Eating a healthy diet can surely affect how well you fit into your clothes, however, do our bodies respond differently to specific nutrients based on our genes? A new science called nutritional genomics studies this. Scientists are learning how the nutrients we put into our bodies affect gene expression and affect our health. Since the science of nutritional genomics is very new, little is known to provide individualized nutrition advice based on a person’s genes to prevent, delay, and treat diseases. However, experts believe that in the future, this will change.
The role of genes
We have many genes in our body that we inherit from our parents. A great deal needs to be studied about genes as lot about the different genes is still not understood. Scientists are striving to study genes and learn as much as possible about how they affect our health and behavior. You can inherit a higher tendency to develop a certain illness from your parents. For instance, lactose intolerance is seen more often in Asian populations than in Caucasian populations. This is likely due to a common genetic trait. Although it is known that traits for many health problems are inherited, a great deal more is yet to be discovered about genetics and health. Although genes are an important factor to good health, lifestyle, diet, exercise, and smoking habits certainly affect your health as well.
Food and Genes
What you eat and how much you exercise may affect your health differently depending on your genes. For example, in most women, a high intake of folate will reduce the risk for breast cancer. However, recent research also shows that a genetic variance may cause folate to increase the risk of breast cancer in a certain subset of women. Your diet may affect the complex reactions that occur in your body cells, tissues and organs. Whether you get certain diseases such as cancer or heart disease could be caused by your diet. Genetics can explain why someone who eats a healthy diet never gets heart disease, while another who eats the same diet gets heart disease at an early age. Regardless of the link between genes and food, what you eat will always matter. A healthy diet is important for everyone for many reasons. What is so interesting about nutritional genomics is that in the future, you might be able to find out what health risks you have that would be worsened and prevented by from consuming specific nutrients based on genetic testing. Then your diet can be more specifically tailored to you based on your genes to prevent those health risks from occurring.
Nada Jawahery is the Registered Dietician at Royal Bahrain Hospital and is a member of, and licensed by, the American Dietetics Association. For more information about Fresh Start, call 1724 6832 or visit www.nadajawahery.blogspot.com