Restricting calorie intake in middle age can help improve heart health.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine found that people aged around 51 years of age who had restricted calorie intake for an average of seven years had healthier hearts than a group of the same age who ate standard Western diets.
Calorie restriction (CR) in the case of this study means to reduce calorie intake by around 30 per cent of what is considered the normal amount.
In a study of 22 CR practitioners and a control group of 20 people, the team found that those who used CR had lower heart rates and higher heart rate variability.
"Heart rate variability declines with age as our cardiovascular systems become less flexible, and poor heart rate variability is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular death," said Dr Luigi Fontana, the study's senior author.
However, he conceded that other factors may be at play as those easting CR diets were more likely to have a better level of overall health.
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