Without a doubt, one of the most important decisions we make on a daily basis is what we choose to eat. And we now find ourselves being strongly influenced in terms of how and why we make our food decisions by the vast panorama of recommendations in the form of books, social media, television and even advertisements at the point-of-sale.
The broad strokes favoring one recommendation over another involves the various ratios of the macronutrients including fat, carbohydrate and protein, while the notion of consuming foods rich in the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) seems to be a commonality shared amongst most popular diets.
But we now understand that focusing on macronutrient ratios and content of micronutrients represents significant myopia. The foods we choose to consume are far more than simply metabolic chemicals. Food information.
Whether your exploration of biology ended in high school you went on to get a PhD in molecular genetics, each of us was schooled in what has become known as the “central dogma”. This is the tenant that holds that there is a direct flow of information from our DNA directing the production of various proteins that ultimately play fundamental roles in human physiology.Moreover, we were all schooled in the notion that our DNA was an indelible code that would determine everything from the color of our eyes to the ability of our blood to clot. Indeed, the statement “it’s in my DNA” has been taken to mean that whatever is being referred to is a part of a person’s essence that can not be altered.
But the expression of our DNA is anything but static.Moment-to-moment specific genes are being amplified in their expression, while others are being silenced - a process that dramatically enhances our adaptability to various environmental changes to which we are exposed. The effect of extrinsic factors in changing genetic expression defines the science of epigenetics.
More importantly, it turns out that the changes in the expression of our DNA that will favor either health or disease are, to a significant degree, under our direct control. No doubt the notion that we have control of our genetic expression may well seem iconoclastic. But more importantly, the idea that our choices in terms of the foods we eat, the exercise we get, the levels of stress in our day-to-day lives, all influence the expression of our life code and should be looked upon as representing profound empowerment.
Indeed, from the perspective of harnessing the science of epigenetics for health and vitality, by making the right food choices, opens up a new and virtually uncharted vista.
About Dr. Perlmutter: David Perlmutter, M.D., is an expert in the human microbiome, a board-certified neurologist, Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, America’s brain-health expert and #1 New York Times best-selling author.
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.