The Paleo Diet: Is It Right For You?

By on May 13, 2015
Paleo diet

People looking for a way to change unhealthy eating habits often turn to the Paleo Diet. Sometimes called the Caveman Diet, the Paleo Diet restricts trans fats, sugars and modern processed foods that are linked to obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. But it’s more than just a diet; it’s become a movement. Do you think Paleo is right for you? Read on to find out.

Paleo’s Anti-Aging Benefits

According to Dr. Marc Bubbs, 85 percent of chronic conditions such as joint pain or fatigue, for example, are related to poor diet, lifestyle and lack of exercise. But you don’t have to accept this fate. Tapping the fountain of youth and aging gracefully has actually been linked to a person’s lean muscle mass. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a person’s lean muscle mass is inversely related to reduced mortality rates. How do you get lean muscle? Animal protein foods help to increase muscle mass better than any other. Paleo-friendly foods like beef, poultry, fish, seafood and wild game are critical in building and sustaining lean muscle.

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A study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that patients over the age of 65 who had high blood sugar levels were seven times more likely to develop dementia than their peers with normal blood sugar levels. High carb diets that rely on foods like cereal and toast can also wreak havoc on the body, especially the brain cells, which can cause cognitive decline. In addition to animal proteins, the Paleo Diet relies on vegetables, which help support healthy brain function and restore blood sugar levels.

Believe it or not, the Paleo Diet can also put you in a better mood. Many aging people cite that their moods wayne as the grow older. High blood sugars and insulin, low omega-3 and low vitamin D are all associated with low mood and motivation. The typical American diet is high in simple and processed carbohydrates which can potentially lead to weight gain, insulin dysfunction, inflammation and low levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fats. If you think that your current diet is putting you in a bad mood, switch to Paleo.

Reasons to Say Goodbye to Sweets and Processed Foods

Some may think that losing taste buds and sense of smell is all part of aging. In some ways, this is true, especially for seniors who have unhealthy diets. Losing these two senses is related to zinc deficiencies. Low-nutrient foods like grain products, for example, decrease zinc absorption. However, paleo-friendly foods like shellfish and red meats are excellent sources of zinc.

For years people have relied on milk to help keep osteoporosis at bay, but milk isn’t the only food product that promotes healthy, strong bones. Both bone broth and leafy green vegetables provide the minerals and vitamins that bones need. Whole9, a website dedicated to healthy lifestyles, recommends mixing in a few weight-bearing exercises to keep your bones and your body strong as you age.

Paleo-Friendly Foods

Eliminating processed foods is the key to successfully following the Paleo Diet. At first, it may seem hard to do, but as you learn more, you’ll find that it’s best to prepare your own snacks and foods at home and buy fresh from local, organic farmers and markets.

Snacking is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Instead of reaching for processed foods like chips or pretzels, consider making your own Paleo-friendly snacks. Make your own jerky by dehydrating fresh meats in a food dehydrator for a healthy snack — by doing it yourself, you control how much salt and seasonings you add. Food dehydrators can also be used to dehydrate your favorite fruits, herbs, and veggies, although they generally take longer.

If finding fresh, locally grown meats at your grocer is difficult, visit EatWild’s online directory of farms and ranches. It lists more than 1,400 pasture-based farms that supply common meats like beef and chicken to not-so-common meats like rabbit, yak, elk and wild salmon. You can even find farms that produce natural milk and cheeses.

Bill Clark is a freelance journalist who specializes in writing about culture and the arts, however, will write about anything that piques his interest including business, travel, and lifestyle.  @BilboClark01

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The Paleo Diet: Is It Right For You?