Since the discovery of genetics, scientists have worked tirelessly to see how humans can live without inherited illnesses. Indeed, certain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart diseases, Cancer, and Obesity are inheritable. However, it is possible to make lifestyle changes that can influence your genes. This is because possession of a defective gene doesn’t always mean that the individual will have the associated disease condition.
Many factors play a role in gene expression and can either enhance or reduce the effects of a defective gene. Important factors that influence the physical expression of a gene are external and internal factors.
Examples of external elements that affect genes include :
- Oxygen levels
- Diet or Nutrition
- Chemicals, drugs or mutagens
Internal factors that can affect gene expression include:
- Metabolic products
These factors determine the degree to which a defect in the gene is expressed in an individual. Some of the internal factors like gender can not be controlled. However, with lifestyle changes, you can control the external factors and influence your genes. Research companies like Wheeler Bio are advancing discoveries to see how to improve the quality of life amidst these factors.
5 Ways to Positively Impact Your Genes for a Better Body and Mind
1. Eat healthy and nutritious meals
Healthy and nutritious food are very essential for optimal growth and development. Processed foods such as baked foods contain high levels of saturated fat, sugar and empty calories. Too much consumption of processed foods has been associated with a wide range of disease conditions. Some of these conditions are heart diseases, obesity and hypertension. The consequence of consuming unhealthy meals can transcend generations. For example, studies show that the nutritional status of a parent can predispose their children to heart disease.
Dietary substances in the body can make up certain signals or markers that induce changes in the gene. It is, therefore, necessary to consume healthy organic foods like vegetables and fruits that will maintain optimal health. Remember, that you are what you eat.
2. Engage in physical activities or exercises
A sedentary lifestyle is known to predispose people to ill health. For example, people with blood clotting disorders are at a higher risk of stroke if they live sedentary lives. With regular physical activity or exercise, you can increase longevity by preventing chronic diseases.
Scientists from the University of Copenhagen have found out that the advantages of exercise result from modifications to the structure of the human DNA. To hack your genes into positively impacting your body, be sure to exercise regularly. If your work requires less movement, then you should consciously make an effort to exercise. Take a walk, jog or run, sometimes, use the stairs instead of the elevators.
3. Give chance for meditation
The process of meditation has lived through centuries and still finds relevance today. Meditation is a practice whereby a person tries to focus on the mind to achieve a relaxed or tranquil state. It is a way to steer away from cluttered thoughts or stay calm during periods of stress.
Exposure to stress can cause DNA modification. This may distort the expression of genes and consequently contribute to diseased states. To prevent or control stress, meditation can come in handy. Fortunately, the process of meditation doesn’t require you to spend too much.
Here’s how you can practice meditation:
- Find a quiet place void of any distraction.
- Sit or lie still in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes or choose a spot to focus your gaze on.
- Focus on your breathing. Note how you breathe in and out. Try not to control your breath, simply breathe as you normally would.
- If you feel your mind wandering to other thoughts, you should return your focus to your breathing.
- Maintain this position and process for some minutes. Also, try it for longer periods.
Research has shown that meditation reduces anxiety, lowers blood pressure and heart rate and improves blood circulation.
4. Sleep adequately
Adequate sleep will help you relieve stress, improve your memory and boost your immune system. Sleep deprivation will cause your body not to function optimally and predispose you to diseases.
5. Live in a healthy environment
Your immediate environment can negatively affect your health if it exposes you to harmful conditions. As already mentioned, oxygen levels, chemicals and temperature can affect gene expression. You should ensure that your immediate environment is not polluted in any way. Live away from industries and factories that emit carbon dioxide. Avoid exposure to radioactivity as often as you can.
Though our genes dictate our body function, it is possible to positively influence them so that we can live healthily. There are external and internal factors that affect gene expression in us. Impacting these factors through a positive and healthy lifestyle can help us control some genetic diseases.