FOOD FOR YOUR DNA
Our health is influenced by what we eat, drink and other lifestyle choices
that we make. The food that we eat have a profound influence on our health
not just today, but even many years later in our lives. Early research in
nutrition & health focused on determining the correct amount of a nutrient
necessary in the diet to prevent the manifestation of a disease.
Today with the help of advanced technology we have the ability to not only
see within the body, even within cells themselves. We are now able to
follow how nutrients really function. More importantly, this new insight
helps us to understand why having too little of these important dietary
nutrients can lead to early aging, and disease.
What is DNA?
Cells are the fundamental units of life – from which all tissues and
organs are made. Genes, found in each of the 70 trillion cells of the
body, contain the basic biological instructions for everything from eye
color to the risk of heart disease and other disorders. These
instructions, encoded in the long strands of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
hold the key to everything that happens in our body. For example - They
direct the heart cells to beat rhythmically and brain cells to store
Of the many roles the cells play in our life everyday, two of the most
• Keeping DNA safe from damage and
• Providing energy for everything we do.
But when genes and their DNA become damaged, the information becomes
garbled. Cancer can be one of the consequences. Thus, genes are considered
to be the stone of health and disease, the key to why we stay healthy or
Feeding Your DNA
Research has shown that a poor diet -- one low in antioxidants and other
important phytonutrients -- and environmental exposure to toxins, like
pesticides, cause DNA damage.
To support healthy cells and in turn the DNA; one needs an array of
vitamins and minerals, as well as other dietary components. Thus providing
all these nutrients to the cells is important and can be achieved by
eating “Whole Foods” since they contain the fullest complement of these
nutrients. Medical researchers unanimously agree that diets containing
grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and fish, are
- CEREALS & GRAINS
The most comprehensive food sources providing host of nutrients is whole
grains with the protective bran providing most of B complex vitamins and
over 60% of the minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, potassium,
iron, copper and manganese, involved in energy production and keeping the
level of offshoot free radicals at a minimum; whereas processed grain
products, such as white bread and cereals made from refined grains,
provide little protection from damage.
- FISH FATS
Fish Fats, one of the latest fads consist of the omega-3 fatty acids (also
found in nuts), are needed for cell membranes to have the correct shape
and ability to communicate.
- POWER PROTEINS
Proteins provide for repair of DNA when it is damaged; and, together with
fats, maintain the integrity of the cell membranes. Cells frequently use
proteins as messenger molecules in their communications; therefore quality
of protein; preferably animal proteins, or a combination of vegetarian and
animal protein is important.
- ANTIOXIDANTS & MEGA HEALTH
A high intake of antioxidants, like vitamin E found in the wheat germ,
vitamin C found in citrus foods, and the Carotenoids from carrots protect
the DNA against free radical damage. A range of other phytonutrients also
acts as antioxidants; these include anthocyanins from fruits like grapes
and strawberries, and catechins found in green tea and fruits like grapes.
Glutathione is another very important molecule that can destroy free
radicals, and can be obtained directly from a variety of foods, such as
broccoli, garlic and cauliflower. The mineral selenium serves to activate
the formation of this important antioxidant found in mushrooms, shrimp,
salmon, and nuts.
The other dietary components which support healthy cell functioning are
Inositol and Choline. Inositol, which helps transport signals across the
cell membrane, is found in wheat bran or brown rice, which also contains
oryzanol and ferulic acid, known to be effective antioxidants compounds.
Whereas choline is necessary to make the cell membranes, is present in
high amounts in the yolk of eggs.
Nutritional support for healthy DNA also includes adequate dietary intake
of folate and vitamin B12, since they are involved with DNA replication
and repair. Folate is found in high levels in green vegetables, grains and
eggs, and vitamin B12 can be obtained from eggs, dairy, meat and fish.
- ORGANIC FOODS
Eating organically grown and additive free food is another way to protect
the DNA since by eating organic; you minimize degradation of DNA and as
well as the exposure to pesticide residues in food, thus aids to sustain
Therefore, choose a colorful palette of foods and whenever you can, reach
for organic foods if possible. Moreover, incorporating these
health-promoting foods into your diet delightfully easy and to help you
save money, both immediately and in the long-term, by significantly
reducing health care costs. There's a real chance of extending one’s life
- by postponing the onset of diseases to which we are naturally
Dietitian currently working with Global Catering & Hospitality Services, andheri. Past experience includes - worked as junior dietitian (2 yrs) for
Jaslok Hhospital, Mumbai.
She has been writing articles for Ontrack suburbs, a local newspaper
supplement, andheri and for Novartis nutrition Newsletters.
Note: The views expressed in this
article are strictly those of the writer and 123oye does not take any
responsibility for them. Follow them at your own risk.
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