Although their roots grew deep in our past, Paleo diets based on Stone Age foods can help alleviate modern health concerns.
The Paleo diet has proven successful in combating diseases associated with Western diets.
The landmark Kitava Study, for example, found that a non-Westernized population in Papua, New Guinea did not exhibit symptoms of Western diseases such as stroke, ischemic heart disease, diabetes, obesity or hypertension.
There are many misconceptions as to what the Caveman Diet consists of, and it has been tweaked in many different ways. Basically, it boils down to eating foods that were available to hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic era.
Wild game, seafood, offal, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits, herbs and spices … all of these are examples of foods that many would consider to be staples of this eating regimen.
On the other hand, corn syrup and processed snack products were not available thousands of years ago, which explains at least part of the reason why this diet makes sense.
Paleo diets also eliminate many foods that people today take for granted, such as dairy products and cereal grains. Because of that, it’s natural for skeptics to ask “What’s in it for me?”
The answer, according to proponents, is simple: Better health.
Returning to the Caveman Diet can bring numerous health benefits. For one, it helps reverse the effects of Type-2 diabetes.
But more than that, it also has fundamental effects that can increase anyone’s overall health, because it limits the body to the kinds of foods it was designed to consume rather than those developed more recently.
One major benefit is its effectiveness against obesity. A Paleo diet encourages weight loss because the number of unhealthy foods allowed is severely limited, allowing the body to better process what it takes in.
The diet also has positive effects on cardiovascular disease and similar conditions associated with carrying too much weight.
At least five clinical studies have found that a Paleo diet can improve insulin resistance while lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It even helps fight against acne.
And for those worried about the diet’s ability to keep a body strong, note that several top athletes are among those who have tried it—precisely because it keeps them healthy and helps them to train better.
As with any limiting diet, there are risks to consider. Those worried about not getting the recommended dose of various vitamins and minerals may wish to take a multivitamin to compensate.
Also, anyone with a family history of osteoporosis may want to ask a doctor if they need calcium supplements, since this diet eliminates the dairy products that many rely on for this bone-building mineral.
The Paleo diet is not recommended as an occasional interlude among patches of regular eating habits. It requires a real lifestyle change.
Because the diet is relatively rigid, it’s a good idea to have a support network, and there are already plenty established online. Fellow “cavemen” can help by being a source for tips, recipes and advice on how best to eat like a Stone Age hunter-gatherer while still feeling full and fulfilled today.
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