Eating Greens Can Change Genes: Go Raw for Better Heart Health
An international team of scientists led by researchers at McMaster and McGill universities, in Canada, were surprised to find that consuming generous amounts of fruit and raw vegetables modified a gene designated 9p21, the strongest marker for heart disease. In one of the largest gene-diet interaction studies ever conducted related to cardiovascular disease, the researchers analyzed more than 27,000 individuals from five ethnicities—Latin American, European, Chinese, South Asian and Arab—and the effect their diets had on the target gene. They discovered that men and women with the high-risk genotype that consumed a healthy diet with plenty of raw vegetables and fruits had a risk of heart attack similar to individuals carrying the low-risk genotype.
“We know that 9p21 genetic variants increase the risk of heart disease for those that carry it,” says Genetic Epidemiologist Jamie Engert, joint principal investigator of the study, “but it was a surprise to find that a healthy diet could significantly weaken its effect.”