground or make a sound (fish make sounds–swish!).
- Choose foods with essential fatty acids like sardines, walnuts, grass-fed beef and eggs.
- Be sure to consume power foods high in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, such as: artichokes, seaweed, berries, cucumber, sweet potatoes, pastured meats, organic butter, EVOO…
- Consume naturally fermented foods to optimize digestion. Top picks: sauerkraut and kimchi.
- Take 10,000 steps-per-day for optimal circulatory benefits–your microbiome benefits from circulation too.
- Be cautious of all topical skincare products–most contain chemicals known to disrupt your internal ecosystem.