The Present is the Future
We are in the season of fresh fruits and vegetables, abundant with superfoods and antioxidant-rich produce that thrive in the summer weather. During this time, I always indulge in these seasonal benefits, but some teens may not see the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When we are growing up, many things influence the adults we will become. Often, we are so caught up in SAT scores, college applications and maintaining relationships that we forget about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and don’t realize that failing to be concerned with proper self-care can be extremely impactful.
Epigenetics studies how external factors, such as diet, exercise and environment, can potentially affect the expression of our inheritable genes. What we do in childhood and young adulthood can possibly impact not only our future health, but also the health that we pass on to our children. Studies are exploring how substances like curcumin, resveratrol and polyphenols from green tea, apples, coffee and other sources might modulate biochemical pathways and have effects on future health outcomes.
In order to be well, we must not only have concern for our dietary health, but also our mental health. Last August, I unfortunately lost my grandmother to lymphoma that was in her bone marrow and spleen. She emigrated from Poland after WWII through England and Argentina, landing in the United States at age 12. She had a very rough childhood. I can’t help but wonder if any of her health issues were impacted by past stressors. Many studies have looked at the association between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and adverse health outcomes in adults. The first study was published in 1998 and showed a clear relationship between the two.
We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to certain events. Whether we’re putting processed foods into our bodies or holding in deep-rooted stress, we are potentially altering ourselves negatively. Especially now, faced with the stresses of starting a new academic year, we need to be consciously aware of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, relaxation and meditation can be extremely helpful in relieving the mounting pressures. Overall, it is important that we have an awareness of how we are affecting our bodies, both physically and mentally.
Isabella Dussias is a 16-year-old singer-songwriter/composer from New Jersey. She enjoys writing about issues that are important to today’s youth, and she believes music is an important outlet to connect people and share messages through the creativity of lyric and melody. For more information, visit IsabellaDussias.com.