Fruits and Vegetables Can Alter Gene Linked to Heart Disease

By Charmaine Gooden

Eating a generous amount of fresh fruits and  vegetables  has an effect on genes linked to heart disease, says a new study from Canada’s McMaster and McGill universities. The findings, reported in the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine, shows that eating healthy foods appears to modify  the genetic codes  of the 9p21 gene, known to increase heart disease risk
The researchers theorize that vegetables, fruits and berries, with all of the good things they contain in them, somehow modifies the expression of this particular gene. This study challenges the long-held mantra  that you can’t change your family, the genes they pass on, or the effect of these genes. A good rule is to try to eat a wide variety of colourful–red, yellow, blue and green–fruits and vegetables each day.

The research,  one of the largest gene-diet interaction studies ever conducted on cardiovascular disease, involved the analysis of more than 27,000 individuals from five ethnicities – European, South Asian, Chinese, Latin American and Arab – and the affect that their diets had on the effect of the 9p21 gene. The 9p21 genetic variants increase the risk of heart disease for those that carry it.  People with this high-risk gene who consumed a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, saw their risk come down to that of people who don’t have that gene.