The world’s cleanest arteries

The world’s cleanest arteries

If you scour the globe, you can still find groups of people living as they have for many hundreds of years – gathering, hunting, fishing and engaging in subsistence farming.  Communities basically separated from the modern world.

And guess what?  These people don’t get heart disease.

A study reported this week in Lancet detailed levels of coronary calcium in members of the Tsimane tribe living in Bolivia.  Calcium in heart arteries is a marker of underlying plaque build-up and can be detected by a CT scanner. 

Amazingly, two thirds of tribe members over the age of 75 had a coronary calcium score of 0 - meaning that no plaque was detected.  I would tell you that I have NEVER seen a 0 calcium score in an individual in this age group.

What does this tell us?  1. Heart disease is not inevitable.  2. Lifestyle has a major role to play.

Here are some facts about the Tsimane lifestyle:

  • 70% of their diet is comprised of non-processed carbohydrates that are high in fiber - such as brown rice, plantains, cassava (a starchy tuber), nuts and fruits.
  • Protein, from animal meat, accounts for only 14 per cent of their diet and fat makes up the same proportion.
  • They spend 4 to 7 hours a day engaged in physical activity
  • They don’t smoke
  • Their average LDL (bad) cholesterol is around 90 mg/dL
  • Obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar are, predictably, very rare.

You may not have the time to be as physically active as the Tsimanes, but you can achieve everything else.  And, twice per day, Step One Foods has your back on the nutrition piece and on the LDL. 

 by Elizabeth Klodas MD, FACC 

Back To Blogs