Our bodies are more powerful than we can possibly imagine. Have you ever heard of EPIGENETICS? It is the study of how the environment and behaviors influence gene expression. So basically, the things we do and are exposed to can cause a change in the way genes are expressed. However, no change occurs in the DNA.
Studies have shown that epigenetic changes can be passed on to other generations. Think about the implications of that. Yes. We’ve inherited our ancestors trauma genes, which is expressed, but we don’t have to continually live with their trauma, and we certainly don’t have to pass it along. What’s great about epigenetics is that we have the ability to create new, beneficial habits, which can alter our gene expression and then pass those on to future generations.
A perfect example is inflammation, which is the foundation of most illnesses. It’s responsible for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, fatty liver, endometriosis, obesity, asthma, diabetes type I and II, etc. However, with epigenetics, you can decrease the amount of inflammation in the body by creating healthy lifestyle choices.
The fact is, we inherit genes for diseases from our parents, but it doesn’t mean that those genes have to be expressed or turned on. We can have the gene for diabetes and never suffer from diabetes. We can have the gene for heart disease and never suffer from heart disease. Get the picture?
In 2013, a UCLA study found that daily meditation can deactivate NF-kB, an inflammation gene. Keep in mind, this is not magic. It’s a combination of mindfulness, muscle action and what you put into your mouth. Here are 5 things that you can do to positively influence your genes expression.
- Move your body, somehow: walk, exercise, go on hikes, dance, Zumba, whatever makes you feel good.
- Eat lots of whole foods: reduce alcohol consumption, smoking, and eating too many sugary and processed foods.
- Create meaningful connections: find a safe community of peers, spend time with others, do kind meaningful acts, be good to yourself and others.
- Adopt restorative practices: indulge in parasympathetic inducing practices like prayer, yoga, tai-chi, meditation, breathworks, and qigong.
- Talk with a Therapist or counselor: connecting with a professional is a great way to understand why you feel the way you do so you can effectively manage those feelings and emotions.
All of these can create changes in our gene expression and ultimately our future generations.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, health and wellbeing consultant and Qigong instructor. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo and more. She is the founder of Inside Outer Beauty Market, a multi-cultutal retailer curating and creating products to support the body inside and out. Visit the site at www.iobeautymarket.com