Thursday 23 Oct 2014

Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

Simple Science @Heart: Hunter-gatherers in remote lands have heart-healthy lifestyles

Published: 3:00 pm CDT, May 21, 2012

In some remote locales, entire cultures of people eat only what they grow or kill. It turns out that these hunter-gathers generally have healthier hearts than people in modernized society, according to two new studies in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

One group of researchers studied the Tsimane people from the tropical lowlands of Bolivia’s Amazon basin. They live on plantains, rice, corn, manioc, fish and hunted game – and they have lower age-related increases in blood pressure than people in most countries.

The other study looked at the effect of aging on atherosclerosis in traditional Pygmies, who live in the equatorial forests of Cameroon in Africa. Their risk was considered lower than other local semi-modern populations.

Researchers say lifestyle factors of these traditional populations — high physical activity and diets loaded with fruits and vegetables — may protect against normal aging effects, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.


Related Information:


Researcher Information:

Michael Gurven, Ph.D., anthropology professor and chairman of the University of California-Santa Barbara’s Integrative Anthropological Sciences Unit.

Daniel Lemogoum, M.D., M.P.H., cardiologist at the Hypertension Clinic at Hôpital Erasme of the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium.


  • Jennifer

    I have high blood pressure mylesf. Stroke is not the only thing to worry about with high blood pressure, there are other issues as well; heart, kidneys, etc. It’s very important to avoid salt. Don’t have a salt shaker at the table. Don’t add salt in cooking. Don’t purchase or eat foods that are packaged, pre-prepared, processed, cured, canned, pickled, or frozen. They are all VERY high in sodium, too high for someone with high blood pressure.There are also seasoning blends that contain salt as well that he will have to avoid and condiments should be limited to small amounts (ketchup, mustard, etc.). Your father needs to eat fresh food, prepared at home, without salt. He will have to learn to use seasonings without salt like Mrs. Dash, curry powder, etc. for flavour. Your father should also make sure he drinks plenty of water, at least 2 litres per day or more. Caffeine also raises blood pressure so if he’s a coffee drinker he needs to cut back. I’m down to about 1/2 a cup a day though that’s a little extreme. 1 cup or maybe 2 on occasion is plenty. He should stop drinking any sodas/pops with caffeine such as Coke, Pepsi, etc.Controlling blood pressure with medication alone is not enough. He must also cut way back on salt, eat a healthy diet, and get adequate exercise. A brisk walk every evening would do him a world of good.