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How to Protect the Health of Future Generations

How to Protect the Health of Future Generations

Choices you make today impact the likelihood of obesity and addiction in your children and grandchildren.

When Joe Coleman pitched for the Philly Athletics, Baltimore Oriels and Detroit Tigers from 1942 to 1955, he could only hope his baseball talent would be passed on to the next generations of his family. Well, it was! Son, Joe Coleman pitched for 15 seasons from 1965 to 1979—a two-time 20-game winner—and today his grandson Casey Coleman is with the Cubs Triple A team in Des Moines, Iowa.

Sometimes it’s talent that’s passed down—sometimes, unfortunately, it’s health challenges such as obesity and addiction. A new study published in Translational Psychiatry explains how choices made during pregnancy and breastfeeding affect the health of future generations.

Swiss researchers fed healthy female mice a high-fat diet during pregnancy and while nursing. The repercussions showed up in three generations of their offspring (those generations didn’t eat excess fat and neither did their mates). They had changes in their brain’s dopamine-powered reward system that predisposed them to “develop obesity and addictive-like behaviors.”

Seems your choices today may force your next three generations to battle obesity, addictions and the health problems associated with those conditions.

So how much and what kind of fats should you eat every day to protect your health and the health of future generations? Stick with fats in nuts, oils like extra virgin olive oil and animal proteins like salmon. Then, on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, aim for 20 to 35 percent of calories (400 to 700 calories or 33 to 78 grams) from those good-for-you fats. That’s good pitching and good hitting!

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