Will your health be determined by your genetics?

Is your health going to be impacted by your nature (genetic markup) or nurture (your habits) to a larger degree? While this question doesn’t have a definite answer, and it heavily depends on each individual and their circumstances, it’s something worth wondering. After all, if it’s all about nature, then why bother adopting healthy habits? On the other hand, if it’s all about nurture, how can it be explained that many people who keep a strict diet and training regimen get ill or die sooner than some who don’t?

In this article, we will try to address whether health is about genetics or nurture to the best of our best ability.

Breast cancer is a commonly used example in this debate. BRCA (BReast CAncer gene) mutations that lead to ovarian and breast cancers are the most known cancer mutation with the largest percentage of the female population testing for defects in them. In general, the prevalence of defects in these genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) is 0.1% among the general population, while the percentage of women who will go through breast cancer is 2% of the population. That means, that the vast majority of these cancer patients did not and won’t have BRCA mutations. Most of them will not have any known defects in other genes either.

  • Some diseases, however, are purely genetic. This list demonstrates there are many birth defects that can occur before birth.
  • Some diseases are a direct result of nurture. Diabetes type 2 is associated with obesity and is a direct result of it.
  • Other diseases, we simply don’t know enough about. Parkinson’s disease is associated with alterations in genes LRKK2 and SCNA, but the truth is that the inheritance pattern is unknown.

The fact you have a predisposition for a certain disease doesn’t mean that it will eventually turn into a disease, at all. Antioxidants, whose consumption falls under the “nurture” part of the equation, will fight DNA damage. Additionally, there’s a concept called DNA methylation which essentially says that small methyl groups in the DNA molecules can actively change their sequence – in other words, your DNA changes through the progress of your life — and what’s impacting it? Truthfully, it’s all about nurture through nutrition, exercise, and sleep.

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Which food is best for my genetics?

One of the most important things you can consume is fibre. Most people, even in the richer parts of the globe, suffer from low levels of fibre, in spite of the fact it has been proven to be a direct way to prevent colon cancer and heart diseases. It has also been proved that fibre as a supplement is less effective than consuming it through food. Some great foods for fibre include beans, whole grains, berries, and apples. If you really want to start including more of these foods in your diet, you should consider ordering vegan meal kits or vegetarian meal kits, both of which are becoming more common even among the largest meal kit companies in Canada. Another important thing you should pay attention to is vitamins and minerals, which have shown direct significance in reducing the chances of autoimmune diseases. And, of course, balancing healthy fats and proteins is important as well.

If you are unable to cook yourself fresh food that contains all the nutritional elements which are important for your body, consider using meal kits that are built by nutrition experts. This way you know you’re getting a well-balanced meal without needing to calculate how much of each food group you should include. Plus, the majority of meals are really tasty and expand your cooking knowledge and let you experience ingredients you otherwise wouldn’t try.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does nature or nurture impact your health more?
How important is your diet to your health?
Which food is best for your genetics?