The Amazon Tribe that Evades Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading killer of both women and men in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year approximately 610,000 people die from this serious condition. But, what if there were people on the planet that have an almost zero incidence of this deadly disease? Perhaps we could learn from those people as to how to avoid the condition altogether and reverse it among those already suffering from it?

Fortunately, an anthropological study found that the Tsimane people of the Amazon almost never suffer from heart disease. And, that’s not all: the tribe rarely suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes too. What’s the secret to their success? According to the researchers who published their study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the diet of these healthy people is to thank for their ability to evade such a serious conditions.

The Tsimane people have been minimally impacted by food trends around the world and buy only a small amount of their food from markets. The researchers also found that they eat a high carbohydrate diet, getting 64 percent of their daily caloric intake from carbohydrates, 21 percent from protein, and a surprisingly low amount of fat with only 15 percent of their intake coming from fats. Carbohydrates form nearly two-thirds of their diet with rice and plantain acting as staples.

The dietary guidelines for Americans recommend getting 45 to 65 percent of carbs, 10 to 30 percent from protein and 28 to 35 percent from fat. The Tsimane people are on the high side of the carb recommendations, middle of the protein recommendations, and much lower than the fat recommendations, suggesting that the guidelines may need revising in consideration of such profound evidence that the Tsimane diet is superior to just about any diet around the world. Of course, the particular foods they eat should also be considered, since caloric intake only provides a small amount of the picture.

The Tsimane purchase only 8 percent of their food from stores. Additionally, they eat over 40 different species of fish. The researchers also found that, unlike most people of the western world, they suffer from few nutritional deficiencies and have high intakes of magnesium, potassium and selenium. Considering that the researchers believe the Tsimane have the healthiest hearts of any they’ve seen, it’s not surprising that their diets have high amounts of magnesium and potassium—two critical minerals for heart health and for which many people who eat a Standard American Diet (SAD) are deficient.

The Tsimane eat almost twice as much fiber in their diet as most Americans. While they have traditionally eaten only small amounts of oil, salt and sugar, pressures from globalization are causing them to start eating more of these less-than-healthy foods.

They are also highly active people. While they don’t engage in routine exercise, they remain highly active by growing or foraging foods from fields and forests.

Maybe we would all benefit from becoming more involved in growing our own food. My husband, Curtis, and I have been increasing the amount of food we grow or forage over many years. It’s a seriously great way to stay active and engaged with the food we put into our bodies while also reducing our environmental impact. Not only is the resulting food typically higher in nutrition, it is also lower in pesticides and other toxic chemicals we shouldn’t be putting into our bodies. It seems that the Tsimane people have figured out how to maintain a healthy heart and body, while also living in harmony with nature.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, founder of Scent-sational Wellness, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, & Cooking. Follow her work.

 

52 comments

Frances G
Carla Gabout a month ago

tyfs

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Hannah A
Hannah A1 months ago

Thank you

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Leo Custer
Leo C1 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Michael F
Michael F1 months ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Ellie L
Emma L1 months ago

Thank you

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara1 months ago

This article doesn't say how long these good people live, which is probably not more than fifty, nor how tall they grow, probably not five feet, nor what health issues like parasites and malaria they have to cope with.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara1 months ago

not a balanced article

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara1 months ago

th

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Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola1 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Ruth S
Ruth S1 months ago

Thanks.

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