According to a new study published in The Lancet, the Tsimane (pronounced chee-MAH-nay) — an indigenous people of lowland Bolivia — have the lowest reported levels of coronary artery disease of any population recorded to date, with coronary atherosclerosis being five times less common than in the United States.
“The lifestyle of the Tsimane people suggests that a diet low in saturated fats and high in non-processed fiber-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,” said lead author Professor Hillard Kaplan, from the University of New Mexico.
“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.”
Although the Tsimane lifestyle is very different from that of contemporary society, certain elements of it are transferable and could help to reduce risk of heart disease.
While industrial populations are sedentary for more than half of their waking hours (54%), the Tsimane spend only 10% of their daytime being inactive.
They live a subsistence lifestyle that involves hunting, gathering, fishing and farming, where men spend an average of 6-7 hours of their day being physically active and women spend 4-6 hours.
Their diet is largely…