Your DNA Does Not Have the Final Say

How many times have you heard it runs in my family? How many times have you said it runs in my family? Yes, there are diseases that are common in families. However, we do not have to let our DNA or genetics have the only say in our wellbeing. Just because a disease is common in our family, we can choose a lifestyle that will reduce our chances of getting that disease. Eating healthy foods, exercising, managing stress, getting your rest, not smoking or drinking alcohol in excess can lower your risk of getting chronic diseases that are common in your family.

There are several things you can do to avoid triggering chronic diseases that run in your family. Do not ignore getting an adequate amount of sleep. The amount of sleep needed is different for each person. The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation can lead to heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. Sleep helps your body to recover and helps with immunity. Before bedtime avoid caffeine and using the computer or cellphone. Do activities that make you relax. There are essential oils you can use to help with sleep. Some oils to consider include lavender, jasmine, and vanilla. If you have insomnia and cannot sleep talk with your doctor to create a plan to help you sleep.

We all know that nutrition plays an important role in our health. We can become overwhelmed with the thought of making drastic changes. You can start with small changes. For instance, try reducing portion size or swapping some unhealthy items with healthier versions. I gave up eating foods with sugar during the week and have treats on the weekend. That small change caused my health to improve.

Exercise is important for health. It helps to lower blood pressure and control weight. It can improve your mood and help with depression and anxiety. It can lower your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. If you are not exercising you can start small. Take a walk or try some of the free exercise classes on YouTube.

Managing stress is the most difficult of the healthy lifestyle practices for me. When I find myself in stressful situations, I must find ways to cope. I take walks, watch or listen to my favorite comedian, listen to music, pray, or take deep breaths. We all experience stress at times and need to discover healthy coping mechanisms tailored to our individual needs.

You do not have to accept that you will have the same health issues common in your family. You can make healthy lifestyle choices to lower your risk.

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