Dis-ease is a result of the interplay between our genes and our lifestyles, or, perhaps more accurately, our “stress – styles.” We are both susceptible and resistant to a wide variety of diseases, dependent upon our genetic makeup. Researchers who study epigenetics have found, however, that most diseases occur only when susceptible people make lifestyle choices that trigger the expression of a genetic tendency. These diseases include cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes among others.
Dr. Mark Hyman, a Functional Medicine practitioner notes that “What we eat, think, or feel; exercise; stress; toxins in our environment – all of these inﬂuence our genetics.” Holistic/integrative practitioners are concerned with preventing disease through lifestyle evaluation and alteration, thus reducing the negative impact of stressful behaviors. Some of the more basic strategies we can employ to reduce both stress and the risk of serious disease include:
•Exercise – daily physical activity is mandatory. Find something you enjoy doing so it won’t be viewed as a chore. Prioritize this as you would any other self-care practice such as brushing your teeth!
•Breath! Walking in nature while being mindful of deep breathing can provide a number of benefits such as fresh air, exercise, and a respite from daily stress.
•Eat a plant-based diet and avoid processed and genetically modified “foods.”
•Drink lots of filtered water and avoid plastic bottles which leach chemicals out of plastic and into your body.
•Learn to manage stress and develop positive attitudes – this requires practice! There are many self-help books, classes, and support groups available to help with this. Remember that life is a process – stay connected to your health goals.
•Consider Wellness Paths for your health and wellness education and coaching! Call for info: 508.862.6395