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Monday, January 16, 2006

Caloric restriction keeps heart young

Eating a nutritionally balanced diet with the amount of calories reduced by 30 percent can significantly slow the aging process in the heart, according to a new study scheduled to appear in the Jan. 17 issue of the American College of Cardiology.

The study showed the hearts of those whose caloric intake was restricted functioned like the hearts of much younger people.

Dr. Luigi Fontana, of Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues, examined 25 people who were voluntarily using a diet with 1,400 to 2,000 calories per day for an average of six years. The study compared their heart function with age- and gender-matched individuals who ate a typical Western diet with 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day.

Ultrasound scans showed the hearts of those on a calorie-restricted diet seemed more elastic compared with the control and they were able to relax between beats, which is commonly found in younger people. Also, those on the calorie-restricted diet had one-third of the body fat found in those who ate the Western diet.

Cardiac function is on the decline as people age. As people get older, the heart pumps less blood in the diastolic phase. This prompts the atrium to work harder to pump a sufficient amount of blood into the ventricle in a second phase.

"This decline in diastolic function is a marker of primary aging," Fontana said.
Continue reading: Caloric restriction keeps heart young.


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