Raw Spinach, Carrots, Cukes, Raspberries, Strawberries May Lower Your Genetic Risk for Heart Disease
If you are accustomed to enjoying raw carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, snow peas, beans and fresh fruit, like apples, blueberries and strawberries, then you are in an excellent position to stave off heart disease, especially if you have a genetic proclivity for it. As a matter of fact, some of these fresh fruits and raw vegetables may even alter the effects of a gene that is a "marker" for cardiovascular disease, according to Jeannine Stein for The Los Angeles Times/ Booster Shots blog.
According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, connections between "chromosome 9p21 single-nucleotide polymorphisms and heart disease have been reported and replicated." Using this information to further research about genetics, diet, heart attacks and heart disease, another study was conducted and reported in PLoS Medicine.
In this study researchers genotyped 27,243 people of multiple ethnicities from two separate studies. They were looking for the 9p21 gene. As part of the study, the participants were asked about their dietary routines, the key questions including the frequency and amount of fresh fruits and vegetables they ate.
Researchers were interested to note that there were participants who had the 9p21 genotype and thus were at higher risk for heart disease. They found that when these participants ate a diet sparse in fresh fruits and vegetables, they increased their likelihood of heart attack or cardiovascular disease. (Stein, Los Angeles Times/Booster Shots blog) However, if participants with the 9p21 gene ate a diet high in vegetables and fruits, it appeared to ameliorate their inherent risk. Indeed, their proclivity for heart attack was similar to the participants who didn't have that high risk genotype.
According to the article in PLoS Medicine, "These findings suggest that the risk of CVD conferred by chromosome 9p21 SNPs may be influenced by diet in multiple ethnic groups. Importantly, they suggest that the deleterious effect of 9p21 SNPs on CVD might be mitigated by consuming a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables."
Certainly, individuals are their genotypes. What's important for future research is seeing to what extent diet can modify the risk factors that come with various genotypes we inherit from our ancestors. If we can change our diets accordingly, maybe we can forestall certain diseases like cardiovascular disease and live longer.