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Healthy Diet May Cut Heart Risk From 'Bad' Genes

Study Shows Healthy Diet May Offset Bad Genes for Heart Disease

Can Diet Trump Genes? continued...

For the Finnish study, diet information was collected from a questionnaire that included 130 food items. The score was based on intake of fruit, vegetables, and berries. Those who ate at least two out of those three foods daily earned the prudent rating.

The risk of heart attack for those with the bad genes who ate the least prudent diet was increased about 30%, Anand tells WebMD. "The risk [of heart attack] of those with the bad genotype who were in the high prudent diet group was not increased," she tells WebMD. This suggests that diet can weaken the effect of the genetic variation, the researchers say.

Healthy Diet and Heart Disease Risk: Perspective

The study findings suggest that lifestyle does matter, no matter what your genes have dealt you, says Eric Topol, MD, professor of translational genomics at The Scripps Research Institute and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

He reviewed the study findings for WebMD.

"This suggests you may be able to do something about it [bad genes] if you follow a prudent diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.

"I think this is a very sound report," he says. "It's really one of the first solid evidence of this whole field of nutrigenomics."

Nutrigenomics is defined as the way genes interact with nutrients.

The researchers found a dose response, Topol says. The worse the diet, the higher the risk of heart attack. The better the diet, the lower the risk.

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