Lo-Cal Diet Keeps Heart Young
Calorie restriction has long been cited as a possible ploy to achieve longevity. Now researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found some evidence that eating less may indeed prolong life. The team discovered that the heart’s ability to adapt to physical activity and stress doesn’t decline as quickly in people who have significantly restricted their caloric intake for an average of seven years. The have hearts that function more like those of people who are a full 20 years younger. The average age of the 44 study participants was 52.
The findings were published online in the journal Aging Cell.
“This is really striking because in studying changes in heart rate variability, we are looking at a measurement that tells us a lot about the way the autonomic nervous system affects the heart,” says Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, the study’s senior author. “And that system is involved not only in heart function, but in digestion, breathing rate, and many other involuntary actions. We would hypothesize that better heart rate variability may be a sign that all these other functions are working better, too.”
A word to the wise, however: Don't attempt a calorie restricted regimen without your doctor's approval!