What is your diet trying to tell you? As rates of chronic disease in the U.S. reach an all-time high, many Americans are questioning what’s causing the sharp incline: Is poor health an evolutionary glitch? Are chronic diseases genetically inescapable? While genetics certainly play an impactful role, granting every person an assortment of genes that make us more or less prone to certain conditions, research shows a healthy diet is capable of overriding inherited traits to modulate gene expression.1 Paired with consistent health check-ins, the battle against long-term illness could be well-fought with the simple power of dietary changes.
Your Immune System is… Where?
The key to better health begins with strong immunity. A high-functioning immune system not only fights short-term infections; it is also a significant indicator of your body’s ability to prevent chronic disease, especially as you age. While everyone inherits innate immune functioning, recent research shows an astounding 70 percent of the body’s immune system exists within the gut.2
How do you positively influence the immune system’s hypothetical majority speaker? The goal is to create an environment of microbial diversity,2 which you can accomplish by eating a diet high in a wide variety of nutrient-dense plant foods. If your gut could speak, it would thank you every time you prioritized consuming fruits and vegetables to support its ultimate goal – to keep you healthy and happy. In contrast, a diet centered around processed foods, sugar and saturated fats will upset a thriving microbiome, resulting in less gut diversity and a weakened immune system.2
A Healthy Diet = A Diverse Microbiome
Although “macro”, or macronutrient, tracking has made waves in the health and fitness industries, a diet that truly promotes optimal health and longevity is more complex than predetermined grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats. In truth, your body demands consistent absorption of micronutrients and polyphenols to fight and prevent disease. Plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds will never become a dietary fad for a deep-seated, biological reason: They offer expansive profiles of bioactive phytochemicals which modify your DNA, repairing damage and turning specific genes “on” or “off” to prevent disease.3 So while it may be helpful to listen to health and fitness hashtaggers promoting adequate macronutrient counts, micronutrients remain an essential component of any health-oriented diet.
Other Lifestyle Factors
Do you have specific diseases that seem to run in your family? If eating a diverse profile of micronutrients had the potential to turn those diseases “off,” would you do it? As research uncovers more about the influence of micronutrients in proper DNA functioning, it also expands opportunities for natural, accessible wellness. Armed with the information that a change in diet can effectively break a cycle of “generational” diseases, patients gain the power to take initiative when they’re ready from a starting point they’re comfortable with.
Despite the science-backed power of plant foods, shifting dietary patterns is not an entirely foolproof plan for disease prevention. Lifestyle factors like mental wellbeing, activity levels, exposure to toxic chemicals and proximity to healthcare providers also play significant roles in our health and can often be beyond our control.
Accessible Healthcare + A Healthy Diet
Luckily, health checkups are becoming more accessible for those struggling with proximity to providers. Mobile healthcare platforms like Haled Care are bringing the expertise of healthcare professionals directly to patients’ homes, offering services available from any digital device. When health service companies partner with Haled Care, they join the fight against chronic disease by catching red-flag markers at early onset, contributing to a safer, healthier population.
When mobile healthcare screenings are paired with a healthy diet, patients gain a strong sense of control over the trajectory of their health. Rather than allow symptoms to progress, patients can directly influence the strength of their immune system, positively modify their DNA and remain proactive in disease prevention. For most Americans, the first step to achieving such remarkable feats is a simple adage: Eat your fruits and vegetables.