Integrative Health Blog

The Epigenetic Language of Food

Posted by NIHA Staff on Wed, Jan 31, 2018

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When you eat a vegetable or animal, your body is listening to the epigenetic messages of its life, which are shaped by where it was raised and how it lived. Your body uses this information for its own health. This is one of the many reasons why the food you eat is so important. Every living organism contains epigenetic messages.

Food Sourcing for Healthy Epigenetics

If we put garlic in hot oil right away, we destroy its ability to produce allicin, an important cancer-fighting compound. But if you chop it up and set it aside for 10 minutes, the garlic makes an abundant amount of allicin. And better yet, once it forms, it is not destroyed by later cooking or heating.

There are many ways you can influence the epigenetics of your food such as:

  • Eat food that’s organically grown with natural farming practices.

    Plant based food should come from natural soil that contains a natural microbiome, free from pesticides and other chemicals. The growing plants should be nourished by insects, sunlight, fresh air and carbon dioxide. Naturally grown plants will pass along healthy epigenetic messages and nutrients to animals that eat them.

    You may see the largest, most perfectly shaped fruits and vegetables in the grocery store. But the reality is that this is not how nature prepares them, and the epigenetic messages they contain are not as compatible with our bodies as produce grown naturally. Pick the irregular shaped tomatoes and apples.

    An animal that’s raised on natural plants will have healthier epigenetics. So it’s important to eat organic meats from animals that fed on plants in natural environments, like pasture-raised chickens and cows.

  • Eat locally sourced food.

    The average vegetable on our grocery store shelves today has anywhere from 5% to 40% less mineral content than they did 50 years ago. One reason for this is how far it usually travels before it gets to the grocery store, or how it’s stored. Plants can lose 30% of their nutrients just three days after harvest. Vegetables can lose 15% to 55% of their Vitamin C within a week. Sometimes local is better than organic. I would rather eat an apple that I picked off a tree than an organic apple that came from Fiji.

  • Eat seasonally.

    The world around us functions in a cyclical manner- from the sun and moon, to a woman’s menstrual cycle, to the earth's seasons. All plants go through a similar life cycle; sprouting, leafing, flowering, fruiting and then accumulating sugars in their roots. Leafy greens grow in the spring. Broccoli and tomatoes are best in the summer. Pumpkin and other root vegetables contain large amounts of stored nutrients for fall and winter. You should avoid food that sits on grocery store shelves or comes from factories that treat it with synthetic pesticides and antibiotics to keep it edible year-round.

    We are too dependent on and trusting of what food packages say and of the companies who are making a profit by selling it to us. We seriously need to rethink our relationship to food.

    We should be less concerned about counting calories and more concerned with eating as many nutrients as we can.

The Dental-Health Connection

I am loving this book!  I am currently reading The Dental Diet by Dr. Steven Lin and am blown away by the amazing information in this book!  Dr. Lin is a dentist and the world’s first dental nutritionist. He has analyzed much of Weston A. Price’s work on our ancestral traditions, epigenetics, gut health, and the microbiome in order to develop food-based principles for a holistic health approach. Dr. Lin lays out the dietary program that can help ensure you won’t need dental fillings or cholesterol medications—and give you the resources to raise kids who develop naturally straight teeth. With our mouth as the gatekeeper of our gut, keeping our oral microbiome balanced will create a healthy body through a healthy mouth.