New study suggests food may play larger role in health than genetics

It was Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, who made the simple observation more than 2,000 years ago: “Let thy food be thy medicine”. And now, there seems to be a good deal of science to back him up.

An article published in the journal, Biochemical Pharmacology, presents significant findings connecting the dots between food and nutrition choices as it relates to disease prevention, treatment and reduction.

Inflammation is often the source of many common illnesses including heart disease, arthritis, allergies, obesity and even certain types of cancer. While scientists have known for some time that diet plays a role in inflammation, they have also long thought genetics significantly impacted the risks of developing these health issues.

The team of researchers who conducted this recent study now suggest that while certain conditions are in fact genetic, it’s likely not as many as we think. Specifically, chronic health problems are often a result of our environment and lifestyle habits, which affect genetic behavior altering how an individual ‘s genes respond to certain stimuli.

These changes, because they’re not inherent to the genes, means they can be prevented, treated and even reversed through particular changes in diet and lifestyle habits as well as with the help of some drugs.

Inflammation can be reduced through removing certain items from the diet such as alcohol, red meat, excessive sugar and salt, and adding in whole grains, beans and fresh fruits and vegetables, specifically those grown organically, which not only reduces the risk of contact with disease-causing pesticides and fertilizers, and genetically modified ingredients, but organic foods have an average antioxidant capacity that is 25 percent higher than non-organic options.

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Photo: SqueakyMarmot