The Benefits of the Paleo Diet
Poor diet quality is associated with chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in the body’s organs and cells. Poor diet quality more specifically refers to refined foods, trans fats and sugar that are the root of some of our most common diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer as well as Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
Scientific research shows that whole food diets that are Nutrient Dense, Plant-Strong, Clean of refined ingredients and feature Healthy Fats like Paleolithic- or Mediterranean- are associated with lower levels of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress in humans (Whalen et al., 2016).
With a very simple shift we not only remove the foods that are at odds with our health but we also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and body weight are just some of the health benefits that can be achieved.
Building Healthy Paleo Meals
In general, the Paleo diet is based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.
Protein is an essential nutrient for renewing and repairing cells as well as building muscle and supporting optimal immune function. Protein also makes you feel satisfied between meals. The building blocks of proteins are amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be made or stored by the body and must be provided by your daily diet. However, the quality of protein foods varies. Eating lean protein helps lower cholesterol levels and decreases the risk of developing heart disease and other diseases whereas having fattier proteins may have the opposite effect.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
The foundation of any healthy diet begins with nature’s fruits and vegetables. Plant-Strong diets rich in fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense but not energy dense. They feature antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that have been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing a number of degenerative diseases.
FROM NUTS, SEEDS, AVOCADOS, OLIVE OIL, FISH OIL AND GRASS-FED MEAT
Research shows that diets rich in Monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats are associated with reductions in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and cognitive decline.
Wild fish and free range meats are lean, have relatively low amounts of saturated fats, and provides beneficial amounts of omega-3 fats.
What to Avoid on the Paleo Diet?
KeepIN’ it CLEAN
Say NO to Artificial Ingredients like aspartame, calcium sorbate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates, potassium bromate, saccharin, sorbic acid, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and GMOs. It is best to avoid soda, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, junk foods, fast foods and foods with added extra salt or sweeteners.
The Paleo Diet Also Eliminates
- Dairy especially for those who have lactose-intolerance.
- Grains which contain gluten.
- Lentils which contain phytic acid.
- Have the mindset that it’s a lifestyle not a diet.
- Get the whole family on board.
- Clean out your kitchen.
- Plan your meals a week or two ahead. Make this easier using Terra's Kitchen.
- Have go-to snacks for when you’re hungry but unable to cook and prepare them ahead of time.
- Snack on seeds, almonds, walnuts and nut butters.
- Incorporate fresh herbs into recipes.
- Find a good paleo dessert recipe
Whalen KA, McCullough ML, Flanders WD, Hartman TJ, Judd S, Bostick RM. Paleolithic and Mediterranean Diet Pattern Scores Are Inversely Associated with Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Balance in Adults. J Nutr. 2016 Apr 20. pii: jn224048. [Epub ahead of print]
Boers I, Muskiet FA, Berkelaar E, Schut E, Penders R, Hoenderdos K, Wichers HJ, Jong MC. Favourable effects of consuming a Palaeolithic-type diet on characteristics of the metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled pilot-study. Lipids Health Dis. 2014 Oct 11;13:160. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-13-160.
Manheimer EW, van Zuuren EJ, Fedorowicz Z, Pijl H. Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Oct;102(4):922-32. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.113613. Epub 2015 Aug 12.