Good genes or a healthy lifestyle – what is it that decides whether we are healthy and slim? Today we know this; our fate is anything but predetermined. Our lifestyle has a direct influence on our genes, and in turn, on our health and the aging process.
This recent discovery has revolutionised science; external influences such as nutrition, sport, stress, and much more besides, affect our DNA. It has been discovered that genes are not simply “immutable” as was originally believed, but when necessary, can be switched on and off by our bodies. The name of this new field of science studying these mechanisms is “Epigenetics”. What you eat, how often you exercise, and whether you are exposed to a great deal of stress has a direct influence on your cells and in turn, on your health, physique and the aging process. If you exercise regularly, you can alter the genes responsible for storing body fat. So if you do sport regularly, you can programme your body to “slim”.
Long telomeres, long life
Sport has even further influence on our lives because it reduces stress. Why is this important? Constant stress ages you, which most of us already suspected to be the case, but it is now also a scientifically proven fact. This is because there is a structure called a telomere at each end of a chromosome. These act as a kind of protective cap for the cells, and they become increasingly shorter with age. Eventually, the telomeres disappear completely and the cell dies. Stress accelerates this process; constant stress is the most harmful of all. This is why regular exercise and relaxation techniques are so important because they reduce stress in our everyday lives, and have a genuinely rejuvenating effect.
Nutrition is the central factor
The food we eat influences the activity of your genes strongly. A poor diet over extended periods leads to an energetic metabolism imbalance, even to the extent of developing insulin resistance, or a non-alcohol-related fatty liver, all of which have a dramatic impact on our quality of life and life expectancy. While there are also other indicators, the first signs of an imbalance in our metabolism are constant tiredness and increased abdominal fat. This is where epigenetic nutrition goes to work. It is not a “diet”, but a sustained “gene-friendly” way of eating that is easy to make part of your everyday life.
Holistic coaching on how to increase your vitality
Epigenetic nutrition complements your personal fitness training programme. It is particularly important to have your diet analysed in detail if you want to lose weight, are pre-diabetic, or suffer from diabetes, chronic tiredness or stress. Jacqueline Michaud is currently completing a course in clinical psychoneuroimmunology, which is the study of the complex interaction between the body, psyche and external factors, and offers coaching and advice on this subject.
Reading tip: Joachim Bauer, Das Gedächtnis des Körpers, Piper Verlag