Support your DNA
Maybe you’ve heard something about or have an interest in the area of DNA and genetics?
I want to share some interesting links of how the foods we eat impact what our DNA and genetics do in response to what we eat. Other impacts to our DNA and genetics include environment and lifestyle, this area is called epigenetics, I will touch on in a future blog.
Again, in the interest of space, these topics are big, so I am giving small bite sized chucks of details just to get a simple message put there. You can always find larger resources of information on these areas that really get into the deep aspects of DNA and genetics.
First, DNA - what is that? DNA is so simple yet incredibly complex. It is a structure made of just 4 chemical bases plus a sugar and a phosphate group. We are focusing on just the bases here. I’l just mention those bases as letters here for simplicity - A, T, C, G. The sequence of those 4 bases is what determines the information and thus the instructions for building and maintaining most organisms - including us. It is used just like the letters of the alphabet to create words. The order of the DNA sequences creates instructions to be read and then acted upon. Each cell in our bodies have basically the same DNA instructions and those instructions determines all of our characteristics.
So are we stuck with what we are given for DNA? Not totally. We do have some control.
These DNA instructions are very important, as damage to DNA can affect how our bodies are built from those instructions. However, we can somewhat control things that damage our DNA as well as increase the repair processes when DNA damage does occur.
What can we avoid or reduce to limit our own DNA damage?
DNA damage is a natural event in our bodies, where metabolism and oxidative stress creates free radicals and causes damage. However, our bodies are able to tackle some amount of this damage using antioxidants from our foods, etc. However, unnatural damage causing reasons such as smoking, pollution, toxins, radiation, UV light, and vehicle exhaust fumes (a great reason to not sit idle, even for 30 seconds, and breath in the accumulating exhaust). Note that some foods such as smoked and processed meats (due to nitrosamines) as well are charred meats have possible links to DNA damage.
What can we increase to improve our own DNA repair?
Plant based foods are showing to help with reduced DNA damage as well as slowing down aging due to their repair factors. These foods include fruits and veggies, especially apples, almonds, grapes, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, garlic, blueberries and green tea. Also spices look to have benefits in protecting against DNA damage, particularly turmeric, black pepper, ginger, rosemary, tarragon, and lemon balm.
It is also interesting to note that research is showing stress management by using ways to reduce stress such as mediation, being in nature, really anything that slows down your racing mind and helps you to relax and sleep, also helps to keep DNA healthy.
Your local Quality Greens is a great place to find an incredible assortment of local and fresh produce to add to your daily dose.
Have a great week!