While fruits and vegetables have been extolled for years as heart-healthy antioxidants the direct antioxidant benefits of their chemicals have been exaggerated. Lots of healthy foods deliver much of their benefit by causing alterations in metabolism. To do that they must cause changes in genetic regulation. Here is some research that shows grapes turn on genes that boost an internally synthesized antioxidant called glutathione.
A study appearing in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry¹ demonstrates that grapes are able to reduce heart failure associated with chronic high blood pressure (hypertension) by increasing the activity of several genes responsible for antioxidant defense in the heart tissue. Grapes are a known natural source of antioxidants and other polyphenols, which researchers believe to be responsible for the beneficial effects observed with grape consumption. This study, funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and conducted at the University of Michigan Health System, uncovered a novel way that grapes exert beneficial effects in the heart: influencing gene activities and metabolic pathways that improve the levels of glutathione, the most abundant cellular antioxidant in the heart.
Some foods slow the rate of aging by appearing to be toxic while not really being toxic. By activating certain forms of cellular defenses they can cause cells to behave in ways that will reduce the vulnerability of cells to real toxins (e.g. to internally generated free radicals or toxins coming in from the environment). For example, some foods turn up activity of enzymes in the liver that break down toxins.
An estimated 1 billion people worldwide have hypertension, which increases the risk of heart failure by 2 to 3-fold. Heart failure resulting from chronic hypertension can result in an enlarged heart muscle that becomes thick and rigid (fibrosis), and unable to fill with blood properly (diastolic dysfunction) or pump blood effectively. Oxidative stress is strongly correlated with heart failure, and deficiency of glutathione is regularly observed in both human and animal models of heart failure. Antioxidant-rich diets, containing lots of fruits and vegetables, consistently correlate with reduced hypertension.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables in order to alter your genetic regulation in ways that might add 5 or 10 years to your life. At the same time, be very supportive of stem cell and gene therapy research because you will still get old and develop diseases of old age no matter what you eat.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2013 May 03 11:21 PM|