What makes Me Me and You You?
This is the question that is at the heart of the genetic puzzle. It is also central to our exploration of blood types. The key is genetic heritage - the story line of your life. Even though you are living in the 21st century, you share a common bond with your ancestors. The genetic information that resulted in their particular characteristics has been passed on to you.
People who are A blood type have a different set of characteristics than people who are Type O - they are susceptible to different diseases, they should eat different foods and exercise in a completely different manner. Some believe that personality is influenced by blood type! Dr. D'Adamo, author of the best selling books Eat Right for Your Type and Live Right for Your Type, among others, gives us a blueprint for living in his books. Read on to learn more about the Type A individual.
Type A History
The Type A emerges into the 21st century with many more complex challenges than their ancestors could have imagined. The key factor in the development of Type A can be traced to the struggle for survival long ago, when there was a rapidly dwindling supply of hunting game stock. Having exhausted the great game herds of Africa, humans pushed farther out from their ancestral home into Europe and Asia. The cultivation of grains and livestock changed everything. For the first time, people were able to forego the hand to mouth lifestyle of the hunter/gatherer and establish stable communities. Over time the adaptations that produced Blood Type A were based on the need to fully utilize nutrients from carbohydrate sources. These biological adaptations can still be observed today in Type A's digestive structure. Low levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and high intestinal disaccharide digestive enzyme levels permit the more efficient digestion of carbohydrates. According to Dr. D'Adamo, these are also the very factors, along with low levels of intestinal alkaline phosphatase, that make it difficult for Type As to digest and metabolize animal protein and fat.
What Makes Type A Unique
Many neurochemical factors in the Type A genetic disposition favor a structured, rhythmic, harmonious life, surrounded by a positive, supportive community. The harried pace and increased sense of isolation experienced by so many in today's society often make these needs difficult to achieve. Type A best exemplifies the powerful interconnections between mind and body. This was vital to the shift away from hunting and procurement to building and growing. However, Type A's more internalized relationship to stress, which served your ancestors well, can be a challenge for the modern Type A. The Blood Type Diet's proactive mix of lifestyle strategies, hormonal equalizers, gentle exercise and specialized dietary guidelines will maximize your overall health; decrease your natural risk factors for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The result: high performance, mental clarity, greater vitality and increased longevity.
Type A Diet
"When we discuss 'diet,' we are not talking necessarily about a weight loss plan, that's a side benefit to following this plan. We are actually discussing diet in the more traditional sense, meaning a way to eat," explains, Dr. D'Adamo. Type As flourish on a vegetarian diet - if you are accustomed to eating meat, you will lose weight and have more energy once you eliminate the toxic foods from your diet. Many people find it difficult to move away from the typical meat and potato fare to soy proteins, grains and vegetables. But it is particularly important for sensitive Type As to eat their foods in as natural a state as possible: pure, fresh and organic. "I can't emphasize enough how this critical dietary adjustment can be to the sensitive immune system of Type A. With this diet you can supercharge your immune system and potentially short circuit the development of life threatening diseases."
In this busy, ever changing world, it's almost impossible to avoid every day stress. Type As have a naturally high level of the stress hormone cortisol and produce more in response to stressful situations. Cortisol is released in 24-hour patterns, typically in the early morning between six and eight A.M. with a gradual decrease during the day. It helps to cue the body's other cyclical rhythms. Due to the naturally elevated cortisol in type As, additional stress often manifests in several ways; disrupted sleep patterns, daytime brain fog, increased blood viscosity (thickening), and promotes muscle loss and fat gain. In extreme cases in Type As, stress can manifest in more serious ways, causing obsessive-compulsive disorder, insulin resistance and hypothyroidism. To help balance cortisol levels, Dr. D'Adamo recommends that you limit sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Don't skip meals, especially breakfast; eating smaller, more frequent meals will also help to stabilize blood sugar levels. He also points out that the following factors are known to increase cortisol levels and increase mental exhaustion for Type As - be aware and limit your exposure when possible:
- Crowds of people
- Loud noise
- Negative emotions
- Strong smells or perfumes
- Too much sugar and starch
- Violent TV and movies
- Lack of sleep
- Extreme weather conditions (hot or cold)
Calming Exercise - The Critical Component for Health and Well Being
Heightened cortisol levels make it harder for Type As to recover from stress. Research has demonstrated that overall cortisol levels can be lowered through a regular program of exercises that provide focus and calming effects. Make these activities a regular - and life saving - part of your lifestyle. Dr. D'Adamo recommends, Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi and Meditation and Deep Breathing Exercises. Meditation has been studied for its effects on stress hormones. It was found that after meditation, serum cortisol levels were significantly reduced. Writes Dr. D'Adamo, "While it's fine for Type As to participate in more intense physical activity when healthy and in good condition, be aware that these forms of exercise do not act as safety valves for stress in your blood type. I have seen Type As excel at weight lifting and aerobic activities, but you have to be careful about not overtraining, as that will actually raise cortisol levels."
The Personality Connection
Blood Type is a marker of individuality - and perhaps of personality as well. In Japan, it has long been believed that Blood Type is an indicator of personality - in fact, you are likely to be asked your blood type in a job interview or while out on a date with a potential mate! In a study conducted by Dr. D'Adamo in 1999, he found some interesting connections between blood type and personality. Type As most often described themselves in ways related to the following characteristics: sensitive to the needs of others, good listeners, detail oriented, analytical, creative and inventive.
In addition to exercise, stress management and eating the right foods, here are some key lifestyle strategies for Type A individuals.
- Cultivate creativity and expression in your life
- Establish a consistent daily schedule
- Go to bed no later than 11:00 PM and sleep for eight hours or more. Don't linger in bed, as soon as you get up, get going!
- Take at least two breaks of twenty minutes each during the work day. Stretch, take a walk, do deep breathing exercises or meditate.
- Don't skip meals
- Eat more protein at the start of the day, less at the end
- Don't eat when you are anxious
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
- Engage in thirty to forty five minutes of calming exercise at least three times a week.
- Plan regular screening for heart disease and cancer prevention.
- Always chew food thoroughly to enhance digestion. Low stomach acid makes digestion more difficult.