Do you have the alcohol gene?

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If...

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • The heart protector

  • Warning from your future self

  • The alcohol gene

Stroke and Heart Disease Prevention

There is no “perfect” time for exercise. But, if you add movement to your morning routine, you might receive a few extra benefits.

Research on more than 86,000 people found that people who are active in the morning have a lower risk of stroke and coronary artery disease than those who only exercise later in the day.

Before you turn your schedule upside down, any exercise is better than no exercise. And exercising at the time of day when you can be most consistent will give you the best benefits because you’re more likely to stick with the behavior. So whether you exercise in the morning or the night, you will improve your health.

But, it’s possible that a little morning activity could give your body an extra boost. This study is the latest in a growing field exploring the concept of “chronoexercise,” which is the idea that you can unlock health benefits at different times of the day.

If you can add a morning shift, something as simple as a morning walk could make a difference. The research suggests that regardless of how much activity people performed, those that did morning exercise experienced the added health protection.

Wise Beyond Your Years

Older generations can teach us a lot about not wasting our youth. Case in point: if you find yourself stressed a little too often, researchers found that older people stress significantly less compared to younger people.

Before you think it’s because “father time” leads to fewer life stressors, it’s not that simple. The scientists found three big shifts that occur over time: younger people find more daily activities stressful (some things that are stressful at 20 are not considered stressful at 50), older people are better at stress reduction, and — maybe most interestingly — aging increases gratefulness even during hard moments.

Older adults tend to see their most difficult challenges — such as their decline in health, the loss of friends and loved ones, and sickness — as factors for increased life happiness and appreciation. It makes the Robin Sharma quote — “Good health is a crown on the head of a well person that only a sick person can see,” — even more true.

Life experience makes you more aware of what matters and what doesn’t. Stress is a part of life, but the next time it feels overwhelming, ask yourself, “What would my 70-year-old self think of this situation?” It won’t eliminate all stressors, but shifting your perspective and leaning into gratitude can help take the edge off some situations.

The Alcohol Gene

You probably know that smoking and drinking are linked to health problems. But did you know that your genetics might influence the negative impact of those behaviors?

New research has found that 3,823 different genes are linked to smoking and drinking behaviors, which means some people are more prone to addiction and other health downsides. More research is needed, but this type of data can help with identifying at-risk individuals and create new prevention strategies.

While we recommend limiting detrimental health behaviors, we know change can be tough. If you want to know if you're more at-risk, you don’t need to wait to determine if something like alcohol might hit your body harder than others.

Two genetic variants influence how your body metabolizes alcohol. In other words, your genetics might make it even easier for booze to bamboozle your body. These genetics variants affect your body in different ways. One breaks down alcohol faster, which means you're hit harder by the toxins in alcohol, while the other keeps the toxins in your body longer. If you’re curious, you can do tests (like those offered by 23andme) to determine if you have either ADH1B or ALDH2 (the gene variants that make alcohol even worse for your body).

Either way, remember that — despite some outdated myths — alcohol (yup, even red wine) is not linked to positive health outcomes. So it’s best to limit yourself to — at most — just a few drinks per week.

Do you have the alcohol gene?


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