How often have you said to someone, “You’ve got great hair,” and had him or her grin back, “Lucky genes!” But what if that person — or you — also got some unlucky genes? Most of us inherited grandma’s arthritis or dad’s bald spot or mom’s iffy ticker. But listen up: You have more control over your genes than you think.
There’s some terrific new evidence of this: Say there’s heart disease all over your family. Feel like you’re genetically doomed? Nope. In fact, prepare to say “boo” to those family-health ghosts. If you all share a common bad heart gene (9p21), loading your diet with fresh veggies and fruit — smart anyway — cuts your risk of the family heart attack so much that it’s as if you didn’t get the gene. Something in fresh produce, especially veggies, turns this genetic bully into a wimp.
Another example: You and your neighbor both have the gene. You’re not a nutritional saint (dessert happens), but your diet is also stuffed with carrots, broccoli, spinach, berries, apples, avocados and artichokes. Your neighbor eats a typical American diet (meaty, sugary, salty, fatty). Your heart attack risk will plunge. Your neighbor’s? It doubles.
We YOU Docs have seen way too much heart disease: Our first jobs were cardiac surgeon (Dr. Oz) and anesthesiologist (Dr. Mike). We’d love to never see a heart patient again.
The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic, are authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” For more information go to www.RealAge.com.