Unlock the secret to optimal health with a personalized eating plan that is just right for you.
New progressive scientific tools are making a buzz in the health and wellness industry—and it all comes down to a drop of your blood or a sample of saliva. With advanced testing methods like personal genetic and blood analysis, individuals can take control, identify health status and even reverse ailments before symptoms arise. With just a simple specimen, a one-of-a-kind blueprint can help shape a nutrition and wellness plan just for you.
Unlocking the data
This new field helps to identify advanced biomarkers that measure your metabolic, hormonal, cardiovascular, and nutritional health. More specifically, data sets containing elements like genetics and gut microbiome can be telling indicators of your current health and even what challenges could develop in future.
The data provide insight into your body’s chemistry, including intolerances and sensitivities to certain foods and how your genetics affect the way you metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fats. The next step is to determine the most beneficial dietary approach. Test results can uncover sensitivities to substances like gluten, dairy, caffeine or a lack of certain vitamins. Discovering deficiencies can provide a clearer picture of your biological responses.
Many scientific wellness companies provide consultation services, along with personal genetic testing, to help coach you along your dietary path. A professional such as a nutritionist, registered dietitian or physician can help interpret data and identify areas for improvement or potential health risks. With insight into your current diet, exercise, family history and health goals, they can make recommendations to help you achieve optimal health.
Providing a blood sample for genetic dietary analysis can be convenient and easy to facilitate. Companies such as WellnessFX, a web-based service, offer advanced blood analysis, combined with a secure personalized dashboard and telehealth consultations with a licensed professional. Simply sign up online, print your lab requisition and visit a lab location nearest you. Results will automatically be uploaded to your dashboard within 3–10 days, outlining descriptions of each biomarker. Test results can be tracked over time to assess changes in relation to diet, exercise and lifestyle.
At-home saliva test kits is another way to gain access into your genetic material. Pathway Genomics, a medical diagnostics company, offer tests such as PathwayFit or GlutenFit, for insight into how genetics plays a role into your general health or if you’re predisposed to gluten sensitivity, respectively. Simply swab the inside of your cheek, insert it into the collection tube provided and mail back for analysis. Once processed, results will be available with a personalized report, including nutrition and/or exercise plans, along with access to genetic dieticians and counselors.
For an expedited approach, Habit, a personalized nutrition company, provides diet recommendations based on self-reported data, via online questionnaire and submission of your existing blood test values. Upon completion, an individualized plan is provided outlining items like a quick-start meal plan, daily food guide, food suggestions and recipes. Results are accessible via online account or though the app, where you can also track your meals and eating schedule.
Cracking your dietary code
Now that you’ve uncovered what makes your body tick, it’s time to put your personalized dietary plan into action. Whether you’re an athlete who wants to maximize performance or a person looking to uncover the cause of their digestive ailments, a personal genetic or advanced blood analysis can help create a nutritional wellness plan that is right for you.
There are many options available to consumers seeking a program to achieve their health objectives. Below are a few examples of health-specific profiles:
For a CrossFit fanatic, regular gym-goer or avid runner, the goal is to ensure optimal diet to fuel performance and recovery. Data such as metabolic, hormonal, and nutrient composition are analyzed to gain insight into how your body functions in is ideal state.
Problems with the amount of performance hormones such as testosterone can indicate deficiencies in relation to fat storage, muscle development and libido. Likewise, a lack of essential nutrients such as folate and vitamin B12 can denote lack of energy from the absence of proper oxygen and nutrient delivery.
Performance diet plan:
Lean protein sources and complex carbohydrates from fruits, leafy green vegetables, legumes, and whole-grains. Good fats such as those found in nuts, avocados, olives and coconut oil can help sustain energy levels and support healthy hormone function. Supplements to optimize workouts and replenish the body, such as branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s) and glutamine, may be appropriate.
Women’s wellness and genetics
For the woman seeking a deeper understanding of weight, hormonal concerns, fatigue, or reproductive health, biomarkers are analyzed with a focus on the female body.
High levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, could be associated with menstrual cycle disruptions, complications with fertility and mood swings.
Free T3 and T4, the active components to thyroid function, could be evidence of abnormalities; too much can lead to weight loss and nervousness, while too little can cause lethargy and weight gain.
Women’s diet plan:
Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy sources. Inclusion of iron-rich foods such as spinach or tofu will help amp up energy levels, as women tend to be at higher risk of deficiency. If there are indications of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), consider avoiding gluten as it can interfere with normal thyroid function. Add foods such as seaweed, fish, dairy and eggs as they contain iodine, a mineral essential to production of thyroid hormones.
Holistic health for women
Certain biomarkers provide insight into your current health relating to weight loss or gain, energy levels, or function of major organs like heart and kidneys.
Apolipoprotein B, which is a protein in bad LDL cholesterol that increases clogging of blood vessels, could indicate cardiovascular risk. Similarly, metabolic hormones like insulin and IGF-1 (growth hormone surrogate) can influence weight loss or gain in relation to muscle or fat.
Holistic diet plan:
Complex carbohydrates, green leafy vegetables, lean protein such as wild salmon and antioxidant-rich fruits like berries to ease inflammation and benefit heart-health. Eliminate processed foods, which can negatively impact blood-sugar levels and increase bad cholesterol in the body.
In addition to food and meal plan recommendations, consider factors such as portion sizes, meals per day, supplements and exercise to round out your individualized eating plan.
Take the guesswork out of what dietary program is right for you. Understanding your own unique genetic material and how your body responds to certain foods will help set you on a course to feeling good, inside and out.
Be a proactive participant about your health. Descramble your own life-giving code and put this knowledge to use.
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Author: Daniela DeFeo is a certified health coach, freelance writer, lifestyle model and extreme sports enthusiast. She aims to inspire healthful, positive change and writes articles on nutrition, health, fitness and lifestyle. She is a contributing writer for Optimyz.