A new study says eating raw fruits and vegetables can change your genetic effect on heart disease.
We know that our dietary and lifestyle choices affect our health. But so do our genes, and until now, we’ve been told there’s nothing we can do about our genetics. After all, you can’t choose your family or the genes (and risks) they pass along to you!
However, a recent report in Science Daily describes new research from McMaster and McGill universities that just might change those old assumptions. This international team’s study found that eating lots of raw fruit and vegetables actually modifies the effect of the gene that is the strongest marker for heart disease.
They published their findings in the October, 2011 issue of the journal PLoS Medicine. Here’s an excerpt from Science Daily:
“We know that 9p21 genetic variants increase the risk of heart disease for those that carry it,” said Dr. Jamie Engert…researcher in cardiovascular diseases at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and associate member in the Department of Human Genetics at McGill University. “But it was a surprise to find that a healthy diet could significantly weaken its effect.”
The research, which represents one of the largest gene-diet interaction studies ever conducted on cardiovascular disease, involved the analysis of more than 27,000 individuals from five ethnicities — European, South Asian, Chinese, Latin American and Arab — and the effect that their diets had on the effect of the 9p21 gene.
The results suggest that individuals with the high-risk genotype who consumed a prudent diet, composed mainly of raw fruits and vegetables along with berries, had a similar risk of heart attack to those with the low risk genotype.
“We observed that the effect of a high-risk genotype can be mitigated by consuming a diet high in raw fruits and vegetables,” said Sonia Anand, joint principal investigator of the study.
The research team says their results suggest that the interplay between diet and genes may be important for preventing cardiovascular disease.