Hunter-Gatherer Lifestyle Still Good for Health

Two new studies appearing in the journal Hypertension show that a traditional hunter-gatherer or foraging lifestyle is good for your heart and health.

Looking at groups in both the Amazon region and Africa, researchers found that these groups of people have lower age related increases in blood pressure and experience less hardening of the arteries than people with more modern lifestyles.

Why would this be possible in two groups that would be considered primitive from a medical point of view?

According to the studies, lifestyle factors are the main reason; high levels of physical activity, large amounts of fruits and vegetables and lower caloric intake are common and may offer protection against health problems commonly referred to as chronic diseases, even though they are  living in conditions with greater exposure to pathogens.

In the Amazon the study looked at almost 2,300 adults. The people live in the lowlands and live on plantains, rice, corn, manioc, fish and hunted game.  Only 3% have high blood pressure, compared with 33% of U.S. adults.

In Africa, pygmies in the forests of Cameroon were compared to nearby semi-urbanized Pygmies and farmers known as the Bantou.  The study showed that the effect of aging on atherosclerosis is significantly reduced by a traditional lifestyle and the risk of atherosclerosis was almost 20% lower among the traditional hunter-gatherers.

Eating a variety of non-processed, fresh, natural whole foods along with regular activity is the key to optimal health.  We need to go back to the basics.  Studying our ancestors and those who still live like them reveal that with all our modern convenience advantages, we are moving in wrong direction when it comes to diet and lifestyle choices.

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