Heart health is incredibly important for a person, particularly as he or she ages. However, it can be difficult for some people to maintain a healthy aorta.

New research from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests eating a calorie-restricted diet could keep the heart acting up to 20 years younger, which is good news for those in elderly care who have been eating healthy as a part of senior living.

The study's authors found that the rate of a major factor in helping the heart adapt to stress, physical activity and other instances where the organ pumps blood does not decline nearly as quickly in people who have been on a restricted diet for at least seven. The researchers are encouraged by these surprising findings.

"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 Dr. Luigi Fontana, 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."

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