Life Extension Magazine®

Food considered to be heart healthy by the CR Way

Making Your Heart Age Slower so it Lasts Longer

The most successful young-heart strategies protect against the way the heart ages. The CR Way Young-heart Strategy can reduce the age of your heart by up to 15 years.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Heidi Yanoti, DC, in May 2022. Written by: Paul McGlothin.

Your heart needs no introduction. It’s one of your body’s most important organs: When it goes, you go–and if it thrives, you will thrive too.

A youthful heart can help you live a vigorous, productive life, and protect against dementia.1 The other good news is you do not have to be young to have a young-functioning heart.

Ev, an impressive 82-year-old from Hawaii has been a CR Way member for five years. He follows the CR Way’s young-heart strategy and his results are terrific. His blood pressure is 90/70 mmHg, total cholesterol: 149 mg/dL, LDL: 80 mg/dL, triglycerides : 80 mg/dL, HbA1c: 4.5%, and fasting blood glucose: 72 mg/dL.

When you talk with Ev, you might think that he is in his 40s, or maybe 50s. It’s likely that his optimal cardiovascular system helps him sound young and communicate so effectively.

What is Your Young-Heart Strategy?


The American Heart Association’s (AHA) strategy for maintaining a healthy heart suggests four modifiable behaviors (not smoking, healthy weight, eating healthy foods, and being physically active) as well as three objective measures of cardiovascular and metabolic health (blood pressure control, lower cholesterol and blood sugar).2

If you want a normal lifespan of around 80 years, without developing cardiovascular disease, incorporate these conventional guidelines into your life.

To increase your chances of extending your life, slowing your rate of aging, and enjoying a quality of life like that of a person who is 10 or 15 years younger, check out the CR Way Young-Heart Strategy. The CR Way is for people who want an energetic lifestyle: working, hiking, painting their house, playing sports, making love–enjoying whatever activity they choose.

The chart on page 68 shows how the CR Way health behaviors and metrics compare to the American Heart Association’s.3

Addressing How Your Heart Ages

Starting with heart-healthy-living criteria is a great beginning, but the most successful young-heart strategies protect against the way the heart ages.

For example, as the years roll by, your heart and arteries can degenerate, becoming stiff with fibrous tissue. Stiffness impedes blood flow and the constant pumping action your heart must perform. Over time, fibrous remodeling can shorten how long your cardiovascular system lasts.

One potential way to counter some of the long-term buildup of cardiac stiffness is to lower Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-b). TGF-b activity can be reduced through good glucose control.

TGF-b refers to a group of polypeptide growth factors involved in a vast array of functions and pathways in the body.4 Unfortunately, excessive glucose can activate TGF- b-promoting fibrous tissue formation in the heart and other organs, including the kidneys and lungs.5,6

American Heart Association Behaviors and Metrics Compared to CR Way®


Living The CR Way*


(Never smoked or quit >1 year ago)


(Never smoked or quit >1 year ago)

BMI: 18.5 to 24.9

BMI: 19 to 23

Physical activity:

  • At least 150 minutes (moderate intensity) weekly,
  • or 75 minutes (vigorous) weekly

Physical activity:

  • 1 to 2 hours daily (moderate intensity)
  • Heavy weights twice weekly


  • Fruits and vegetables ≥4.5 cups daily
  • Fish (preferably oily) ≥two 3.5 oz. servings weekly
  • Fiber-rich whole grains (1.1 grams fiber per
    10 grams carbohydrate) ≥three 1 oz. equivalent servings daily
  • Sodium < 1,500 mg/dL
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages <450 kcal
    (36 oz. weekly)


  • Plant-based, optional fatty fish with high omega-3 content
  • Meals planned to keep your glucose at optimal levels and to activate longevity biochemistry, as described in The CR Way to Great Glucose Control

Total cholesterol: <200 mg/dL

Total cholesterol: <150 mg/dL

Blood pressure: <120/80 mmHg

Blood pressure: Average: 100/60 mmHg

Fasting blood glucose: <100 mg/dL

Fasting blood glucose: <80 mg/dL

* Note: This information is intended to be educational and informational and is not to be considered a
substitute for advice from a medical professional.

** U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Particle Pollution Designations Process:

Additional CR Way behaviors and metrics:

  • Deep, satisfying sleep
  • Friendly, supportive social network
  • Optimal microbiome health (reduced levels of pathogenic microbiota)
  • Regular sun exposure
  • Pure air to breathe (<40 PM2.5) **
  • 99.9% pure H20 for drinking & cooking
  • Annual blood tests, noninvasive heart and artery evaluations
  • Thorough dental cleanings and evaluations at least twice yearly

Let AMPK Manage Your Heart

Low glucose levels also help activate a heart-friendly manager that lives within you: Adenosine Monophosphate Activated Protein Kinase or AMPK.7

When new members join LivingTheCRWay, they learn how to activate AMPK through an online and telephone, nine-week course in glucose management: The CR Way to Great Glucose Control. A primary goal of the course is to help participants get their fasting glucose to healthy, low levels.

AMPK has beneficial effects for the cardiovascular system.8 CR Way practitioners often notice that their total cholesterol levels are reduced along with their LDL (bad cholesterol).

AMPK helps your body shift from fat storage to fat burning. Research shows that AMPK activation reduces atherosclerotic plaque formation in mice.9 And with the shift to fat burning, triglycerides are also reduced. My triglycerides were at high risk levels before starting the CR Way. Now they are in the 50s (mg/dL).

Another heart-friendly effect of AMPK is increased production of nitric oxide (NO).10 Normally, this vital compound decreases with age.11 However, AMPK increases NO, causing arteries to dilate and blood pressure to fall.12-14 The average blood pressure of serious, long-term CR Way practitioners is 100/60 mmHg. Elevated blood glucose decreases the bioavailability of nitric oxide and increases cardiovascular risk.15

Activating AMPK is fundamental to a new program LivingTheCRWay has launched:

Optimal Heart Health – The CR Way®

Created to help people slow heart aging, our Optimal Heart Health Program calls for annual echocardiograms to monitor the heart’s structural changes, as well as sonograms to evaluate calcification buildup and risk.

If you are 60 or older, the chances are good that calcification will show up in such evaluations. In their publication on vascular calcification, Demer and Tintut show that vascular calcification reduces artery elasticity, impairs cardiovascular functions, and may predict cardiovascular mortality.16

Important questions to ask about artery calcification are How much? and Will it increase from year to year? Calcification can be pivotal: It could end your life, or–if you can minimize it–your life may last much longer.

New CR Way members are encouraged to get annual scans and to work on cardiovascular risk factors, managing them in a way that minimizes their threats.

Attention, Breast Cancer Survivors!

Woman showing breast cancer ribbon

Another concern needs to be mentioned: If you are a breast cancer survivor, you may have had radiation treatment of your breast. Such treatments can contribute to ischemic heart disease (coronary artery disease), and it often doesn’t show up right away. According to one study, patients who receive these treatments are at risk for ischemic heart disease for at least 20 years after treatment. 17

I mention the heart risk posed by radiation therapy for breast cancer because it may be unexpected. It might not be detected by “normal” cardiovascular exams, but an echocardiogram may detect it.

Microbial Considerations

The next time you go to your dentist ask about his or her observations regarding periodontal disease and heart health. Most likely, your dentist will know about patients who had gum disease and developed significant heart problems. The dentist may even cite research showing that periodontal disease correlates with pathogens like P. gingivalis (Porphyromonas gingivalis), that is part of the normal, healthy, oral microbiome, and is associated with heart disease18 as well as Alzheimer’s disease19 and cancer.20

P. gingivalis can cause harm when acting alone, but it can also work against your health in combination with other pathogenic species and in people whose immune systems are compromised.

Change your Heart’s Aging Trajectory

Bowls of fruit

Globally, more people die annually from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) than from any other cause.21

The World Health Organization reports that globally, an estimated 17.9 million people died from CVD in 2016, representing 31% of all deaths.21

In the U.S., CVD causes one death approximately every 38 seconds.22

Protect yourself and everything you hold dear. For your heart’s sake, use science to make that old Frank Sinatra song, “Young at Heart,” your reality.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill have discovered the bridge between scientific research and its practical application for a better, longer life. Their work brings real results and longevity benefits to CR Way practitioners. Their CR Way lifestyle is based on decades of research, showing favorable changes in genes and other biomarkers of aging. They have played a pivotal role in this research on aging at Washington University, in St. Louis School of Medicine, and at the University of California at both San Francisco and Riverside. You can find more about them and the benefits of LivingTheCRWay membership by calling 877-481-4841 or visiting


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