Habits and epigenetics
how what we do every day affects our DNA
Epigenetics is the branch of molecular biology that studies the modifications of our genetic makeup through environmental interactions. In other words, we inherit a genetic make-up from our parents but it is through our lifestyle that we can act decisively on our quality of life. Every action and interaction with the surrounding environment affects the genetic expression. It is for this reason that two monozygotic twins separated at birth and exposed to two different environments, develop different pathologies.
For example, two twins born in Okinawa, one of the so-called blue zones or areas with high longevity, moved to the USA, will take on a lifestyle that is consistent with its geographical location and will have a lower life expectancy than its twin brother remained in Japan.
This epiphenomenon is due to the fact that the environmental factors directly intervene on the acetylation and methylation of DNA inducing different diseases.
Methylation is a biochemical process that allows one to change the function of DNA without changing its sequence. It is a key reaction involved in the aging and carcinogenesis process.
This allows us to understand that every day we can make choices to limit this mechanism:
-eat plant-based- or almost;
– perform regular physical activity;
– limit stress through meditation, prayer, introspection;
– protect themselves from UV radiation;
– limit the sources of pollution and exposure to them (drink purified water, choose quality materials for the construction of a house, avoid food in plastic containers …)
– train brain activity;
– have a fulfilling life with an ikigai (or reason for being)
Every single action in everyday life has an impact on our health. No, it is not too late and bad habits can be turned into good habits.
How to do?
The human body needs to repeat the same activity for 62 days in order for it to acquire the habit of performing a certain action; if we want to get up early in the morning to take a walk at dawn, we will have to repeat and repeat this action and it will become a habit that we will no longer be able to do without. This change is affected by what is called “why power”, that is, because we want to make a certain change. The answer must be centered in a sincere way on ourselves without falling into the easy temptation to compare ourselves with others. On an unconscious level we would be fully aware of it and the motivation will not be enough. If instead it starts from a real “selfish” desire, the positive circle will itself be the sustenance of change.
In other words, if the goal is to start a physical activity, the motivation cannot be because I want to look like Dozen Kros. The motivation must be:
-selfish: focused on us.
I have seen miracles in patients who wanted to get into their own wedding dress or a child’s.
Another technique to change the way of thinking is by combining our thoughts with another tense time. Instead of saying “I am one who eats a lot of crap between meals”, we should say “I was a person who used to eat out of a meal, a lot of crap”. The change in conjugation time allows us to act on cognitive perception.
I love that part of the movie “the Iron lady”, in which The Iron Lady, Margharet Tahtcher says:
«Care your words that will become your actions.
Care for your actions that will become your habits.
Treat your habits that will become your character.
Care for your character that will become your destiny.
What we think we become; I think I enjoy excellent health!”
As is true! yet I do not believe that the Iron lady was also involved in epigenetics!