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5 Ways Nutrigenomic Diets Could Help You

Staying Healthy Image Gallery Learn about the connections between genes and nutrition and see more staying healthy images.

What if choosing a diet that's right for you were as easy as a walk to your mailbox? There, you find a small package containing simple instructions and a special cotton swab sealed in a container designed to prevent contamination. You remove the cotton swab, open your mouth and rub the swab across the inside of your cheek. Putting the swab back into its container, you seal it and drop it in a mailbox

A few weeks later, a trip to the mailbox yields another small package, this one filled with your genetic analysis along with a recommended diet tailor-made for you. Perhaps the genetic analysis determined that you're missing a gene that aids the body in using a certain vitamin. Or, you may learn that your liver isn't able to break down certain substances due to another variation in your genes. By adjusting your diet, you optimize your genes' strengths and bolster their weaknesses, leading to a healthier life.

Sound too good to be true? It is (for now), but it's the goal of nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics, in essence, studies the two-way street connecting genes and nutrition.

Two primary questions drive nutrigenomics: How does nutrition and diet affect our genes, and how do our genes affect the body's response to nutrition and diet?