Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Greens, Genes and Heart Disease

Over the years I've often said to patients, you can stop smoking, you can exercise more, you can even lose weight but you can't change the Genes you were given! Well, I may be proved wrong, at least if the researchers at McMaster and McGill universities in the US are proven to be correct in their findings. They have just reported that the gene that is the strongest marker for heart disease can actually be modified by a diet rich in fruit and raw vegetables.

They performed a very large study on over 27,000 people of various ethnic origins and found that those who had a high intake of fruit and raw vegetables and who carried the high risk gene known as 9p21, reduced their risk of heart attacks to the level of those who did not carry the gene. "Our research suggests there may be an important interplay between genes and diet in cardiovascular disease," says the study's lead author Dr. Ron Do. Obviously there is still much more work to be done to find out the mechanisms of how this happens, and no doubt it will take many years before all the mysteries are resolved.

In the meantime, it's back to the Hunter Gatherer scene of eating nuts, berries and raw veggies: now does that sound familiar?

Source: PLoS Medicine
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Gastric Plication said...

What I'm curious about is what (if any) significance there was in the foods being raw.

Dr Duncan Jefferson said...

Good call, and I don't think there is any clear indication as yet. Food preparation can enhance or diminish the benefits of food nutrients, so it's still a bit of a mystery! Hopefully though, it will empower people to think "fresh food" rather than the pre-prepared packaged variety.