TIME Magazine: Fruits and Veggies Help Fight Genetics of Heart Disease

veggieheart.jpgTime Magazine recently highlighted a Canadian study published in the peer-reviewed PLoS Medicine journal, involving more than 27,000 people, that concluded diets rich in fruits and vegetables can decrease the likelihood of heart disease. Interestingly, the study found that even people who are genetically predisposed to heart disease showed no increased heart risk if they ate a lot of raw fruits and vegetables. People with less healthy diets were found to have twice the risk of heart attack.

"It means that perhaps our family history, or genetic risk, is modifiable," says Dr. Sonia Anand, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at McMaster University and one of the co-authors of the study. "Despite not being able to change our genetics, if we are able to modify the effect or expression of our genes [by eating more fruits and vegetables]. That's exciting."

Dr. Anand's enthusiasm mirrors that of others in the scientific community regarding the effects of diet on health, including a recent study, published in the journal of Nutrition & Metabolism, which found that men following a plant-based diet have lower weights and body mass indexes, reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Since heart disease is by far the leading cause of death for Americans, this study should provide powerful incentive for people to reduce or eliminate their consumption of saturated fat- and cholesterol-laden meat, dairy and eggs in favor of nutritious plant-based alternatives.

For more information on how to transition toward a diet that is as good for your heart as it is for the animals, visit ChooseVeg.org.