Food is fuel, natural energy, and it can also help provide the tools your body requires to repair itself. We all generally know what we should be eating – more vegetables, healthy fats and protein sources – and what we should be avoiding: processed and fast food, added sugar, sodium, and toxic fats. Beyond that, there is an amazing ability to further zero in on what your individual body needs and responds well to.
If you’re eating more vegetables but the corn or bell peppers are actually inflamming your body, that would be good to know; this is where food sensitivity can be very helpful. Additionally, your genes have lots of information to offer about your potential top health risks and how to mitigate them.
Curious about why some people with high-blood pressure respond well to a low-sodium diet while others don’t? Why some develop macular degeneration, acne, depression, or diabetes even when living similar lifestyles to others? Why are some people able to drink coffee all day and sleep whereas others are so sensitive that a morning cup o’ joe can lead to insomnia? The answer may well be linked to one’s genes.
This discipline is called nutrigenomics (short for “nutritional genomics”) and examines the interaction between our diet, genes, and lifestyle choices. It originated from the Human Genome Project, which identified nearly 25,000 genes in the human body. An assertion of the nutrigenomics field is that, while genes play a role in the onset, progression and severity of certain diseases, dietary recommendations can help prevent, mitigate and potentially reverse disease. This is powerful perspective on our health!
A truly customized approach to eating which includes specific recommendations of food, exercise, and supplements based on the results of genetic testing. What might that look like?
Here’s an example: a 38-year-old female presents with low energy and acne, anxiety, and the complaint “I’m working out more but I’m not losing weight”. Upon review of her testing results, we found that the systems and areas most in need of support were cardiovascular health, brain health, and inflammation. While she doesn’t show symptoms of poor memory or a disease like Alzheimer’s at this point, knowing she’s at higher risk and discussing brain-boosting foods and supplements to incorporate was helpful to her. We also made recommendations for reducing inflammation in the body (including avoiding certain foods and ruling out food sensitivities) and for boosting her body’s detoxification (to also help with energy and acne). For her, weight loss is tied more to nutrient-dense foods rather than ‘burning off’ calories with exercise. Her genetic profile suggests she’s better suited for endurance activities (vs. power) and that she responds to training well (leading to better athletic performance, but not necessarily weight loss). This helped to reframe the role that exercise primarily plays in her life – it’s for her heart and overall wellness rather than a huge driver for weight loss.
So even if you have the family history and tendency towards diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, overweight tor obesity, macular degeneration, or other issues – you can still heavily influence whether you develop the disease, how it progresses, and how intense or severe it will be.
The beautiful aspect of a nutrigenomics program, in addition to knowing what you’re more at risk for, is that it’s not just food that can help. We look at modifying lifestyle habits and supplements you can take too. It’s a more comprehensive 3-pronged approach to influencing gene expression and structure.
Who would be a good candidate for testing? In short, everyone, even people who are generally well can benefit from knowing and potentially preventing disease. But also those who are not feeling vital and have a range of conditions, including:
- Skin issues (including acne and rashes)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Digestive disease (including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis)
- Autoimmune diseases (e.g. Hashimoto’s and rheumatoid arthritis)
- Macular degeneration
- Diabetes or blood sugar dysregulation
- Brain issues (memory, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimers)
- Weight issues
We here at One Bite believe that nutrigenomics is a game changer. With this emergent technology, we can go beyond the components of a general health and more intricately tailor a program to each individual’s needs.
While the new year generally has everyone giving up alcohol or starting a running program, what is really beneficial is figuring out what works best for you now and for the long run. Ready to see what testing and individualized support can do for you? Schedule your complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call.
Hungry to learn more about nutrigenomics first? Join our virtual classroom on Thursday, January 27th from 6:30pm-8pm.
We not only bring our stomachs to the dinner table, we bring our genes. Let’s learn how to feed ourselves properly. Now’s the time to ditch your calorie-restricted diet and design your DNA diet instead to improve your health and life!