The Paleo Diet: What Is It And How Does It Work?
There are a variety of ways of eating that people choose for health and/or philosophical reasons. One of these ways of eating is Paleo. The paleolithic diet, or “paleo” for short, is based on foods that would have been eaten by our ancestors long ago when they were still hunters and gatherers. Choosing to eat what early humans ate is believed to support our genetic make up better than eating foods that came along later when farming practices were established.
According to the founder of the Paleo Diet, Loren Cordain, there are 7 main components to a paleo diet which can all lead to weight loss, lower risk of chronic disease, and optimal overall health.
High protein intake
A paleo diet would aim to consume up to 35% of calorie intake from protein sources such as meat, fish, seafood, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Moderate carbohydrate intake
About 40% of calorie intake comes from carbohydrates in the paleo diet, but these are primarily non-starchy fruits and vegetables which are digested slowly and don’t spike blood sugar levels as much as refined carbs.
High fiber intake
Fruit and vegetables are very high in dietary fiber, which keeps food moving efficiently through the digestive tract.
Paleo diets cut out trans fats and focus on healthy food containing plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids from nuts, seeds, and healthy oils.
Higher potassium and lower sodium intake
Unprocessed, fresh foods contain more potassium and less sodium than the typical North American diet today. This combination is much more supportive of a healthy cardiovascular system.
Fruits and vegetables have a net alkaline load, whereas meat, fish, grains, legumes, and cheese have a net acid load on our kidneys. Excessive dietary acid can lead to many health issues.
Plentiful vitamins and minerals
Fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meat from grass-fed animals contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals which are well absorbed into the body.
So stock up your kitchen with plenty of fruits, veggies, healthy oils, nuts, seeds, fish, and a moderate amount of meat for a healthy paleo diet that can benefit your heart and lead to weight loss.