[3/18/17] A South American tribe with a highly active lifestyle has the healthiest arteries of any population yet studied, say researchers.
The Tsimane people, who live in the Bolivian Amazon, spend most of every day hunting, fishing, farming and gathering wild fruits and nuts, and follow a carbohydrate-based diet containing little protein and fat.
Scientists who examined hundreds of men and women from the group found that almost nine out of 10 had clear arteries showing no risk of heart disease.
Almost two thirds of people aged over 75 were nearly risk free and just eight per cent had a moderate-to-high risk level.
One 80-year-old had arteries resembling those of Americans in their mid-fifties.
The American lead scientist, Professor Hillard Kaplan, from the University of New Mexico, said: “Our study shows that the Tsimane indigenous South Americans have the lowest prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) of any population yet studied.
“Their lifestyle suggests that a diet low in saturated fats and high in non-processed fibre-rich carbohydrates, along with wild game and fish, not smoking and being active throughout the day could help prevent hardening in the arteries of the heart.
“The loss of subsistence diets and lifestyles could be classed as a new risk factor for vascular ageing and we believe that components of this way of life could benefit contemporary sedentary populations.”
While people living in cities are sedentary for more than half their waking hours, the Tsimane are inactive for only 10 per cent of the day.