Nutrition and cellular interaction is an extraordinarily complicated game.
Macronutrients, micronutrients, phytochemicals…what does it all mean? Like I said, it’s just too complicated. So, how about I just give you the facts and you trust that I’m telling you the truth? It literally takes a textbook to break it all down into the finest of terms so that we can truly understand how metabolism works.
Different foods possess specific nutrients and other bioactive components that can actually change the message expressed by our unique genes. Yes: it really DOES matter what you eat when looking for physiological changes and long-term health goals (such as living disease free).
Today, I’ll start with three things we should all be consuming.
Broccoli contains compounds called isothiocyanates that can switch on a specific gene in the liver that detoxifies cancer-causing chemicals and other toxins. Without the broccoli, this gene remains inactive and our bodies look for other detoxifiers. With the broccoli, this gene is upregulated and participates more actively in the detoxification process.
Cooked tomatoes contain compounds called lycopenes that switch off growth-promoting genes in the prostate. With cooked tomatoes in the diet, prostate cancer risk decreases; without the tomatoes, risk increases.
Fish oil (specifically DHA–a fatty acid found in fish oil) signals genes in the brain to produce a chemical that keeps Alzheimer’s disease at bay. People who take fish oil have better cognitive function as they age, relative to those who don’t take fish oil.
There are many more examples just like these of how nutrition can influence our gene expression to promote or degrade health. This emerging area of research is called nutrigenomics, and is changing our world as we know it.
Yours in Health,
Move to the beat of your own drum.