Nutrigenomics: can the study of diet and genetics make us healthier?
Have you heard of the term nutrigenomics? Awareness of this new scientific field is slowly seeping into the mainstream and more and more people are becoming interested. Why, and what is it? How might this approach help you to live a healthier, longer life? These are important questions!
The phrase “you are what you eat” was coined in 1850; although humans have known that food plays a role in health for thousands of years. Through time, science, knowledge, and our ability to create more advanced tools has evolved. We now know the world of genetics and nutrition are intimately linked − birthing the field of nutrigenomics.
In the term nutrigenomics ‚ ‘nutri’ refers to nutrition. Genomics denotes the study of genes and how our genetic blueprint interacts with the environment and with itself. Nutrigenomics, then, refers to the discipline that connects the two. It helps to answer these questions: How do our genes and the food we eat interact? What are the potential health repercussions? How can we make better choices?
The hope or goal is to maintain or improve health by analysing an individual’s DNA − their unique genetic code − then use the findings, along with medical and other relevant information, to tailor the ideal nutrition plan and guidance.
Each person‘s genetic expression is different; we‘re unique, complex, and live very different lives. We have diverse stressors, varied food preferences, and distinctive risks of illness. Knowing what foods best suit us and which supplements will make a difference is enticing. Although the field of nutrigenomics is still young; we have some expertise already, and with time it has the potential to change how well − and how long − we live.