¿Dietas de diseño?

A lo largo de nuestra vida, nos vemos expuestos a una mezcla compleja de compuestos alimentarios. Procesos bioquímicos intrincados extraen de los alimentos la energía y otros componentes útiles que nos permiten crecer y funcionar. Muchos compuestos, que en el pasado parecían carecer de importancia, están reconocidos ahora por su influencia en nuestra salud. Por ejemplo, el licopene de las salsas de tomate cocido puede contribuir a prevenir el cáncer de próstata.

En realidad, todo el mundo sabe que los alimentos pueden tener repercusiones positivas o negativas en la salud. Puede que no curen nunca una enfermedad determinada, pero las dietas ricas en frutas y verduras, cereales y aceites vegetales ofrecen protección contra muchos cánceres, las enfermedades cardiovasculares y otras asociadas con la vejez. El problema, para los científicos y también para los consumidores, es que los beneficios no son los mismos para todos.

Por eso, necesitamos entender la relación entre lo que comemos y nuestro cuerpo –o, más concretamente, nuestros genes- y sus efectos en nuestra salud. Ésa es la ciencia de la nutrigenómica. El fin a largo plazo de la nutrigenómica es el de determinar cómo reacciona todo el cuerpo a los alimentos mediante la llamada “biología de sistemas”.

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