How to switch on your body's cells

Dr David Richards with broccoli, which science is showing to be possibly the healthiest vegetable available to humans.
Dr David Richards with broccoli, which science is showing to be possibly the healthiest vegetable available to humans.

DESPITE the hype and claims, there aren't too many magic bullets in nutrition.

But Dr David Richards from Iluka Wellness Centre said new research on genetic testing had shown certain foods had the ability to switch on and switch off both good and bad cells in the body.

Dr Richards said he had recently read an exciting new book by Brisbane-based nutritional biochemist Christine Houghton on nutrigenomics which explained how certain foods could "talk" to our body's cells.

The book, Switched On, details the findings of new research that showed a chemical compound called sulforaphane, which is found in raw cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, held the key to switching on the body's cellular defence system.

The book also talks about the value of gene profiling which gives people an opportunity to identify their susceptibility to certain diseases.

"(The research is showing that) for those of us who want optimal health, we can make lifestyle choices according to certain components of our genes," Dr Richards said.

"They've found that sulforaphane switches on your own ability to fight things and switches off inflammation.

"A lot of the diseases we see these days are a result of inflammation not being switched off - diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr Richards said the findings were yet another tool available to people who were proactive with their health.

"The other huge benefit I can see (with gene profiling) is for our kids," he said.

"With things like bowel cancer or diabetes, if you know you have the gene that pre-disposes you to it, you may be able to help your kids avoid it."

Dr Richards said he would soon be undertaking a course that allowed him to issue gene profiling kits.

He is encouraging other clinicians in the Clarence Valley to do the same for the benefit of their patients.

He said the course was also available to others in the medical field, such as naturopaths.

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