A very popular diet these days is the paleo diet, also known under other names such as Stone Age diet, hunter-gatherer diet, caveman diet or primal diet. It focuses on a selection of the foods with the highest quantity of nutrients available, such as seafood, organs, quality vegetables and meat, nuts, seeds, fruits and eggs. It also includes spices, herbs and some probiotic and fermented foods. Many other foods are completely excluded, especially normal dairy products, all grains, most legume varieties and of course refined or industrially processed foods. All of these have a bad hormonal influence, inflammatory effects or are known to be unhealthy for the human gut.
The idea of the paleo diet, just as its name suggests, is to use only those foods that our primitive ancestors consumed. They only had access to a limited selection of meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seafood. Enthusiasts of this diet think that our genetics have been shaped by such a diet, so it is the healthiest choice possible. The paleo diet is an effective way to reduce the glycemic index, it boosts the absorption of nutrients and vitamins, while offering the optimal balance between protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
The ancestors of modern humans ate the products available straight from nature, such as fresh meat, fruits and vegetables. At that time, they didn't discover agriculture or animal domestication yet. A paleo diet should reject all products grown using chemicals, pesticides or antibiotics, since these are not natural. Choose organic foods and meat from animals fed with grass only. According to a study of the Emory University, early Paleolithic humans had a balanced diet, with an intake of calories sourced from fats (35%), carbohydrates (35%) and proteins (30%).
Basically, the paleo diet aims for a maximum intake of natural foods that heal the body and the elimination of toxic products. It is based on whole foods that are rich in nutrients. The complete nutritional package and lack of harmful processed and refined foods is very beneficial to health. While some people use the paleo diet to lose weight, this is not its main purpose. It actually aims to be a balanced and healthy diet that respects scientific principles.
Unlike other diets, the paleo one is not easy to follow because you must be very determined and invest time in preparation. You can't just order food when you go out, since there are some questions that must be answered first. The origin of the ingredients must be checked, not only the products themselves but any components such as the dressings or the cooking oil.
The paleo diet is not supposed to be followed for a very long period of time. It is however important to stick with the initial plan, since breaking a diet can lead to severe weight gain, even if weight loss is not the main goal of this diet. Pausing diets is actually very dangerous because the initial weight is lost from both muscles and fat deposits, while the unwanted weight gain consists of fats alone. This causes higher insulin resistance and long-term damage to your metabolism.
The paleo diet can reduce the risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases, according to the results of clinical trials. It also boosts tolerance to glucose, treats inflammation, reduces body weight and can even alleviate the symptoms of some poorly understood autoimmune conditions.
For a supply of quality proteins and fats, the paleo diet relies especially on cold-water fish. Wild salmons caught from natural areas are ideal for this purpose.
The diet of average Americans has a deficit of omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in generous amounts in salmon fat. Omega 3 is critical for human health because it is needed for the brain function but also for the eyes and some of the functions of the heart. Omega 3 fatty acids are also available from other organic foods, such as natural eggs or the meat of animals raised on pastures.
The paleo diet is not a vegetarian one and includes a lot of animal meat for its protein content. We need proteins because they are the building blocks of cells, being required for muscular mass expansion for example.
Human metabolism is connected to the amount of muscle mass, even if this doesn't seem to make sense. In order to move and operate, the muscles need energy. The bigger muscles are, the more energy has to be used. This way, the energy is being burned and used, instead of ending as a fat deposit.
A proper paleo diet will reduce the number of fat cells and increase your muscle mass at the same time. All available energy is transformed into glycogen and sent to the muscles, instead of being deposited as triglycerides.
The intestinal tract is often inflamed by junk food, industrial fats or excessive amounts of sugar. This can be amplified by stress, causing the so-called leaky gut syndrome. The walls of intestines collapse under the pressure of processed foods, which can have dangerous consequences as various wastes escape the digestive tract. Of course, this is not supposed to happen. The normal digestive process should either send food to your cells for immediate use, or eliminate it from the body if it's not needed.
The human body has adapted its digestive system for certain foods, for thousands of years. The paleo diet selects exactly foods like starch or beef meat, which were also part of the menu of our ancestors. We can use the nutrients in these foods and process them just like primitive people used to do. This is one of the reasons why the paleo diet is great for people with digestive issues, since these can be cured after just 30 days.
Paleo diet concentrates on avoiding any food that can be dangerous for health. While it is not perfect, the paleo diet has a simple philosophy: if a caveman was able to consume and digest a type of food, modern humans can do it as well.
The whole idea is to choose only natural whole foods and eliminate processed ones from your meals, avoiding all diseased started by such products.
A paleo diet can provide an overall health boost by choosing only the best whole foods, packed with natural nutrients. Processed products are avoided, as well as the diseases caused by them. These range from inflammation to hormonal imbalance. A common effect of refined foods is the destruction of the natural bacteria in the gut, also known as gut dysbiosis. The bacteria can be of the wrong type, in the wrong location or in wrong numbers. Paleo diets also balance body weight, allowing overweight people to get thinner and underweight people to gain weight.
For a healthy digestion, the paleo diet is an excellent choice. It relies almost exclusively on prebiotic and probiotic foods, so a healthy flora of beneficial bacteria develops in the gut. At the same time, it excludes processed products that are known to cause gut dysbiosis, which is an umbrella term for various imbalances of the intestinal flora. For optimal health, we need the right number and combination of gut bacteria, which must be located in the proper place along the tract. The paleo diet also offers key nutrients needed by the tissues forming the so-called gut barrier, while avoiding any foods that can irritate or damage it. Paleo diet is a great form of treatment for people who suffer from digestive issues.
With the diet of our ancestors, the immune system becomes more effective and inflammation is reduced. Many foods cause extra inflammation and put pressure on the body, these are eliminated from your menu. The immune system can be balanced, if it is too active, with the right combination of essential nutrients that allow it to repair itself. Even a suppressed immune system can recover in the same manner, if the required nutrients are available. It is a very useful alternative to chemical drug treatments.
Since it restores gut health while supporting the liver with key nutrients at the same time, the paleo diet is a natural method to detoxify the body. It includes only foods that offer the proper bioactive compounds for hormonal balance and avoids those known to interfere with the hormonal function, so the effect is an overall balance of hormones. In a nutshell, the paleo diet focuses on supplying the nutrients needed for human health. As a result, it has a beneficial impact on all of the body functions and provides an overall health boost.