Harvard Heart Letter

Fruit and veggie diet may offset genetic risk for heart disease

The old adage that you can't change your genes may be true, but research suggests that lifestyle choices can modify some of the influence your genes have on your health. Case in point is one study that determined that a "prudent" diet — especially one replete with raw vegetables and fruits — can noticeably reduce the elevated risk of heart disease that comes with a specific genetic variation.

Analysis of DNA information made available since the mid-1990s has helped researchers identify variations in small snippets of DNA that increase a person's risk for heart problems. Because genes come in pairs (alleles), a person with potentially harmful variations in both alleles is presumably at even greater risk than someone with a single variation.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »