We all know that the old saying that “you are what you eat”. As nutrition research advances, this becomes even more evident. For example, there is emerging evidence in the field that what a pregnant woman eats during pregnancy can influence not only her unborn fetus, but even successive generations! Quite amazing really!
Recent studies have shown that maternal nutrition can influence patterns of gene expression, by a mechanism known as epigenetic modification in the sperm cells on fetal mice that can be passed along to successive generations. These are actual modifications to DNA that influence gene expression which are inheritable. Does the same occur in humans? Probably, but further research is required.
Emerging science also is providing evidence that the maternal diet prior to conception may be equally important. So, does this concept only apply to women? Absolutely not. Again, recent studies have suggested that paternal nutrition can influence genetic events in sperm cells that could be passed along to successive generation.
In sum, these emerging areas of nutrition research have expanded the realm of healthy eating from beyond the individual to a person’s “bloodline”. The new slogan might then be, “you are what your mother and father (and grandparents) ate”! So, eat healthy! Not only for you own sake, but for others on down the family tree.