NPR

Who Has The Healthiest Hearts In The World?

Move over Japanese women. You've been dethroned as the population with the healthiest hearts. This group of people can fight off heart disease even into their 80s. What's their secret?
Jose, a member of the Tsimane group who's 75 years old, stands in the plantain field he planted in Bolivia's Amazon rain forest. Source: Matthieu Paley

A few years ago, Dr. Gregory Thomas thought he had finally found the Holy Grail of heart disease. And it was even found in a tomb.

He was studying the arteries of 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummies, and he thought this was finally it: a culture that would be free of heart disease. Heart disease couldn't be more than 3,000 years old, could it?

Man, he was disappointed.

"The mummies had a great deal of atherosclerosis in their peripheral arteries," says Thomas, who directs the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at

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