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Our health is in our hands – what science has to say about it

author: TERESA MAJEWSKA

Pic. Teresa Majewska

Do you know that „what you had for dinner today somehow found its way into your genotype”?

​According to Wikipedia, the genotype is a given individual’s set of genes that govern their hereditary properties. The aforementioned revolutionary claim was made by Rudolf Jaenisch – a stem cell researcher from Boston, who concedes that “we still don’t know how this happens”.

Finding this “how” comprises the basic study matter of epigenetics, which study extra-genetic heredity. Epigenetics show thatour wellbeing is affected by:

  • our experiences and nutrition in our mother’s womb
  • upbringing
  • love
  • climate
  • food
  • physical activity
  • the use of certain drugs
  • traumatic experiences, and
  • the often mundane decisions of our daily lives.

Our growth potential changes as our body grows, not only in the embryo phase, but in its lifelong dynamic reactions to its surroundings. And up to a very late age we are able to affect, and we do affect it, both in both a positive and detrimental way.

Bearing in mind horrifying statistics and WHO reports, do we stand a chance of having a long life of physical and mental prowess, as well as a positive mental outlook and general feeling of satisfaction? Just how much can we do to avoid serious illness, and if need be – overcome it?

The world of modern science and medicine seeks answers in pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and surgeries. According to the American Center for Disease Control, our healthcare system has at its disposal a meager 10 percent of the available factors that determine the health of modern populations. Most of us still put our lives and the responsibility for them in the hands of doctors.

The immense influence of your everyday decisions on your health

We rarely appreciate just how much of an influence the decisions we make every day have on our wellbeing. As it turns out, lifestyle, mental state, dietary habits and the condition of our surrounding, including the quality of our food (according to the American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) make up for a total of 74 percent of the factors that determine our health!

In light of the latest research regarding the control of genetic expression, genetic diseases express themselves in only part of the group of people carrying the gene related to them. And it only happens in a favorable environment.Lifestyle, including eating habits, can not only inhibit the onset of the illness, but may keep the illness from expressing, in spite of the gene being present.

In the case of caner – the second cause of death after cardiovascular illnesses, genes determine only 2-3 percent of the whole risk of the illness.

The graph above clearly shows that we have an impact on a vast majority of factors that determine our health. The trick is to make them work for us, not against us.

The important everyday decisions we make:

  • choosing to take the stairs or the elevator, the bike or the car,
  • where we shop,
  • what we eat and where,
  • where we work,
  • how we spend our free time,
  • how we bring our passions to life,
  • where we live,
  • how we deal with problems,
  • how we build relationships with others
  • affect our health and the health of our children – even if we don’t have any yet!

Epigeneticists stress that our decisions (as well as the decisions made by our parents) determine the direction our genotype takes, as well as the genotypes of our children and grandchildren.

Therefore, optimizing our lifestyle is crucial to people with genetic and epigenetic risk factors, who by consciously making advantageous everyday decisions, can reprogram their genotype onto the right path – that to health.

I hope that this post has inspired you to consider the decisions you make every day, and whether they affect your health in a positive or negative way. Maybe, you’ll come to the conclusion that you’d like to change something in your eating habits or exercise regime? I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! Remember, even the slightest step counts, because with each you get closer to having good health for years.

Want to learn more or get in touch with a specialist?

If you’d like to make an appointment for a visit with the author of the article, Ms. Teresa Majewska, psycho-dietician and Traditional Chinese Medicine dietician, you can find more information about her as well as her contact information here: Mrs. Teresa Majewska

If you would like to research the sources used in writing this article, you will find them below:

  • Lin B.-H., Guthrie J. and Frazao E.,: Nutrient Contribution of Food Away from Home,
  • E. Frazao, Americas Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences, Economic Research Service,
  • Information plus. Nutrition: a key to good health,
  • Campbell Colin T. and Thomas M. Campbell II “Contemporary dietary rules”,
  • Paul Pitchford „Healing with whole food”,
  • Thich Chat Hanh dr Lilian Cheung “Conscious eating, conscious life”

The information provided in the article is not written by a doctor and does not constitute medical advice. Any and all suggestions that are provided are informative by nature and should not be treated as substitutes for individual diagnosis and individually assigned treatment.

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