Research carried out by the University of New Mexico recently found that a small tribe known as The Tsimane as having the healthiest arteries of all populations ever tested. The results were so profound that they found the typical 80 year old within this population had the artery health of a 40 year old in the Western world.
The study carried out between 2014-2015 analysed hardening of coronary arteries using a CT scan of 705 indigenous Tsimane adults, as well as weight, age, heart rate, cholesterol, bloody glucose levels, inflammation and blood pressure. The results indicated 9/10 showed no chance of heart disease. Compared to data taken from the U.S which identified 50% of subjects were at moderate to high risk of developing heart disease.
It comes as no surprise that the key contributors to these results are thought to be a combination of both lifestyle and diet. Their diet is comprised of minimal amounts of saturated fat (11g per day), fibre rich, fairly low-glycaemic carbohydrates, such as plantain, rice and corn and no transfat. Their activity levels day-to-day are also very high, often ranging upward in duration to 7 hours of physical activity per day, consisting of hunting, fishing and farming.
Adhering to this optimized lifestyle in a Western society is not a realistic goal, however the takeaway message from this study should be to prepare as many of your meals yourself using natural ingredients, ditching the high-glycaemic processed foods, for natural carbohydrate sources, such as yams and quinoa. This combined with a well-rounded training programme that focuses on developing endurance muscle strength, flexibility and mobility will set you in good stead for achieving sound cardiac health.