An article in today’s Telegraph, details startling new research that claims that “the leading cause of heart disease and stroke has been linked for the first time to a person’s diet and chemicals in the urine”.
Wow! A link between diet & health.
The study is apparently the first to link blood pressure to a person’s metabolic fingerprint.
Metabolic fingerprint is a catchy way of describing the the unique metabolites that are left behind by specific cellular processes. In this case, the scientists were looking at the metabolites (small molecules) found in urine, which reveal the way food is broken down in the body.
Getting to the point…
Western diets (rich in meat, high in alcohol and low in fibre) are bad.
People who eat a diet high in animal protein (indicated by the metabolite alanine being present in urine) have higher blood pressure, eat more calories, have higher cholesterol and body mass indexes.
People who eat diets higher in starches such as rice (indicated by the metabolite formate) have lower blood pressure and ingest fewer calories.
People who have healthy levels of gut flora (reduced by antibiotic use, increased by prebiotics and probiotics and indicated by the presence of hippurate in the urine) also have lower blood pressure. Hippurate is also present in the urine of individuals with low levels of alcohol intake and higher levels of dietary fibre.
While comparing the metabolic fingerprints of study participants in the U.K., United States, China and Japan, the scientists concluded that test subjects from the U.K. and the U.S.A. have similar genetic and metabolic profiles. In contrast, while the Chinese and Japanese participants had similar genetic profiles, they had different metabolic fingerprints.
What was most interesting was the comparison of the native Japanese participants with those Japanese individuals living in the U.S.A..
Japanese-Americans displayed a typical American metabolic fingerprint; indicating that lifestyle has a stronger effect on blood pressure & heart disease than genetics.
Eat more fruits & vegetables.
Thus endeth the lesson.