Don’t blame bad health on your genes, look at your lifestyle, says Carole Baker from The Self Centre, Bury St Edmunds
Whilst reading my monthly copy of What Doctors Don’t Tell You magazine (a really interesting read btw!) I came across an article on treating MS naturally, which talked about the exposome. As I had never heard of this term I investigated further and it is fascinating, so I thought I would share it with you.
Your external environment including:
* the urban environment
* climate factors
* social status
* stress levels/job
How much you are exposed to contaminants like:
* air pollution
* infections (virus and bacteria)
Your diet and physical activity levels
Your internal environment:
* metabolic markers that are abnormal (blood pressure, insulin etc.)
* hormonal influences
* balance of gut micro flora
* inflammation levels
* oxidative stress.
(All of which influence the functioning of your immune system)
SO WHY IS THE EXPOSOME RELEVANT TO US. . . ?
Because, for many diseases current scientific research appears to show specific genetic causes appear to account for only 10-30 per cent of disease incidence!
This means we cannot just blame our genes for causing us to be prone to a disease, we have to look at all of these other factors which could account for 70-90 per cent of the reason we become ill.
So what are some simple changes we can make to our exposome to enable us to remain healthy into old age:
The urban environment – we are lucky in that we in Suffolk live in rural environments or small towns and we have lots of green space around us – however, if you work and commute to a big city you need to counterbalance that with more exposure to clean fresh air and nature – we know from research walking in nature is highly beneficial for mind
Education – despite the fact we don’t consider it important to learn about health. Wellbeing and nutrition as part of the national curriculum (don’t get me on my soapbox!). It has been shown that those who understand the importance and connection between diet, lifestyle and health do suffer less from disease. So until we come to our senses and teach our children relevant facts at school rather than ask them to regurgitate useless historical dates or learn algebra (only my opinion) then at least there are many informative books and websites we can learn from. There are some good links on my website.
Climate factors – the weather affects us in many ways and with more severe weather events happening more frequently globally we have to look at the causes and discover ways to help the planet, not destroy it
Social status – evidence shows us that often social status can be linked to educational attainment and also those from lower social classes tend to suffer more from chronic diseases, but if you look at many entrepreneurs there are always those that have greater gifts than being good at passing exams – wherever you start in life it is possible to be successful and happy through your own drive for personal learning and development.
Stress levels/job – shift workers have lowered immunity, those working in chemical factories are exposed to far greater levels than others, those with stressful jobs or running their own businesses can often suffer more illness. Stress literally strangles our body and disrupts our immune system – find a way to reduce your stress at work or at the very least find a way to help ease with yoga, mindfulness etc.
Community – many of the BLUE ZONES (those with a high percentage of centenarians) have shown us the power of your local community of friends, neighbours, work colleagues etc, to keep us positive, motivated and healthy – what can you do to be more involved in your village/local area?
Air pollution – if you work in a large city you need to counterbalance this with more outside countryside air and if necessary get air filters in your office. Campaign for greater standards in reducing emissions from factories and vehicles in our community.
Chemicals/pesticides – children who eat more organic foods have been shown to have lower levels of organophosphates etc, in their bloodstreams and we know that these chemicals can cause many health issues. Reduce the number of chemicals you use in your home and look at more natural cleaning products. Buy fresh food without additives, colourings and preservatives as much as possible.
Radiation – let’s really research 5G before we allow it in – mobile phone operators don’t want us to know if there is a risk to human health from their masts but strong evidence from other countries says there is – and Bruges has recently been the first European capital city to ban 5G as it failed its radiation levels testing process.
Infections (virus and bacteria) – teachers will tell you they are exposed to way more of these and therefore suffer accordingly – there are lots of ways you can help boost your immunity: many articles on my health blog, including natural antibiotics so let’s look at this further in a ‘back to school article’ in the future.
Tobacco – no comment we know its bad
Alcohol/recreational drugs – alcohol in moderation is still being argued over in terms of its benefits, and we have done this for many hundreds of years – I feel the word moderation is the key here. Drugs – no comment, we know the horror stories.
Diet and physical activity – every month I am harping on about water, fresh unadulterated foods and the importance of physical activity daily – our fast food and coach potato lifestyles are clearly on so many levels bad for us!
Metabolic markers that are abnormal (blood pressure etc.) There are many natural remedies and dietary changes that can be made to help us rebalance our internal homeostasis without having to resort to prescription drugs as our first line treatment, and the side effects these drugs often cause sends us to seek one drug after another to deal with those symptoms.
Hormonal influences – as we age our hormones change but there is also strong evidence that diet and toxins can have disruptive influences on our already fragile hormonal systems – make sure you buy meat and dairy that is free from hormones and antibiotics (something my sister who has just been to Florida was horrified to discover is common practice in USA food production).
Balance of gut micro flora – see my previous articles on feeding your gut microbiome (check out my website health blog if you missed it)
Inflammation levels and oxidative stress – both influenced by diet and exposure to toxins.
So at least the good news is there are things we can do to maintain our health and wellbeing and the fact that more research is coming out all the time is very positive – even though the information may see overwhelming and confusing the mantra is you can FIGHT it.
F Food - eat healthy
I Infections - improve your resistance
G Gut - feed your microbiome
H Hormones - balance them
T Toxins - reduce exposure
The suggestions in this article are the personal opinion of the author. Please do not take any new remedies if you are currently on any medication without the consent of your GP.
Carole Baker is founder of The Self Centre, Bury St Edmunds