Methylation and DNA Methylation are biochemical processes that have a significant effect on our health, especially as we age and this article will help you understand:
- more about these processes
- how important they are to our health
- how by eating certain foods and swapping out other foods we have the power to influence our DNA methylation and hence influence our gene expression ( epigenetics) which can help healthy ageing over our lifespan.
What is Methylation?
Methylation is a biochemical process that happens in our bodies within every cell all of the time and helps regulate the activity of our
- reproductive and
- detoxification systems.
So for example, Methylation helps us get rid of toxins, it helps us make neurotransmitters for learning and brain health ,it allows us to metabolise oestrogen and to make energy for muscles.
DNA Methylation specifically refers to the biochemical process of adding or removing methyl groups ( stay with me) that support your good genes, ensuring they are generally turned on ( for example those that suppress tumour growth) and that our bad genes (for example inflammation drivers) are generally turned off by eating certain foods and adopting certain lifestyle practises.
Research in this area shows we are able to influence the way our genes are expressed so rather than allowing them to “dictate our fate”, if we give our body more of what it needs by focusing on key foods and lifestyle strategies it is possible to live longer BETTER!
3 Key Ways to Reduce Bio Age and Live Longer
Dr Kara Fitzgerald, Functional Medicine Practitioner in her book “Younger You- Reduce your Bio Age and Live Longer, Better” identifies the following 3 components:
1. Methyl Donors – the ingredients of DNA methylation
2. DNA methylation adaptogens – foods that regulate DNA methylation and help make sure that methyl donors get used in the right amounts in the right places
3. Lifestyle practises that support healthy DNA methylation from sleep, exercise and relaxation.
Where to start ?
AN INTENSIVE YOUNGER YOU PROGRAMME ( 8 WEEKS) recommended if
- you are dealing with a chronic condition and want a diet and lifestyle strategy to address the root cause
- you want to turn off pro-aging inflammation whilst booting immunity,
- you have gut dysbiosis, leaky gut or food intolerances,
- you want to lose weight, lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol and triglycerides
- you want to lower homocysteine & improve inflammatory markers
AN EVERYDAY YOUNGER YOU PROGRAMME
which can be a starting point ( before embarking on the intensive programme or a finishing point ( ie after the 8 week intensive programme)
FOOD SWAPS FOR HEALTHIER YOUNGER YOU
- this which is a great starting place as it involves simply swapping out foods you are consuming with those that will better support DNA methylation.
FOOD SWAPS FOR HEALTHIER DNA METHYLATION
|Coffee or black tea
|Sweet potatoes, Carrots, Beets
|Organic burgers, Wild Salmon burgers
|Chicken Sausages or Sauteed shiitake mushrooms
|Crisps & other bagged snacks
|Roasted vegetable crisps, roasted chickpeas, seaweed snacks, kale crisps,
|Iceberg or regular lettuce
|Spinach, rocket, kale & chard as base for salads
|Almond butter or pumpkin seed butter
|Grain free nut & seed heavy granola, quinoa porridge or Egg based breakfast
|Quinoa or legume pastas
|Turmeric Coconut or Almond milk
|Regular Olive oil
|Organic Extra Virgin olive oil (bonus points if rosemary infused)
For those of you that are interested in the Intensive or Everyday programmes please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org in order that I can personalise the programmes for you but if you just want to make a start towards a healthier younger you, START WITH THE FOOD SWAPS ABOVE!
It will be no surprise that the following 3 areas have been identified as supporting DNA methylation and healthy ageing
30 – 60 minutes , minimum of 5 x week, at exertion level of 60-80% of your max capacity ( you can still have a conversation),
ensure it is something you enjoy and motivates you
diarise the time to ensure it happens ( ie commitment not intention!)
Engage in Meditation using a guided Meditation App like Headspace or Calm ideally twice a day for total of 20-40 minutes.
Meditation supports DNA methylation by reducing physiological and psychological stress.
If you are not ready for Meditation if you are not already doing one of the following introduce one of them: Yoga, Breathwork or Thia Chi.
Aim for minimum 7 hours a night and to help you try:
At Noon – to stop caffeine or if you are sensitive consider stopping altogether
To avoid food and strenuous exercise three hours before bed
1 hour before bed- turn off all screens and engage in pre bedtime ritual e.g Epsom salt bath/yoga/stretching
“I look forward to hearing how many food swaps you have been able to make and make them habitual”.
For more information on thyroid support see my previous article on “How to boost Thyroid Function” published May 2020.
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