Don't Inherit Your Family's Illnesses

29th Nov 2023
Healthy Family

I've been waiting for my health to take a dive, as my parents' medical history was a cocktail of ill health - cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis, gynae issues and type 2 diabetes. But 25 years on, I'm way past the age when my parents first contracted these health conditions, and I've had no sign of any of them.

My husband's immediate family history is cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. He has also gone way beyond the ages that his parents died of the first two. During this time doctors insisted that he take medication like statins, 'just in case', which he didn't do.

I know elderly people with a family history of heart disease who have never had heart problems. I've read that people with a family history of cancer haven't developed cancer. I know a few old folk with a genetic predisposition to a particular health condition, who are living well into their nineties without getting the same illness.

The subject of epigenetics is thought-provoking and comforting. It believes that an individual's lifestyle and environmental conditions can make their genes switch on and off, changing their genetic code. Their offspring inherit the same genetic code, predisposing them to the same health or ill health that the parents had. And so it goes on through future generations. So lifestyle choices can be life-changing, positively or negatively, not only for the person but also for the person's descendants.

I changed my diet drastically in my late teens because I felt awful all the time with tummy upsets, headaches and intestinal issues. My diet back then was terrible. I was living in student digs and grabbing fast food between studying and partying. Then I discovered health food shops and spent a lot of time in them, trying different foods and reading about healthy living. I ate my way through some really disgusting health foods, as they were back then, not the tasty choices of today. But it led me to a healthy diet and a more positive lifestyle. And 40+ years later, I'm still free of hereditary illness.

We can harness the energy of nutritious foods, positive thinking and a healthy lifestyle to strengthen our immune system and lessen our risk of developing degenerative diseases. I try to walk my talk, and have gone on to train and qualify in nutrition, aiming to use food as medicine.

Try listening to your body. When I coughed and spluttered my way through a cigarette during my student days, it was obvious that my body was rebelling, so I stopped. When my clients admit to energy slumps, indigestion and tummy pains after a fast-food, desktop-eaten, polythene-wrapped lunch of chemicals and additives, washed down with aspartame-laden liquid, I tell them that their bodies are trying to give them a strong message that it doesn't want this type of degenerate food.

Our liver filters all the grot we put into our bodies, and it often gets overworked. We experience the signs of our overwhelmed liver by feeling sluggish, tired, out of sorts, greyish skin, weak muscles, just simply yuk. But, the good news is that our liver can regenerate, unless it's too far gone. Isn't it inspiring and motivating to know this?

If we all have a go at re-visiting and re-thinking our diet and lifestyle, we can end up healthier and happier, we can keep out of the doctors' surgeries, and we can change our medical inheritance for ourselves and our descendants.

Start now to healthy-up your act. It's never too late.

We have a super online self-paced course called Self-Care & Healthy Living. Have a browse. It will get you started, motivate you and support you throughout.

Copyright Brenda Martin 2023