Personalized nutrition based on your DNA could hold the key to your health
Have you found that no matter which diet plan you follow, you’re unable to shift a stubborn handful of extra pounds? It may be your DNA that’s to blame. No, we’re not just making excuses – personalized nutrition plans, tailored exclusively to an individual based upon their genetic code, can provide a massive boost to health and wellness.
The old saying goes that we are what we eat, and what we consume definitely plays a role in our general health. Particular foods that long been linked to concerns, such as the knowledge that red meat dramatically enhances the risk of heart disease if eaten to excess. By investing in a personalized nutrition plan, you’ll be able to identify your body’s own triggers and react accordingly.
Naturally, this isn’t the cheapest approach to a diet plan. It’s still a comparatively young science, which means that it relies upon the skills and experience of a handful of dedicated professionals.
Also, you may not like what you learn. How would you feel if you’re informed that you’re genetically predisposed to reject alcohol and steak and that you need to take up a teetotal, vegan lifestyle?
All the same, genetic testing and personalized diet plans can produce interesting results. If you’re prepared to follow through on the advice that is provided, you’ll likely get your mind, body, and spirit into tip-top shape.
What is personalized nutrition?
A personalized nutrition plan involves sending a small sample of your DNA to a laboratory by mail. Usually, this will be a swab of saliva taken from your cheek, but in some cases, a pinprick of blood may be required. Your DNA will be analyzed, and results shared with you. Mostly, it’s a dietary equivalent of an ancestry test.
By studying your DNA, an expert can assert whether you have particular food intolerances or health risks. It will become clear if you respond poorly to specific food groups, for example, or if you have an underlying health complaint that will be aggravated by your diet.
The idea behind personalized nutrition is to devise an eating plan that keeps you in prime physical condition.
By tailoring your meals to precisely what your body wants and needs, you’ll minimize exposure to allergens or products that otherwise leave you feeling physically uncomfortable or mentally deflated.
And does it really work?
To answer this question, let us use a case study. We’re referring to Barbara Stewart-Knox, a psychology lecturer at the University of Bradford. Professor Stewart-Knox sent a DNA sample to a Norway-based personalized nutrition service and put the recommendations they provided based on the results into action.
Professor Stewart-Knox’s DNA suggested she was susceptible to heart issues and high cholesterol. These were likely hereditary concerns, passed down from a parent. The good news is, these concerns can be managed if approached with an open mind and a determination to make changes to our lifestyle.
In the case of Professor Stewart-Knox, she drastically reduced her alcohol intake and began using B-vitamin supplements. This was due to an understanding that her genetic code struggled to create these vitamins organically, and that she was not absorbing enough nutrition from her food.
Perhaps the most significant change for Professor Stewart-Knox was a switch to vegetarianism. Concerns over her cholesterol meant that she had to turn her back on red meat. This foodstuff contains substantial quantities of LDL cholesterol, which is colloquially referred to as ‘bad cholesterol.’
These changes definitely had an impact on Professor Stewart-Knox. Further readings from healthcare professionals suggest that her cholesterol levels are back in the safe range. In theory, this means that you’ll remain healthy for longer and live a full and active life.
Life can always toss a curveball our way, so it’s up to you if you consider this case study to be compelling enough to consider a personalized nutrition plan for yourself. By doing so, however, you’ll have a fighting chance of successfully sidestepping avoidable disease.
Also, remember that your DNA is precisely that – yours. There is no way to know what results you’ll come back with. You may find that meat is no problem and alcohol pose no issue, but you need to watch the carbs. You may discover that sugar has little to no impact on your wellbeing, but you urgently need to step up your fiber intake.
You may even find that what you’re doing is working for you, and no changes are necessary! That’s careful thought, and will obviously be ideal. If you’re prepared to pay for this testing, however, it’s advisable to follow through on any results.
How do I get my own personalized nutrition diet plan?
As we have intimated several times throughout this article, personalized nutrition testing can be costly. This is unfortunate, as it’s something that everybody would benefit from – especially while young.
Learning about what the body wants and needs sooner rather than later would ease a lot of pressure on our internal organs. It could also help us to achieve everything that we’re capable of from a younger age, as we’d be in peak physical and mental condition. A healthier population would also place less burden upon the world’s healthcare systems.
A global aging population brings many challenges with it, including more need for hospital beds and medical expertise. Taking care of ourselves is the first step toward preventing this. While there is no way of knowing many people will actually follow the advice they’re given, tailored nutrition would still be a step in the right direction.
Alas, until such testing is covered by health insurance policies or public healthcare, it needs to remain a private venture. If you’re interested, have a chat with your doctor or a local pharmacy.
They will likely have a recommended service that they can point you toward. If not, take a look online. There will be no shortage of self-proclaimed experts vying for your dollars.
Now, whichever path you take, do your homework before committing to a particular testing service. Look for reviews and testimonials from trustworthy sources, and learn exactly what return you’ll get on your investment.
You’ll be looking for personalized, tailored service, not generic platitudes like, “eat less red meat, drink less alcohol and caffeine, and exercise more.” That’s self-care 101, and you don’t need to pay through the nose for such advice.
Alternatively, you could just trust your own judgment. Generally, your body will tell you exactly how it feels about what you’re eating and drinking if you’ll just listen.
Be attentive to warning signs, such as inflammation in your spine and joints. Pay attention to your energy levels and your mental clarity. If you’re experiencing peaks and drops in physical energy and attentiveness, something is not quite right with your diet.
Of course, you should also seek regular check-ups from a doctor. You wouldn’t let your car go without service for fear that it will break down, so why take that risk with your body? Unlike a car, you can’t slip into a dealership and buy a replacement, after all.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of The Sized delivered to your inbox daily.