Monthly Archives: June 2016
Everyone knows that following a heart healthy diet plan is an important way to reduce the chance of developing heart disease. Now a new study finds that even those who have genes that put them at an increased risk for heart problems can get the very same benefit from healthy eating.
So, enjoying all those good-for-you fruits and veggies can overcome your genetic chance of heart attack.
Estimates are that almost 20% of the population has a copy of the “bad” heart gene. So researchers have looked at how diet might affect variants in this gene – the chromosome 9p21 region.
Back in 2007 experts from different countries found that alterations to this 9p21 area were associated with a higher chance of heart disease and more specifically, heart attack. Some of us have only one copy of this ‘bad’ gene; others have two, which is believed to make the chances of heart problems even greater.
The research team examined the impact of a healthy eating plan on over 27,000 subjects of five ethnicities, Arab, Chinese, European, Latin American and South Asian. Some of the subjects were known to have high-risk genes.
In one group, from the study, 3,820 subjects who had already suffered with heart attacks were compared with 4,300 who hadn’t. The research provided the second group, 19,129 subjects, where 1,014 were known to have heart disease.
The research provided different diet information with diet scores based on raw veggie and fruit consumption. The score also accounted for risk foods like fried foods, salty snacks and meat.
In the study, diet details were collated from a questionnaire listing 130 different food items. The participant received a score based on their intake of fruit, veggies and berries. If you had at least two of the three items each day you were given the ‘prudent’ rating.
If you had bad genes and ate the worst (least prudent) diet, heart disease risk increased almost 30%, but the risk of those who had the bad genotype but were part of the high prudent eating plan group saw no increased chance of heart attack.
This finding gives support to the notion that diet can make bad genes behave even more badly. The opposite also was shown to be true – the more healthy the diet less chance of disease.
The take home message here is that even with bad genetics, you might can still do something about them with a diet that’s regularly loaded with prudent choices like healthful fruits and veggies.
Interesting to realize that the choices you make, every single day at every single meal, can have such an impact on your health. It’s encouraging to realize that maybe you can, if not change your genes at least make them less of a threat to your health.
If the very solid research on the benefits of a heart healthy diet plan is supported by further work, it could have an impact for many at risk of heart disease. The study also serves as the first evidence in an emerging field known as nutrigenomics, or the study of the way our genes interact with the nutrients in our diet.