Monday, June 25, 2012
Publishing in the journal Aging Cell, researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that people who restrict their caloric intake in an effort to live longer have hearts that function more like those in people who are 20 years younger. As heart disease is the leading cause of death in western cultures, this is a finding of critical importance. Would you be willing to cut calories by 400 to 600 each day to dramatically lower your risk of dying from heart disease or a heart attack?
Calorie restriction practices dramatically improve heart health to extend lifespan
People consuming a high-calorie ad libitum (unrestricted) diet typically follow a very predictive curve where the heart's ability to adapt to physical activity, stress, sleep and other factors that influence the rate at which the heart pumps blood slowly declines, ultimately leading to heart failure and cardiovascular disease. People who have significantly restricted their caloric intake for an average of seven years do not exhibit the same rate of decline and maintain heart function similar to those twenty years younger.
Researchers studied 22 CR participants by connecting them to portable heart monitors and comparing them to a second group that did not follow a CR regimen. With an average age just over 51, the CR group ate nutritionally-optimized healthy diets but consumed 30 percent fewer calories than normal. The study team found heart rates were significantly lower in the CR group, while their heart rate variability was significantly higher. The findings were consistent with a group aged in their early thirties.
Lead study author, Dr. Luigi Fontana noted "We looked at normal levels of heart rate variability among people at different ages, and we found that those who practice CR have hearts that look and function like they are years younger." Dr. Fontana concluded "heart rate variability is better in people who practice CR and that means more than just their cardiovascular systems are flexible... the better ratio suggests improved health in general." To practice calorie restriction, begin by cutting 10 to 15 percent of calories daily, and slowly work to reduce calorie intake by as much as 25 percent to optimize heart health and extend natural lifespan.
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