Kara Fitzgerald, MD, IFMCP,

 Kara Fitzgerald, MD, IFMCP, is the first-ever recipient of the Emerging Leadership Award from the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute in recognition of her work on DNA methylation. As a leading voice in the intersection of nutrition, epigenetics, and aging, Dr. Fitzgerald’s work has been featured in media outlets such as Prevention, Fast Company, MSN, Everyday Health, and many more. Receiving her doctorate from National University of Natural Medicine, she is on the faculty at the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) and is an IFM Certified Practitioner with a clinical practice in Newtown, Connecticut.

In her book Younger You: Reduce Your Bio Age and Live Longer, Better Dr. Fitzgerald shares the research and scientific underpinning that proves a combination of diet and lifestyle alone can influence genetic expression and reverse the process of biological aging—no extreme biohacking necessary. Finding foods rich in epinutrients (nutrients that can positively change the expression of our DNA) is a key part of eating for longevity and optimal health.

Here are five DNA methylation superstars that you can easily add to your plate to ward off chronic disease and slow down aging. They’re anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and in many cases, antiviral. Some of them are both methyl donor and DNA methylation adaptogens (especially cruciferous vegetables), meaning they offer DOUBLE the benefits to bio age.

1. Blueberries

Fresh or frozen, blueberries are delicious and are rich sources of epinutrients including anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, ellagic acid, and quercetin.

2. Rosemary

A potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, rosemary doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s also anticancer, provides neuroprotection and pain relief. It’s even been shown to be as effective as Rogaine in regrowing hair! Filling a pepper or salt grinder with dried rosemary makes it easy and convenient to add it to your meal.

3. Cruciferous vegetables

Arugula, bok choy, broccoli, etc. are rich sources of sulfur-containing compounds (glucosinolates) that are metabolized into derivatives known to prevent cancer, reduce inflammation, turn on our body’s antioxidant system, support detoxification, and more.

4. Beets

They help lower blood pressure, fight cancer, and support detoxification. Most importantly, they are a rich source of the phytonutrient betaine. If you aren’t a fan of the taste, they can be snuck into slaws, burgers, and smoothies, or into seltzer or sparkling water as a juice.

5. Shiitake Mushrooms

You can cook shiitakes to taste like bacon, but there’s no pork on the planet that can offer the epinutrient profile of these folate, choline, and vitamin-rich gems. They are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune rejuvenating to boot.

Plus. Liver

While the taste is divisive, the health benefits aren’t. No other food matches liver’s broad-spectrum of epinutrients. I know liver isn’t an easy sell, but it is an anti-aging powerhouse! Since it’s a detox organ, you always want to choose organic and/or grass-fed. If you can’t get yourself to eat sauteed organic chicken livers or liverwurst, you can take it in supplement form.