Healthy Beginnings

Empowerment through genetics: Tailor your diet for better overall health

Increasing intake of dark leafy greens like kale can help mitigate genetic influence.

Many people view genetics as a fixed variable in our lives. While our genetics are inherited, because we have certain genes does not mean that they will be expressed. This is important in looking at genetic information as empowering you, not just looking at your vulnerabilities.

Environment (epigenetic) influences can affect our genetic expression. Genetics information is valuable beyond determining the susceptibility to disease; it can also be used for determining critical supplements or lifestyle changes for an individual. We have control over diet, lifestyle and nutrients, all which play an important role in overall health and wellbeing.

For instance, using the commonly talked about MTHFR mutation, a (+) indicates someone doesn’t convert folic acid well to folate. Folate and folic acid are water-soluble B vitamins that are necessary to prevent illness and maintain homeostasis. They have been shown to prevent a variety of ailments, from anemia to memory loss.

Folate is found naturally in many foods, including leafy greens and some fruits. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, added to many foods regularly consumed by the average American, including flour, cereals, and bakery items.

Individuals with the (+)MTHFR gene have a difficult time processing folic acid into folate, which can lead to lethargy, sleep issues and other complications. One way to mitigate this genetic influence is to change lifestyle and dietary habits. Reducing alcohol intake and some pharmaceutical medications may help, as will increasing vegetable intake, especially dark leafy greens.

The (+)MTHFR mutation is just an example of the many ways that individuals can tailor their dietary and lifestyle choices to better serve their overall health. At Wellness Weekend 2017, we will discuss other pertinent topics relating to genetic health and our overall wellbeing.

Dr. Stephenie Riley welcomes patients to her office at High Sierra Natural Medicine, based in Truckee. Visit or call 530-546-5066 to learn more.

Several speakers on tap for Women’s Wellness Weekend

Dr. Stephenie Riley began her medical career in the conventional approach to healing, graduating from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Engineering and spending nearly a decade designing medical devices.

Yet, her pursuit of optimal health led her back to graduate school in 1999 to become a Naturopathic Doctor.

Dr. Riley will be among several high-profile speakers taking part in the annual Women’s Wellness Weekend, set for Nov. 11-12 at Granlibakken Tahoe, located in Tahoe City.

This year’s keynote speaker is Roger Gabriel, master educator at The Chopra Center. Other planned speakers include: Kim Bateman, Ph.D., executive dean of the Tahoe-Truckee campus of Sierra College; Whitney Rogers, PT, DPT, ATC; Karin Sable, LMFT; and Jennifer Newkirk, RD.

Visit for a full list of Women’s Wellness Weekend events, information about each speaker, details on how you can win a free weekend pass and more.