Our environments, stress, food, exercise, genetics, and emotional well being all impact our health. Exploring family history can provide insight and perspective into conditions that have affected your lineage. Empower yourself with the knowledge of your genetics and ancestral lifestyles to help personalize your health care.
Technological advances have put genetics and family history into the forefront of progressive health care treatments. Being able to decode and analyze individual DNA markers have opened the door to a whole new world of treatment and prevention options. Having access to what diseases you and your family are pre-disposed to has tremendous value. It’s even easy to submit saliva tests (i.e. 23andMe) for an analysis of your history. This can make strategizing with your healthcare provider much more effective.
Information is a great start, but evidence still indicates what we do on a regular basis has the most impact on our health. Modern day environments make it challenging to get enough of exercise, eat real whole foods, and live fulfilling stress free lives. Our genes have the ability to adapt over time, but day to day living has changed so drastically over the last few decades. The vast majority of Americans eat diets comprised of highly processed foods loaded with sugars, additives, and chemicals. As a country we sit more on average than at any time during our history. Technology has revolutionized the way we do everything. In addition we are reporting higher amounts of stress than ever before.
We have the ability to either turn on or off genetic predispositions. Do as much as you can to set yourself up for a healthy life. Although nobody is bulletproof, we have a lot of control over long term health outcomes. Start by eliminating processed foods and getting more exercise. Do your best to balance your professional and personal relationships so they bring you joy and happiness. Take steps to slow down, reduce stress, and live in gratitude for what you have. Just because your ancestors all had heart disease or cancer, doesn’t mean you have to. We have the power to prevent, and in many cases reverse, the chronic conditions that have been triggered.
With a little time and effort you can gather valuable information that will help you put together a system of personal healthcare. Find out what illnesses and conditions previous generations in your family have dealt with. Go a few steps further and track down where your ancestors are from (ancestry.com). Our ancestors ate a limited, seasonal based diet based on what was immediately available to them. In addition, they mostly had physical jobs that required a lot of hands on work (the gym wasn’t necessary…). Explore how generations of your family lived before modern technology changed the game. You may find a dietary and lifestyle roadmap from your past to help you with today’s challenges.