December 2009 Issue

Under the Microscope: The Nutrition-Gene Connection

What if you had a personal profile of which foods were best suited to your genetic makeup to keep your genes disease-free for life? Food can act as medicine—or wreak havoc on the body—depending on the nutrients and on the person eating them. Blueberries are heart-healthy, tomatoes protect the prostate and fish is good for the brain—but only for certain people. When it comes to how the body processes nutrients, each person’s unique genetic makeup determines how their cells respond to what they eat. Genes can explain a number of nutritional phenomena, such as why some people can adhere to a low-saturated fat and high-plant food diet, yet still be prone to high blood cholesterol levels.

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