2013, Number 1
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ABSTRACTThe people of Latin America have a genome with evolutionary adaptations to food and culture. Since pre-Hispanic times, the Mexicans have developed a traditional diet based on corn and beans which provided the essential amino acids necessary for protein synthesis, as well as a resistant starch protective against cancer. Soluble fiber obtained from cactus plants provided a healthy glucose and lipid homeostasis. Edible green leaves quelites co-evolved with the 677T allele of the MTHFR gene with a reduced enzyme activity and pumpkin seeds, chia and amaranth provided essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that modulate the inflammatory response. While the presence of AVI haplogroup of the TAS38 type 2 receptor gene favored the consumption of chili and bitter greens, the C-13910 allele of the LCT gene discouraged milk consumption. After the Spanish conquest, the genetic and cultural admixture both shifted the balance between our genes and our ancestral environment, which may now place humans at risk for the development of chronic diseases. Therefore, the Mexican population even though culturally modern should strive to conserve the consumption of traditional ethnic foods that originally shaped their genetic history.
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