Scientists are just beginning to understand how our genes interact with our environment to increase or decrease our risk for certain diseases. In a study that explores this complexity, researchers from Stanford University looked at 18 genetic variants known to be linked to type 2 diabetes and five potential environmental contributors.
Using statistical analysis, the team, led by Dr. Atul Butte, determined that people with high blood levels of beta-carotene had a lower risk of developing diabetes, while those with high vitamin E levels were at increased risk. Vitamin E is found in corn, soybean, and canola oils as well as peanuts and tree nuts. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body and is in carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and greens.