How to Eat to Improve Gene Health

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For years, we’ve believed it’s all in our genes—that a predetermined and unalterable genetic makeup would set us up for obesity, disease, and premature aging. Now, emerging research is showing that’s not the case. What we’re learning: Almost all of our genes may be influenced by the foods we eat. In the words of Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi in Super Genes (Harmony, 2015), “You’re not just the genes you were born with. You’re the user and controller of your genes, the author of your biological story. No prospect in self-care is more exciting.”

It starts with DNA, the genetic code that determines all the characteristics of a living thing. DNA is packaged into chromosomes that contain all of our genes—sections of DNA that include the instructions for making the proteins our bodies need to function. But DNA isn’t a rigid, indelible code, as was once thought. Instead, new studies are finding that nutrients in our food profoundly affect gene expression—the process by which information from a gene’s DNA sequence is translated into a substance, like a protein, that’s used in a cell’s structure or function.

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