You know yourself better than anyone, right? You understand what diseases or conditions you may have, you know your family history of diseases and how your situation is different than everyone else. You know your allergies and how you react to medications better than anyone. Most of all you know what foods you love to eat and what foods you hate to eat better than anyone. Yes, of course!
Well, what if I said that there are simple tests that you can take to determine how your specific genetic make-up will determine either your health outcome or how you may treat a medical condition….all by knowing your genetic codes and eating “your” unique way to control disease. Would you do it?
I’m going to share a bit of too much information about myself to set the tone here. Here we go. I have never had allergies to anything in my life up until I was in my late 20’s and early 30’s. I developed a few rashes ‘out of nowhere’. After I delivered my third-born in my later 30’s, the rashes became more severe. I ultimately made an appointment with a medical doctor certified in allergy and immunology. I had all the skin tests. Guess what I’m allergic to now after age 30? Pine, dust, oak (everything in my yard and house), but also roaches and the only food related to roaches……shrimp. I know. EWWWW. I love to eat shrimp…from the Gulf of Mexico especially (sigh). So now that I know what I am allergic too, will I give up my shrimps knowing I may have rash that a steroid needs to knock out? Maybe….
I was contacted by a very lovely and intelligent Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Mariette Abrahams, based in Portugal about this very topic. Nutrigenomics is the topic. Knowing your unique genetic code and how it responds to certain foods (avoid some and eat more of another) based on a mouth swab test. WOW! Are we doing this? Would you do it knowing you may have to give up some foods?
Here is what Mariette has to say about it: Will we need special functional foods to prevent diseases once we know what we have inherited?
- By nature, all foods are functional as we need good nutrition to grow, to thrive, to learn and to function in life.
- However, in a more modern context, we define functional foods as foods that have additional health benefits such as sterol-enriched drinks, eggs fortified with omega 3, etc.
- Therefore, depending on your health concern, you would choose functional foods accordingly.
And according to the November, 2013 Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Americans are starting to think about tapping into these tests. But here are a few requests from an American RDN that bases everything on research before encouraging (you!)….so follow suit:
- Please be aware of online offers for genetic testing that do not include a RDN and other health professionals that are trained in the nutri-genomics field. The health professional needs to translate the health and nutrition information to the person receiving the test. According to the Academy (and I agree): some of the direct-to-consumer genetic tests have minimal or no clinical value. Most of these offers on online only. Read this as a money-driven business if online only.
- Trust RDNs that are trained in the field. This is new territory even for some RDNS. Find one in your area via www.eatright.org trained in Nutritional Genomics or Functional Foods/Medicine/Nutrition.
- Or ask Mariette Abrahams, RDN in Portugal. She is super-nice and super-smart. That is a great combo. http://marietteabrahams.com Thanks, Mariette for your expertise!