Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Our Genes Do Not Dictate our Fate as Much as Lifestyle Does!

Let's talk a little about our genes and about the benefits of having a healthy lifestyle!

Dr. Dean Ornish is a professor at the University of California, San Francisco and a leading expert on illness prevention and management through making lifestyle changes. He is also the founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute that does research on these topics: 
    • heart disease reversal, 
    • turning on  genes that promote health & turning off disease genes, 
    • telomere lengthening (telomeres are the ends of chromosomes that control aging), and 
    • the slowing, stopping or reversal of the progression of early-stage prostate cancer
Phew! That's a whole lot of research. You can see why I trust the guy!

In Dr. Onish's words, "When you eat healthier, manage stress, exercise and love more your brain gets more blood flow and oxygen." More importantly though, he says, that doing these  four things helps our brains actually grow more neurons (brain cells)! Yay!

Consuming these foods can help grow more neurons:
  • Chocolate (Dark kind only)
  • Tea (Green tea in my opinion is best!)
  • Blueberries (Mmm, berries--so high in antioxidants!)
  • Alcohol (Moderate consumption-- I don't drink any because it can aggravate my condition and does not mix well with my anti-convulsant medication)
  • Stress management (Just breath and relax-- it cannot be that bad :)
  • Cannabinoids (Found in marijuana)
Consuming these things cause a decrese in neurons:
  • Saturated fat (Only comes from animal sources, with the exception of coconut oil. Coconut oil is mostly saturated fat, but that is from a plant!)
  • Sugar (It creeps up everywhere, so watch out!)
  • Nicotine (Don't smoke!)
  • Opiates (Don't do drugs!)
  • Cocaine (Don't do any drugs!)
  • Alcohol (Drinking excessively-- that includes binge drinking too, I'm sure!) 
  • Chronic stress (Do you best to relax and learn to manage it :)
Surprisingly, a healthy lifestyle slows the aging process too! Living healthily improves the blood flow (I mentioned earlier) which gives us that rosy glow,and better skin. What does that mean to me? Less wrinkles! Yes!!! Don't get me wrong, I totally believe in aging gracefully and embracing our wrinkles, but the superficial part of me still loves my skin as smooth as possible :)
Knowing that what I do religiously (on a consistent and regular basis) decreases the aging process of my body brings a huge smile to my face! :D Yes, that huge smile does wrinkle the corners of my eyes and my mouth, but as long as I get those wrinkles from smiling-- I'm OKAY with that! :D

Additionally, the increased blood flow from a living a healthier life promotes heart health, prevents cancer growth of cancerous tumors and even increases sexual potency. Doesn't it make sense?! There, now you know ;-)

Further, recent research is finding that disease-preventing genes can be turned on and genes that cause disease can be turned off! This is great news to our ears to those of us who have family history of horrible diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. You would be interested to know that my dad has diabetes, has high blood pressure and has had two strokes. With this information alone I know I am at risk, but my lifestyle turns off those genes.

Some people who don't want to improve their lifestyle because they find it too difficult (or for a wide variety of reasons) -- I am not judging here, please don't take it that way -- might say, "It's in my genes, I can't help it." After reading the strong evidence of research on disease reversal and management, however, my response to that comment is: "Genes might load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.

Making positive, healthy changes in your life today can change the way your genes are expressed tomorrow. Genes do not dictate our fate as much as lifestyle does!

Watch Dr. Ornish in this 3.5 minute TED talk!

Love, Joy, Peace and Health,


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