DNA testing offers a variety of benefits. Not only does it give insight into your health, but it also provides information about genetic heritage and helps you approach life with your eyes wide open. It’s a powerful tool for taking control of your health and wellness. Not to mention it satisfies the natural curiosity we all have about our roots.

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What are 10 of the most important things you can do with your results after taking a DNA test?

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1. Change Your Current Health Habits to Reduce Your Most Significant Risks

Many of the health challenges we face are built into our genetic code. Certain diseases and conditions “run in families” and many people are born with a higher risk than others. 

This doesn’t mean your genetic makeup guarantees you’ll have to deal with these issues, though. By knowing your genetic information, you can make lifestyle changes that help you reduce your risk for things like cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders.

2. Understand More about Yourself

Do you have certain quirks you’ve never understood? Have you always wondered where your freckles came from or why your feet are prone to bunions? It could have a link to genetics. With a 23andMe test, you’ll understand more about the features that make you who you are.

3. Determine Whether You Should Change Your Eating Habits

If you’re someone who watches what you eat religiously and tries to stay active, but you still can’t drop those last 10 pounds or lose that spare tire, it might not be your fault. In fact, our weight is almost entirely genetic. What’s built into our genetic code has a way of normalizing our weight back to a predetermined range. This means no matter how much you exercise or count calories, you’ll likely end up in the weight range in which you’ve spent most of your life. 

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat healthy, exercise, and make smart choices. But it does mean you shouldn’t beat yourself up when you are doing all you can and the scale won’t budge.

4. Adopt a New Hobby

Have you ever wondered why some people like to build model ships while others prefer hiking or kayaking? It could be your “hobby gene.” 

Scientists believe that we inherit many of our likes and dislikes. Of course, our environment matters a great deal and some people resist taking up a particular pastime just because of a relative’s love of it. But according to science, the things you love doing most are likely linked to your genetics.

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5. Know What You Might Pass on to Your Kids

Bringing a child into the world is a joyful experience, but as any parent will tell you, it comes with a collection of fears, too. For many parents, some of those fears stem from what they might pass on to their kids. Genetic testing helps you determine what might transmit to future generations and gives you a blueprint for who your child might become.

6. Gain Insight into Your Fears

Have you ever wondered why spiders terrify you or public speaking seems dreadful? It could be your genes. 

Although there is no fear gene, many of the genes associated with fear are encoded in our neurotransmitters and their receptors. The combinations of these different forms passed from our biological parents predispose us to respond with greater or lesser degrees of anxiety or fear of things in our environment. 

7. Find Out If You’re at Risk for Addiction

Managing addiction is one of the toughest things a person can experience. And unfortunately, many of us are born at risk of having to do so. All types of addiction, from gambling to alcoholism to sex addiction have a genetic link. 

Our environment and the choices we make in life also play a role, but genetic testing can help you determine your risk. Just because you are genetically predisposed to addiction doesn’t mean you will become an addict. It helps to know your family history, educate yourself about the risks of addiction, and find healthy ways to cope with stress, especially once you know your risk is higher than the average person. 

8. Learn Something about Your Personality

Does it seem like the older you get, the more you behave like your mother or father? Does your spouse drive you nuts because he or she seems to be morphing into your in-laws? There is likely a genetic basis for this occurring.

After studying data from 23andMe and other organizations, scientists found a link between your genes and certain personality traits. For example, it seems that extroversion and the tendency to be neurotic are both heavily genetically influenced. 

The newly discovered information is fascinating and changing how many people view personality disorders. 

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9. Choose a Better Career

Of course, it’s no surprise that if your genes affect your personality, your hobbies, and other aspects of who you are, they’ll also affect the career you choose. If you didn’t consider these things when choosing your career path, it might be time for a change. You’re more likely to feel fulfilled doing work suited to who you are.

10. Celebrate Your Heritage

Finally, learning about your genetic makeup is a great way to know more about your roots. Have you always wondered where your ancestors were from? Do you know what challenges they faced and what events in history they witnessed? A genetic test is a great way to get in touch with your heritage so you can celebrate who you are and what makes you unique.

Keep in mind, 23andMe is not meant to be diagnostic. Any results should be considered in the context of your life and family history. Our environment plays a major role in who we are and what we’ll have to deal with throughout our lives. But the test is a great way to get an understanding of the foundation of who you are and build on it to live your happiest and healthiest life. Your choices matter even more when you understand your genes. 

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Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation.

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