There are many individuals who are genetically predisposed to diseases, but now, a breakthrough shines a ray of light on what was once thought of as an inescapable heath risk. According to a Science Daily report, researchers from Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University and from CIBER Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y NutriciÏŒn in Spain have found that a certain type of gene responds to the Mediterranean diet in a way that could lessen the chances of stroke.

The results were based on a trial which involved more than 7,000 men and women who were either given a Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet. The participants were monitored for cardiovascular conditions, heart attack, and stroke for approximately five years.

The researchers zoned in on how both diets affected a gene called Transcription Factor 7-Like 2 (TCF7L2), which has been linked to glucose metabolism. About 14 percent of the participants had two copies of the gene, making them more predisposed to stroke.

After the trial, they found that the Mediterranean diet seemed very effective in reducing stroke risk. "Being on the Mediterranean diet reduced the number of strokes in people with two copies of the variant. The food they ate appeared to eliminate any increased stroke susceptibility, putting put them on an even playing field with people with one or no copies of the variant,” senior author José M. Ordovás, Ph.D. explains.

A Mediterranean diet commonly consists of olive oil, fish, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Although this seems like the best option for those who have a history of stroke in their family, it is important to visit a doctor or a nutritionist before making sudden diet changes.

(Photo by Lydia Pintscher via Flickr Creative Commons)

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