Do Your Genes Really Tell the Future of Your Health?


Scientific American Magazine recently published an article called: Can Lifestyle Changes Bring out the Best in Genes? Quote: "recent research shows that diet and exercise may change how our genes behave". The research may be new but the revelation isn't. This information has been known for thousands of years contained within the teachings of Ayurveda, the ancient science of life.

The article begins by saying that "a new pilot study shows that eating right, exercising and reducing stress may help keep chronic illnesses at bay by switching on beneficial genes, which can include tumour fighters, and by silencing genes which can trigger malignancies and other ills". Dene Ornish the founder and president of The Preventative Medical Research Institute is quoted as saying: "we've found that simple changes have a powerful impact on gene expression" and he says that while genes may indicate our predisposition, they are not our medical fate. This is exactly inline with Ayurvedic Science.

Nature & Nurture

Medical research has been pointing the finger at our genes for years, yet most diseases and disorders in our bodies have direct cause and those causes are largely under our control. Genes may play a role in disease tendency, but the way we live, eat, sleep and express activity has a great influence over whether or not that disease tendency is triggered into manifestation of illness.

We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, and knowing what they are gives us invaluable clues in keeping healthy and reducing the likelihood of developing common concerns like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Ayurvedic Clues to Discovering Your Individual Nature

Ayurveda teaches that we all have a predisposition to a particular individual constitution (vata, pitta, or kapha) and that our constitution is born from the 5 material elements. These elements are found in us and all around us they are: ether, air, fire, water and earth. The bodily constitutions (called doshas) in Ayurveda are each a combination of two from the greater total of five elements.

Vata is a combination of air and ether
Pitta is a combination of fire and water
Kapha is a combination of water and earth

We each contain the elements and expressions of all three doshas, but we also have an inherent predisposition that reveals itself in one or two of the dosha being dominant. Hence, in Ayurveda, people are described a vata, pitta, or kapha types, (sometimes they are termed vata-pitta, pitta kapha or kapha-vata where two types stand out in their make up).

Your dominant doshas are revealed in your skin type, hair type, teeth and gums, nails, body frame, movements and patterns of speech. All of these things, and more, are revealed via your unique body blue print.


How does this help me bring out the best in my genes?

"Ayurveda describes that each person has physical and mental constitution. In other words everyone is born with a unique nature or personality. In order to maintain good health, it is important to maintain this “original” prakriti or nature. This is done by eating foods and performing activities that are in harmony with our nature. Thus a state of natural balance is maintained at physical, psychological and spiritual level. However, a disturbance in the state of natural balance leads to damages in the natural set of body even at the minute level including the genes." Dr Partap Chauhan - Jiva Ayurvedic Clinic

Understanding your physical nature (dosha) gives you knowledge of your natural strengths and weaknesses and helps you work with the flow of nature's intelligence. This understanding can protect you from many health issues and challenges, from settling digestive complaints, to how to avoid catching a cold, to more serious health concerns. The wisdom of Ayurveda is here to support you in developing personal understanding and self care practices.

Ayurveda gives practical advice on diet and exercise that is suited to your body type and offers very simple supportive measures and lifestyle adjustments that enable you to express yourself to your full potential.

This recent research is useful in confirming that our fate is not set in cellular stone, and Ayurveda is the ideal way to breath life into the fact that  your genes don’t have the final say and you can be proactive and successful in looking after your health.


Photo by maria_keays


What's Next? 


Related articles you might find of interest:

Ayurveda Defined

Ayurveda: 8 Golden Rules for Good Digestion

Abhyanga - Ayurveda & Massage as an Act of Self-Care

Increasing Health & Happiness with Ayurveda - Part 1 Fresh & Vital