“The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30-50 years.”
Deepak Chopra gifted us this gem, underscoring the profound connection between our lifestyle choices and overall well-being. As we embark on this exploration of vitality and longevity, we’ll peel back the layers to reveal the secrets tucked within the fascinating realms of epigenetics, the transformative impact of compound interest on health, and the intricate dance between mind and body. Our journey isn’t just about adding years to our lives; it’s about crafting a tapestry of moments that radiate vitality and purpose.
Epigenetics: The Symphony of Genes and Lifestyle
My dear, beautiful, elegant Grandma Helen Finlay spent the last seven years of her life in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s disease, not recognizing any of her loved ones. It was tragic!! I also have a family history of cardiovascular disease on both sides, cancer, and osteoporosis, to name a few. However, I know from my studies of Epigenetics that only 5-10% of chronic diseases are caused by bad genes – the rest is all that we do to our bodies. I don’t know about you, but my health goals are to ensure that my vitality matches my longevity. Again, this is where Epigenetics comes into play.
Epigenetics is a field that I was not expecting to dive into over 12 years ago-however, my DNA mutations and the havoc they were wreaking forced me to take that deep dive. The field continues to grow- more and more research, as well as tools are becoming available for you to take care charge of your health, too.
Recent studies unfold the magic of a diet rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. It’s like conducting your gene orchestra, influencing aging-related genes. Not only that, food is now also a conditioning environment that shapes the activity of the genome and the physiology of the body. Adopting a healthy organic high vegetable, high fiber diet? Consider it your ticket to a significant downregulation of genes associated with inflammation and age-related diseases.
Expanding our understanding, ongoing research highlights the impact of lifestyle choices on DNA methylation, a key epigenetic modification. Methylation involves the addition of methyl groups to molecules which impact over 200 biochemical processes in the body, including significantly impacting DNA. Diseases that are associated with poor methylation include (but are not limited to) cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, various cancers, poor immune health, depression and anxiety, infertility and even autism spectrum disorders, and Down Syndrome.
However, this is where epigenetics comes into play–positive lifestyle changes, including diet, regular exercise, and stress management, correlate with favorable DNA methylation patterns associated with longevity. Eating foods high in B Vitamins that contain folate is very important to support Methylation. What sabotages it-eating highly processed foods that are “fortified with folic acid”. You know, all those breads and cereals that are “fortified” to support you, well, they are actually sabotaging our health and methylation pathways, because folic acid competes with folate, and folate is what is needed to support methylation. Bet you didn’t know that, right? It’s just one more reason that I suggest that people stay away from the middle aisles of the grocery store.
The Compound Interest of Health: Investing in Your Well-being
As the New Year begins, I know that budgeting, saving, and investing may be on people’s minds. I so applaud that. I have my own aspirations surrounding money and my Fiscal Portfolio. Yes, improving our fiscal health may improve our lifestyles, yet I want to encourage you to consider that compound interest also applies to your Physical health or health style.
Regular physical activity is your golden ticket. A 20-30% lower risk of major chronic diseases, including cardiovascular issues and certain cancers, awaits those who make consistent investments in their well-being. Compare that to the $5000 price tag of just one month of chemotherapy. How’s that to start off the year before your deductible is met?
Zooming in on daily habits, research unveils the power of a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and essential nutrients. This isn’t just about today’s meal; it’s an investment influencing your risk of age-related macular degeneration – a condition impacting vision in older adults. Dietary choices today become the health outcomes of tomorrow.
Venturing into the molecular playground, a study in Exercise and Sports Sciences suggests that regular exercise isn’t just about the sweat – it induces changes in mitochondrial function, contributing to increased energy production and cellular resilience. It’s like compound interest for your cellular well-being, compounding the benefits of your health investments over time.
This showcases the incredible impact of exercise as a form of mitochondrial medicine specifically for muscles. Exercise stands out in its ability to enhance both the quantity and functionality of mitochondria through diverse signaling pathways. This unique quality endows exercise with abundant therapeutic potential, making it an unparalleled form of mitochondrial medicine that is unlikely to be replicated through pharmaceutical means.
To me, exercise is a huge ROI on multiple levels as we know it also boots our endorphins, happy mood chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, as well as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF), which supports the growth of neurons. For me, exercise is one of the great ways to stave off Alzheimer’s.
Mind-Body Connection: The Power of Positive Thought Patterns
Deepak Chopra’s nugget of wisdom echoes through our exploration, emphasizing the pivotal role of our thoughts in shaping our lives. I have shared Dr. Bruce Lipton’s startling statement before: “Our thoughts change our biochemistry, which changes the behavior of our cells!” I don’t know about you, but this message motivates me daily.
The mind-body connection emerges as a powerful force in influencing overall health. Research sheds light on the wonders of mindfulness meditation. Lower cortisol levels improved sleep, pain reduction, improved mood, improved focus – might you be looking for some of these health benefits.
Expanding on this mind-body connection, a study in the field of Neuroimmunology reveals the impact of chronic stress on the immune system. In fact, there is even evidence that autism, schizophrenia, and Tourette’s syndrome may be a reflection of a specific type of immune deficiency, and its resultant impact on the immune-brain connection. Now, I realize those disorders may not be affecting you, but the bottom line is – stress is! Thus, here’s where mindfulness and yoga step in as your superheroes, mitigating the effects of stress and keeping your immune response in superhero mode.
Remember, compound interest! In this intricate tapestry of vitality and longevity, every choice is a brushstroke. Every choice we make affects our physical health – for good or bad. Epigenetics, however, allows us to change the tune of our genes, compound interest shows us the power of consistent investments, and the mind-body connection teaches us the magic of positive thought patterns.
Aligning our choices with the dance of evidence-based medical research, we aren’t just adding years – we’re creating a vibrant life. Embark on this journey with mindful choices, recognizing their profound impact on your vitality and longevity. Let’s not just be architects of our health; let’s be guardians of our own flourishing existence. Create the Vitality You Crave!