Scientists Discover a Group of People With the Healthiest Hearts
Almost like a scene from a movie, scientists happened upon a small group of indigenous people in a rainforest. What they found about their heart health astounded them.
Researchers, including Kansas City-based cardiologist Dr. Randall Thompson, ventured into the Amazon rainforest and may have found the cure-all for heart problems.
They studied a Bolivan indigenous group of people totaling only 16,000. They're called the Tsimane. They were startled when they examined their cardiovascular systems because they found that the middle-aged members of these indigenous people have arteries equivalent to that of Westerners in their 20s!
In fact, the Tsimane broke world records because they were found to have the lowest amount of clogged arteries out of any of the world's populations to date. Actually, 90 percent of Tsminae were found to have virtually no risk of developing cardiovascular disease!
The scientists theorize that the key is their lifestyle. If you visit their society, you'll see they wear jeans, shirts, and other modernized garments. But their society is living like ancient humans – hunter-gatherers. If you could compare them to paleo diet practitioners, they're the real deal. Not only do they eat a diet with little fat or sugar, but their hunter-gathering activities equates to four to seven hours of exercise everyday.
They also don't smoke or drink – and if they do, it's on very rare occasions. Their whole lifestyle answers questions about the current lifestyle diseases plaguing our modern societies. Is the caveman life really the most ideal for your health? Were you really built to spend all day hunting, swimming, foraging, and carrying heavy resources to keep your body healthy?
The answer, sadly, seems to be yes. When motorized canoes and processed foods slowly started making their way into the Tsimane society, their cholesterol levels increased.
But should you trade the keyboard for a hunting spear? Swedish cardiologist Dr. Joep Perk says no. He doesn't advise trading your intellectual endeavors with primitive duties because it would be impractical. He does advise that you spend half an hour each day doing activities that leave you breathless (vigorous exercise).
Here are a few more things you can do to help protect your heart:
Have dark chocolate. Do you like chocolate? Maybe you'll enjoy dark chocolate! Have a daily glass of 100 percent cocoa mixed with hot water. You can sweeten it with stevia. Researchers found that dark chocolate can reverse the effects of plaque buildup by boosting your cardiovascular functions.
Drink pomegranate juice. Pomegranate juice seems to be another heart healthy food. Atherosclerosis patients who drank it between one to three years experienced a reversal of the disease's symptoms. The carotid artery inima-media thickness decreased by about 30 percent. Blood pressure and other effects of atherosclerosis decreased significantly.
If you want to be like the Tsimane and have no heart problems for life, you'll have to exercise for a minimum of four hours everyday – but doctors say 30 minutes of vigorous exercise everyday should be enough to keep your heart almost as healthy. You can also try drinking dark chocolate and pomegranate juice.