Can you make your heart 30 years younger? Dr. John Day explains how the Tsimane tribesmen, living in the Amazon rain forest have done just that. Day explains the research of Dr. Hillard Kaplan, whose team visited 85 Tsimane villages. The Tsimane don’t get heart disease according to Day. He writes:
For decades now, Dr. Hillard Kaplan, and his colleagues from the National Institute on Aging and St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, have been fascinated with the Tsimane people living in the Amazon jungle who don’t get heart disease. This study, which was recently picked up by worldwide media outlets, represents the culmination of their findings.
Dr. Kaplan’s research team visited 85 villages of Tsimane people. To determine exactly how much heart disease was present in these people, they performed CT scans of every adult Tsimane they could find. In total, they scanned the hearts of 705 Tsimane. They also looked at other factors associated with heart disease like high blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, etc.
For those who don’t work in the medical field, a CT scan looking for coronary artery calcification is considered the best screening test to determine if someone has clogged up arteries or heart disease. As readers know, the single most important factor as to whether someone gets clogged up arteries or not is their lifestyle. Also, the degree to which someone gets this hardening of the heart arteries determines, to a large extent, how long someone will live.
Here is what they found. Of the 705 adult Tsimane people studied, fully 85% had no evidence of any plaque build up in their arteries. This represents a coronary artery calcium score of zero which is the best score you can get from this test. Even more remarkable was that of those Tsimane over age 75, 65% still had no heart plaque whatsoever.
To put these findings in perspective, almost all Americans over 75 will have at least some plaque build up or hardening of the arteries in their heart. No other group of people in the world have ever had such low levels of atherosclerosis documented before in a medical study.
Day writes that there are five secrets to the the diet of the Tsimane people:
- They eat a high carboyhydrate diet
- They only eat lean wild meat
- They eat a low fat diet
- They average 17,000 steps daily
- They live socially connected lives
Read more from Day here, where he explains these five secrets of the Tsimane diet.
We Are What We Eat: Bolivia
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