Mummies found around the world all had heart disease
Everyone thinks they know the right way to eat. The Paleo people think you should eat meat and vegetables. The low-fat people think you should eat low-fat. The Weston Price people think you should eat coleslaw and bacon and chug buttermilk. But a recent look at the arteries of several mummified bodies from around the world, all of whom ate different diets in life, demonstrates that, wow, all of these people had atherosclerosis — the serious hardening of the arteries that causes heart disease.
The mummy from Peru who ate a lot of beans and complex carbohydrates? Atherosclerosis. The mummy from the Aleutians who ate a lot of meat and vegetables? Atherosclerosis. The other mummies were from Egypt, and for some reason no one mentions what they ate, but here’s what’s important: No matter what it was, they also got atherosclerosis.
This would seem to contradict the popular idea that with the right diet and exercise we can control our health. Could it be that these things are beyond our control? Should we all just eat pumpkin pie with ice cream and sit around because, obviously, nothing matters? Probably an extreme reaction. But certainly none of these mummies would object.
- Hardening of the arteries common in ancient mummies , Washington Post
Get Grist in your inbox