Primitive cultures that were, until recently, unexposed to the modern world, reveal some important insights into blood pressure.
The Yanomamo of South American, the Xingu Indians of Brazil, rural Kenyans, and the natives of Papua, New Guinea have average blood pressures of 103/63 mmHg. Even more incredibly, while 90% of modern Americans will develop high blood pressure as they age, the members of these primitive cultures do not develop age-related hypertension.
What’s the secret? Perhaps the full “secret” of their remarkably low blood pressure has not been fully unraveled, but several observations have emerged:
–They are not exposed to modern processed foods like pretzels, crackers, and breakfast cereals.
–Low-carbohydrate foods. Carbohydrates are largely the product of the food industry, convenience foods bought in stores. No such thing in the jungle.
–Living outdoors, having to forage and hunt, walk to your destination, not drive or wait in line for food.
–Outdoor lives, wearing little more than a few strands of clothing, exposes you to plentiful vitamin D activation from sunlight exposure.
–Consuming wild game, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, enhances endothelial health and reduces blood pressure.
–Wild plants, roots, and berries, as well as wild game, along the coast, are richer in iodine.
The studies examining the habits of the Yanomamo and other primitive cultures focused principally on sodium intake. Indeed, the very low sodium intake of primitive cultures was associated with lower blood pressure–up to 6 mmHg reduction. But there’s clearly more to learn than “cut your salt.”
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