Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

South American group has the healthiest arteries ever seen

South American group has the healthiest arteries ever seen

Hardening of the arteries, known as coronary atherosclerosis, which leads to coronary heart disease and angina is FIVE TIMES less common than in the U.S., according to the research published in The Lancet.

His team visited 85 Tsimane villages over the course of 11 years, and analysed heart disease risk using CT X-ray scans. The results are the lowest reported levels of vascular ageing of any population recorded to date.

Yes, carbs have been demonised by fad diets for years and yet this group of incredibly heart healthy people primarily subsists on them.

Tim Chico, consultant cardiologist and reader in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, said it was important "not to romanticise the Tsimane existence".

They discovered, nearly nine in 10 of the Tsimane people (85 per cent) had no risk of heart disease, and only three per cent had moderate or high risk.

On average, Tsimane women have nine children. In addition, the Tsimane people in the study had blood tests to measure cholesterol levels and inflammation.

One 80-year-old had arteries so healthy that they resembled those of people more than twenty years younger living in the US. The women are physically active between four and six hours daily averaging about 16,000 steps per day.

For example, the Tsimane diet consists of 14 percent protein, 14 percent fat and 72 percent fiber-rich carbohydrates, including corn, plantains and manioc, which is a starchy root, the researchers wrote. "They mainly use cigarettes to burn these huge flies out of their skin, down there in the rainforest", he said.

In scrutinizing the Tsimane people, researchers found that their lifestyles are the polar opposite of sedentary Americans. Are the Tsimane people some kind of superhuman group impervious to disease?

Scientists searched for coronary artery calcium or "CAC", which signifies that arteries are clogged, and the individual can be in danger of a heart attack.

The findings from the Tsimane also cast some doubt on inflammation as a cause of hardened arteries, which has been a popular theory, Thomas added. Nevertheless, this inflammation does not appear to have had any effect on their arterial health.

"The guidelines aren't created to maximally reduce your risk", Jacoby said. The health benefits of the Tsimane lifestyle did not stop there.

While the authors admit that Americans won't be lacing up their Nikes to go hunting anytime soon, they do think there are practical lessons we can take away from the Tsimane.

The researchers weren't able to fully answer why the Tsimane people have such a lower risk for heart disease, but their lifestyles likely play a major role.

SOURCES: Gregory Thomas, M.D., MPH, medical director, MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Memorial, Long Beach, Calif.; Kim Williams, M.D., immediate past president, American College of Cardiology, and chief, cardiology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; Douglas Jacoby, M.D., medical director, Penn Medicine Center for Preventive Cardiology and Lipid Management, Philadelphia; March 17, 2017, The Lancet, online; March 17, 2017, presentation, American College of Cardiology annual meeting, Washington, D.C.

Like this: