So often we think of our DNA as a life sentence- that the genes our parents gave us are our destiny, no matter our choices. We look at our parents and grandparents and we assume that their present is our future. However, the science of epigenetics is turning that idea on its head. We might have genes for cancer and diabetes and Alzheimer’s, but it is the actions in our lives that determine the expression of those genes.
“[DNA is] like a script. Think of Romeo and Juliet, for example. In 1936 George Cukor directed Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer in a film version. Sixty years later Baz Luhrmann directed Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in another movie version of this play. Both productions used Shakespeare’s script, yet the two movies are entirely different. Identical starting points, different outcomes.” ―Nessa Carey, The Epigenetics Revolution
This concept is proven when you look at identical twins, who have the same genetic make-up, but different medical histories. At the moment of conception, the health status of our parents will affect the expression of our genes. Throughout our childhood, everything from the food we ate to the air we breathed affect the interpretation of our DNA.
Here are a few ways we can influence our genes in a positive way:
- Eating whole, minimally processed foods
- Moving our bodies daily
- Getting adjusted regularly
- Minimizing our exposure to environmental toxins
We can’t prevent every illness with epigenetics, but by living a healthy lifestyle we give our bodies their best chance!