Why are some people seemingly able to eat a diet loaded with heart clogging fried foods and fats, while others seem destined to poor health regardless of their diet? This question has plagued medical researchers for decades. The answer is now beginning to unravel, in part due to advancements in decoding the human genome, and an understanding of the intricate genetic interactions which respond to diet and lifestyle decisions we make every day.
Genes Provide the Missing Link to Heart Disease
Scientists are able to watch gene alterations or switching in virtual real time, as they observe the positive or negative influences of specific food items in each meal. According to a study published in the journal Nature, researchers have identified nearly 100 genes which specifically control up to a third of the inherited factors controlling our cholesterol, specifically LDL cholesterol and triglycerides that are known factors in the development of coronary artery disease and heart attack risk.
Our Genes Aren’t Set in Stone
This study demonstrates for the first time that certain individuals are predisposed to developing abnormal types of oxidized LDL cholesterol through a hereditary link. Based on the results, up to 20% of people are at increased risk for developing heart disease, as their genes have been ‘switched’ in favor of developing a poor blood lipid profile.
This does not mean that you’re condemned to poor health due to heredity. Our genes respond to the cues they receive from the foods we eat and the lifestyle we lead. A predisposition to heart disease is not destined. Fortunately, there are several simple steps you can follow to reduce and virtually eliminate the risk for coronary artery disease, regardless of the genetic cards you’ve been dealt.
Step 1: Eat Fat with Your Heart in Mind
Diet is the single most important factor which controls the actions of your genes. The nutritional content of each bite of food directly impacts and influences how each gene activates, and scientists are able to track subtle changes which take place after each meal. Diets which are high in hydrogenated trans fats such as fried foods are particularly damaging from a genetic perspective.
It’s important to understand that not all fats are the same when it comes to heart health. For a half century, saturated fats have been maligned, and most have been advised to avoid them at all cost. Nothing could be further from the truth, as these fats play an essential role in cellular health.
Omega-3 fats from fish and fish oil are essential to the prevention and treatment of heart disease. Ensure that the ratio of Omega-6 fats (from vegetable oil sources) to Omega-3 fats is no higher than 4:1 to reduce systemic inflammation and proliferation of coronary disease.
Step 2: Limit Refined Carbs and Wheat Based Foods
Extensive scientific data is mounting which correlates excessive consumption of wheat-based foods with progression of coronary artery disease. Wheat has been a part of the human diet for a relatively short period of our evolutionary history, and genetically we’re not well equipped to digest these grains.
To make matters worse, most foods made with wheat have been highly refined, stripping out any beneficial fiber which cause wild swings in blood sugar levels. Limit or fully eliminate wheat and refined carbs to avoid dangerous triglyceride and oxidized LDL cholesterol levels.
Step 3: Supplement with Heart Friendly Nutrients
People who are genetically predisposed to heart disease, as well as those with the desire to prevent this silent killer will want to supplement with a targeted nutritional cocktail which has been shown to stop coronary artery disease in its tracks. The B complex vitamins along with C and E provide critical support for the heart, as long as they are taken in their natural forms.
Magnesium, Selenium, Chromium and Potassium are essential minerals. It’s important to note that a daily multi vitamin doesn’t provide the proper amount or type of these critical nutrients. Choose a non-synthetic source made from whole foods. The amino acids Lysine and Proline in combination with Vitamin C (The Pauling Therapy) can be used for advanced protection against heart disease.
Research has uncovered the genetic link to heart disease which many have suspected since the beginning of modern medicine. We’re now able to use gene mapping to understand how this disease develops, and more important, how we can affect our diet and lifestyle to reduce our risk factors, and prevent and even treat coronary artery disease.