If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give your DNA a lot of thought.
Honestly… why would you? We have so many health concerns. There’s cancer, heart disease and weight management to name just a few.
A healthy diet is usually our top concern. Plus, most of us don’t know much about our DNA anyway.
Now throw in the topic of antioxidants and then we really begin to ‘zone out.’
Why it’s important
Our DNA is important because its health determines how well you will age. If you take care of your DNA… you’ll age much more easily and gracefully.
Damage to our DNA is usually caused by something called ‘oxidative stress.’ When this happens, our bodies function less efficiently at the cellular level.
This leads to a poor health condition; making us more susceptible to diseases and illnesses.
Now the good news: There are things we can do nutritionally to slow down this damage to our DNA and allow us to live longer and healthier lives. A healthy diet is a big part of this.
How is damage to our DNA measured?
This is a great question.
Through a variety of studies and experiments, scientists and doctors can measure molecules that tell what’s happening in our bodies.
One molecule that’s been the focus of many studies is 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG). This is a biomarker of oxidative stress; and it’s measured in your urine. It is also a risk indicator for many diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
As we age, 8-OHdG levels become higher. This is not a good thing.
How much we produce and excrete through our urine is determined by what we eat in a healthy diet; also by what we expose ourselves to, such as various toxins. People living in polluted areas or who are smokers can have levels nearly double those who don’t smoke or live in polluted regions.
A Healthy Diet Protects Our DNA
Eating food rich in antioxidants and polyphenols can help prevent our bodies from creating free radicals and oxidative stress.
A healthy diet loaded in dark fruits and vegetables contain high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols. This can decrease oxidative damage to your DNA as well as decrease your risk for certain cancers.
One study had the participants increase their fruit and vegetable intake to 12 servings per day. What they found was that 8-OHdG production decreased by 57% after just two weeks.
Also, green tea is loaded with polyphenols and very effective at reducing your 8-OHdG levels.
In one study, participants drinking four cups of green tea per day decreased urinary 8-OHdG by 31 percent. If green tea isn’t your ‘thing’, you can get these same polyphenols benefits with supplements and extracts.
An excellent source for this is found in Prograde Nutrition’s Longevity.
Our DNA is one of those things you never hear about and generally never think about. And whether it’s healthy or not is usually way off almost everyone’s radar.
However, much of what we eat, how we live our life and what we expose ourselves to can influence our overall health even though the day to day effects of it all are not noticed.
A healthy diet that includes generous amounts of fruits and vegetables; limiting exposure to obvious toxins; and supplementing your diet with antioxidant-rich nutrients and polyphenols is doing your part to maintain the health of your internal body systems every day.