It may not be news that both genes and diet can play a role in the health of your heart. But which is more important? A new study suggests that a diet high in fruits and veggies, especially raw ones, may help overcome the effect of genes known to increase the risk of heart disease.
According to an October 12, 2011 article on the Time Magazine website, Canadian researchers looked at two large sets of data, one with more than 8100 participants in 52 countries and one in Finland with more than 19,000. The participants were separated into groups based on their type of diet and on their genetic profiles for increased risk of heart attacks.
What researchers found was that people in the group with high-risk genes were twice as likely to have a heart attack if their diet was low in fruits and vegetables. But according to Dr. Sonia Anand, one of the study's co-authors, ″We found that among those with the high-risk genotype, if they consumed a diet high in vegetables and fruits, their risk for heart attack did not increase despite their having a high-risk gene profile.″
Scientists are not sure of the exact mechanism of this beneficial effect; it may be that something in the fruits and vegetables changes the way certain genes are expressed. But however it happens, it's good news to know that, even if you can't change what was passed on to you genetically, you can modify for the better how your inheritance is expressed by adding lots of fruits and veggies to your plate. And what better way to do that than by growing your own?
To read the entire article, go to Time Magazine.