I have a friend who has high cholesterol. “It is my genes. My dad also had high cholesterol,” he says. Many of us feel trapped by our genes. We feel that our fate is sealed because of the genes we have inherited. We have this feeling that we have ticking time bombs in our bodies that we are helpless to control. Here are four things you need to know:
1. Genes have to “express” themselves
One way to understand genes is think of them as if they are “computer programs”. Just like computer programs can do nothing unless they are “run”, genes are also dormant until they “express” themselves. Just because you inherited a bad gene does not mean that it has to express itself. Without this happening the gene has no direct influence on your health.
2. You inherit more than your genes
How much of my friend’s high cholesterol is attributable to the genes he inherited? One thing that we often overlook is that we inherit more than our genes from our parents. We inherit our food habits and life-style habits from our parents too. A large portion of my friend’s high cholesterol is likely a result of the food habits and life-style habits that he has inherited from his dad, rather than his genes. The amount of sugar and fried food he eats and the way he manages stress may be things he has learnt from his dad, and this may be a bigger influence on his cholesterol than the genes he got from his dad.
3. Food and Stress influence gene expression
A diet rich in animal protein can trigger the expression of genes that are predisposed to cause cancer. Stress also plays similar role. It can influence the triggering of expression of many bad genes that otherwise may remain dormant. If you are worried about the genes you have inherited, then the best way you can control your fate is to eat organic, eat healthy, and control stress levels by doing yoga.
4. You can take charge of your fate
The key message of this post is that you are not a prisoner of your genes. Habits may have a bigger influence on your life than your genes. The food you eat, the way you cook it, the lifestyle choices you make, all have a tremendous influence on your life, and all these are controlled by habits, some of which you may have got from your parents. So while you cannot change your genes you can change your habits, and by doing so you would have taken charge of your fate.
Related: Six Ways Yoga Heals