As you know I go on about eating more fruit and vegetables in your diet. Eating more raw foods is one way of getting more nutrition from your diet. Most fruit is eaten raw and then there are salads – the limit of most peoples raw vegetable experience. But other vegetables are also tasty raw and can be added to any meal or salad. Cauliflower is crisp and sweet raw and nothing like its boiled version. Then of course there is carrot either grated or cut into sticks. The white of leeks is also tasty and succulent chopped on salad. Beetroot and turnip can also be grated raw onto you salad leaves and then of course there are the herbs - parsley, basil, coriander etc.
So as you can see taking more raw foods is not difficult and you also add variety to a meal which is also important for getting a wider variety of nutrients. More fruit and vegetables are also good for your health. Just this week a report from a Canadian study showed that more fruit and vegetables in your diet can weaken the effects of faulty genes that cause illness. Healthy foods apparently modify genetic code variants that would otherwise increase the risk of heart disease. The scientists analysed DNA of 27000 people from a variety of backgrounds looked at their dietary habits in relation to heart disease.
It is not just the faulty genes that may cause heart disease that may be corrected by a healthier diet. There is a new field of epigenetics – the study of how our genes react to our behaviour, including diet and lifestyle. Epigenetics plays an important role in mediating between nutrition and the ensuing phenotypic changes throughout our life and seem to be partly responsible for biological changes that occur during aging. Recent studies indicate that because nutrition modulates epigenetic events associated with disease (e.g. cancer, diabetes) there is in theory a link between nutrition and a longer life. Nutrition has a strong impact on these epigentic processes and therefore has a role in health. Just type in google – epigenetics and nutrition for more infomation, though some of it is a bit scientific.
It now seems that what we eat affects our genes and we also inherit the affects of what our parents ate. But this need not be permanent and if a parent had heart disease or cancer and you inherit the faulty gene that causes the problem you don’t have to think that you will also inherit the illness. The problem need not be permanent. As the new study by the Canadian scientists shows, your faulty genes can be corrected by diet. It appears that we can control the health of our genes and diet can correct and control genes that are not working properly. Nutrients and bio active food components can influence epigenetic phenomena. No doubt there will be more on this in the future as more studies follow.
Once again it shows the importance of healthy nutritious food in a wide and varied diet together with a healthier lifestyle including more exercise. As I said at the beginning eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and as wide a variety as possible which you can do without much planning or changes to your existing diet. There is plenty of information on a nutrition diet and tips on how to vary your diet in my book The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book which is available totally free as a download from www.obooko.com (under heading Health and Self Improvement.)