What is epigenetics, and why does it matter?
Epigenetics is the study of how different factors, such as nutrition, stress, and exercise, can impact our genes. It looks at how our environment can influence our genetic makeup, and how this can impact our health outcomes. By understanding how epigenetics works, we can make targeted interventions to optimize our gene expression and promote better health.
Epigenetics can also impact the health outcomes of our children and grandchildren! Studies have shown that the lifestyle choices we make can leave an imprint on our genes, which can be passed down to future generations.
A study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience found that mice that were exposed to stress during pregnancy had offspring with altered stress responses.
Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that dietary habits during pregnancy could affect the behavior and metabolism of the offspring.
This is why it's important to think about the long-term impact of our lifestyle choices on our future generations. By making healthy choices NOW that promote positive epigenetic changes, we can set our children and grandchildren up for better health outcomes.
Here are some easy tips to get you started:
Eat a healthy diet: The food we eat can have a significant impact on our gene expression. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can promote positive epigenetic changes, while consuming processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats can have the opposite effect. Try to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to ensure you're getting a range of nutrients that can promote optimal health.
Exercise regularly: Exercise is not only good for our physical health, but it can also have a positive impact on our epigenetics. Studies have shown that regular exercise can promote positive changes in gene expression, leading to improved health outcomes. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
Manage stress: Chronic stress can have a negative impact on our epigenetics, leading to changes in gene expression that can contribute to disease. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing mindfulness, yoga, or meditation, can help to promote positive epigenetic changes.
Get enough sleep: Sleep is essential for our physical and mental health, and it can also impact our epigenetics. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to negative changes in gene expression, while getting enough sleep can promote positive changes.
Avoid toxins: Exposure to toxins, such as air pollution, pesticides, and chemicals, can have a negative impact on our epigenetics. Avoiding exposure to these toxins as much as possible can help to promote positive gene expression.
If you're interested in learning more about this subject, I strongly recommend the book You Are What Your Grandparents Ate.
Schedule an appointment today to optimize your diet, movement, stress management, sleep, and toxin exposure while promoting positive epigenetic changes for yourself and generations to come!