I love the whole topic of epigenetics and how we can change our DNA simply by what we put into our mouths. I mean, this really should come as no surprise — anyone who has ever had a grandmother knows that you are what you eat. And when we look back to what our grandparents ate, it was all natural and organic.
This healthy way of eating was the norm until the 1950’s when Big Agribusiness burst onto the scene, and derailed the natural food chain. They altered and reduced whole foods into Frankenfoods and spawned the “Western diet”– with its frozen TV dinners, Tang, and Cheez Whiz.
Six decades later, where has this “modern” way of eating landed us?
According to researchers, the Western diet has done nothing but made us overweight and sick. By compromising our immune systems, triggering systemic inflammation, and stripping our guts of healthy disease fighting bacteria.
Gee, it only took them 60 years to realize this was happening? I feel like I’ve been writing about it for as long as I could hold a pencil.
Of course, it’s one thing for individuals to damage their own health by eating junk. But as scientists are delving deeper into the study of epigenetics, they’re finding that the disastrous biologic changes occurring as a result of the modern Western diet are actually getting passed down to our descendants.
Now, my definition and their definition of a modern, unhealthy diet are somewhat different. They classify it as one high in saturated fat, sodium, processed food, and simple sugar. But, as you know, saturated fat and salt aren’t the enemies they’ve been made out to be. That said, we both agree that processed foods and simple sugars are bad news. They reduce white blood cells, and increase inflammatory substances such as (IL-) 1, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF).
Evidence also shows that when there is too much sugar and unhealthy fat (i.e. the trans fats you find in processed, packaged junk) circulating in a person’s system day after day, the immune system mistakenly detects these inflammatory substances as invaders, and calls white blood cells to the rescue.
But because there is no real invader, the immune system adapts to these false alarms, and dials down its responsiveness. This is a dangerous scenario, because when a bona fide infection does come along, the immune system is not equipped to respond, and you get sick as a result.
Another problem with eating processed foods is that they can break down and weaken the intestinal walls. When the walls of the intestines become compromised, tiny perforations allow toxins to leak from the gut into the blood stream — which continues the viscous cycle of putting your immune system on high alert.
This is how eating a western diet weakens you day after day. But after years of repeated abuse, cells adapt to being lazy and weak, and actually rewrite their genetic code. And this newly re-coded genome of sickness and disease is what gets passed on.
So, how can you get out of this mess and get your diet back on track? For starters, do a clean sweep of your pantry and get rid of the processed, packaged junk dragging you — and your DNA — down.
Next, look at the list below. Commit it to memory. And follow it every day.
- Avoid sugar and simple carbohydrates — soda, sweets, breads, and pasta
- Eat plenty of lean protein and lots of fish that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Eat ample amounts vegetables and some fruits
- Eat healthful fats –nuts, avocado,macadamia nut oil, etc.
- Avoid trans fatty acids found in processed foods.
- Drink plenty of water each day.
These six simple steps will make a world of difference in your health, starting within just a few days — and continuing for years (even generations) to come.
Bottom line: If you haven’t already, it’s time to wake up and smell the broccoli…before it’s too late. Your grandchildren will thank you for leaving them a legacy of good nutrition.