The Paleo diet is one of the healthiest diets as it provides a highly nutritional approach to improving your health. It helps you stay lean, energetic and strong by working with your genetic make-up!
The latest research in biology, ophthalmology, biochemistry, dermatology and several other disciplines have repeatedly indicated that it is our modern diet consisting of refined foods, sugar and trans fats, which is at the root of several degenerative disorders like obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, infertility and depression.
A paleo diet that is rich in the essential nutrients supports the body’s functions and boosts the efficiency of the vital organs thereby improving the overall health of a person and reducing the risk of degenerative diseases.
How to build a healthy paleo diet?
A healthy paleo diet consists of lean proteins, plenty of fruits and vegetables, seafood, nuts and healthy fats. It is devoid of processed foods, dairy products, grains, legumes, starches, and alcohol.
The lean proteins strengthen the muscles and promote the health and longevity of the bones. They are also needed for an optimal functioning of the immune system. Proteins also make you feel full between meals.
Fruits and vegetables have a rich content of natural antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients all of which help reduce the risk of degenerative disorders including diabetes, cancer, and the neurological decline.
The healthy fats are needed for carrying out different digestive and cardiac functions. Scientific research shows that the diets rich in healthy fats like omega-3 and monounsaturated fats reduce the likelihood of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and cognitive decline dramatically. They can be obtained from avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, grass-fed meat and fish oil.
How does a paleo diet work?
A paleo diet contains all forms of foods that are essential for the healthy functioning of the body. These foods (meats, fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood) contain a high amount of essential nutrients including soluble fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and monounsaturated fats. These nutrients promote good health.
A paleo diet is low in the foods that contain refined sugars, grains, salt, high-glycemic carbs, trans fats, and processed foods, which are known to cause weight gain, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and other chronic health problems. The paleo diet also replaces the grains and dairy products with fresh fruits and vegetables that are more nutritious.
How is a paleo diet different from the other diets?
The paleo diet is an effective way to improve your overall wellness by boosting the health of all organs and systems of the body by working on your genes. The cause of most diseases is the genetic make-up of a person. Several diseases including cancer, diabetes, hypertension, allergies, asthma, and Alzheimer’s disease occur in the people having someone in the family suffering from the same. A paleo diet prevents these diseases by working around your genes.
How can a meat and sea-food based paleo diet help to lose weight compared to the no-fat and low-carb diets?
Our conventional wisdom tells us that we must burn more calories than what we take in to lose weight. We think that a net caloric deficit must occur to lose the pounds. We also believe that the best way to do this is to eat a no-fat and low-carb diet. However, the experience of eating the fat-free and low-carbohydrate foods is not very pleasant for most people. They end up eating more than they ate before as such a diet makes them feel hungrier. Thus, for the vast majority, the weight lost is regained just within a few days of the initial encouraging results.
A paleo diet offers an effective alternative that emulates what our ancestors ate – a high fruit and veggie diet with a high amount of proteins with moderate to the high fat content of healthy omega-3 and monounsaturated fats. The high protein content makes you feel full and thus, prevents the urge to eat. Protein also produces a strong thermic effect on the body, which results in a higher metabolic rate. This translates into a faster burning of the calories and the speeding up of the weight loss.
Can a paleo diet provide enough calcium for the body?
Calcium is one of the essential nutrients needed for the health of the bones and teeth. Most people fear that their body will be deprived of calcium if they eat a paleo diet as it recommends avoiding the dairy products. However, the fact is that just like the other nutrients, a paleo diet provides the body with the required amount of calcium also.
The health of the bones is dependent on the acid/base balance of the food. All the digested foods ultimately report to the kidneys in the form of base or acid. When the diet contains a net acid load (such as a low-carb diet that restricts the consumption of raw fruits and veggies), the acid has to be buffered by the alkaline base in the body.
Calcium salts present in the bones represent a large store of the body’s alkaline base, which is depleted and later eliminated from the body through urine when there is a net acid load in the body.
When you eat a paleo diet, you are actually preventing the loss of alkaline base from the bones. When you replace the dairy products with fruits and vegetables, the body can achieve an acid/base balance, and retain a good amount of calcium in the bones. Hence, people eating a paleo diet need not worry about meeting their calcium requirement.
The acid-producing foods include hard cheeses, salted foods, cereal grains, and legumes, and the alkaline base-producing foods include fruits, and vegetables.
Here are the benefits you can achieve by switching to a paleo diet:
1. Rich supply of nutrients
One of the common misconceptions about paleo diet is it includes only proteins and fats. However, the fact is a paleo diet, while eliminating the nutrient-void processed carbs, also supplements the body with loads of vegetables, nuts, seeds and berries, all of which are full of vitamins and minerals. When it is combined with the enhanced gut health and an improved nutrient absorption, which happens through the avoidance of legumes and grains, you get a highly nutritious and balanced diet. You can get all the required nutrients from the seafood and the plant-based foods.
Additionally, paleo diet consists of real, whole foods making sure you automatically eliminate the entire range of hidden sugars, preservatives, sodium, coloring, additives and artificial flavoring agents. As a result, you also prevent the harmful toxins from entering your body and consume more nutrients.
2. Improved digestion
Paleo diet contains a high amount of fiber with an adequate intake of water and a smaller intake of sodium. This combination helps to improve the digestive functions and prevents the occurrence of constipation and bloating. It eases the passage of stools and reduces the symptoms of digestive disturbances like pain in the abdomen, gastritis, heartburn, belching, peptic ulcers and so on. A paleo diet also improves the gut flora that is essential for healthy digestion.
3. Say goodbye to ‘hangry’
‘Hangry’ is a feeling that almost everyone experiences when on a weight loss diet. It is a combination of hungry + angry that comes up when the body is deprived of carbohydrates. Carbs are known to improve the moods of a person. Hence, when a person is on a low-carb diet to lose weight, the blood sugar drops, and the person experiences a rapid onset of hunger together with irritability, disorientation, fatigue, and a foggy mind.
A paleo diet can help in preventing such annoying symptoms with its rich protein and fat content that are quite satiating. The energy the body derives from the healthy fats, the low GI carbs and protein is released evenly and slowly throughout the day. This ensures stable blood sugar levels and hence, a person rarely experiences frequent energy drops and the crazy mood swings.
4. Rich source of healthy fats
Paleo diet includes healthy saturated fat from poultry, grass-fed meat, seafood, butter, and coconuts along with lots of monounsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, and olive oil, and a small amount of polyunsaturated fats. It is devoid of trans fats and provides a healthy ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. This favorable ratio helps in maintaining the brain functions and the health of the arteries and the skin. It also reduces systemic inflammation and controls the symptoms of arthritis, skin allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcer and Crohn’s disease.
5. Healthier cells
Every cell in our body is made from the saturated and unsaturated fats, and these cells depend on a healthy balance between the two to function optimally. The paleo diet provides a perfect balance of these fats as it includes both in healthy amounts while most other diets limit the intake of one or the other.
6. Optimum brain functions
A paleo diet supplies the body with proteins and fats in the form of seafood like cold water fish and wild-caught salmon. The salmon fat is packed with omega three fatty acids, which contain DHA that is good for the development and functions of the brain, heart, and the eyes. A regular intake of paleo diet enhances the brain functions and thus, improves the concentration, memory and attention span of a person.
7. More muscle and fewer fats
When it comes to healthy proteins, a paleo diet relies mainly on the animal flesh. This protein is anabolic in nature and is used for building new cells such as the muscle fibers. Paleo diet increases the muscles mass and strengthens the muscles. The increased muscle mass results in a higher metabolic rate as the muscles require more energy to move and perform different functions. This also prompts the body to send the energy to the muscle cells instead of storing it in the form of fats.
8. Less allergies
The paleo diet advises a minimized intake of foods that are known to cause allergies like coloring agents and preservatives in the processed foods. Grains and dairy are also the common dietary allergens, which are eliminated in a paleo diet. Hence, people who suffer from allergic disorders like asthma, allergic rhinitis, and dermatitis benefit a lot from eating a paleo diet. It helps in reducing the frequency and attacks of these conditions.
9. Prevention of cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular diseases are the most common causes of death across the world. A paleo diet that promotes healthy eating through the intake of healthy fats and proteins helps in preventing cardiac diseases like heart attacks, hypertension, and cardiac failure. It works by reducing the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood, thus preventing Atherosclerosis, which is the most common precursor of heart diseases.
Atherosclerosis causes thickening of the arterial walls and deposition of cholesterol plaques along the inner walls of the blood vessels. This results in the blockage of the blood vessels and a lack of blood supply to the heart leading to a heart attack. A paleo diet prevents this by controlling the triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Further Benefits of a Paleo Diet
- Increased and stable energy levels
- Clear skin and healthy hair
- Improved sleep
- Improved attitude and mood
- Mental clarity
- Muscle growth
- Improvements in the symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Improved glucose tolerance with increased insulin sensitivity
- Lower risk of cancer, and diabetes
- Enhanced immune functions
- Healthy gut flora
- Improved overall fitness
The multitude of benefits provided by a paleo diet are the reasons enough for anyone to follow its recommendations or at least use it as a base while making their dietary choices.