Research shows that following a diet similar to our ancestors can help your health in many ways. In fact, the benefits of a Paleo diet include:
- Stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels
- Optimize your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio
- Reduce the risk for heart disease and diabetes
- Achieve sustainable weight loss
- Diminish cravings
Nutritional Benefits of a Paleo Diet
Compared to the USDA pyramid, the Paleolithic diet is vastly different than the Standard American Diet and the fatally-flawed USDA pyramid. Here are the primary benefits of a Paleo diet and how they impact your health:
- More Omega-3: Because of the reliance on wild game, fish and leafy vegetables, the Paleolithic diet was high in omega 3 fats. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and provide a wide range of health benefits.
- Less Omega-6: The primary source of omega 6 fats in the American diet is soy, corn and vegetable oils. Since Paleos didn’t eat these foods, their ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 was estimated to be 1:1. The American ratio is more than 20:1. Omega-6 fats are highly inflammatory and contribute to chronic disease when imbalanced by omega-3.
- Less Saturated Fat: Grass and pasture grazing animals (such as grass fed beef) are leaner and lower in saturated fat and calories. It is important to note that Paleos prized organ meat and bone marrow, so the amount of saturated fat in the Paleo diet is debatable.
- High Fat: Paleos ate a diet that was approximately 25-35% protein with as much as 70% coming from healthy fats. The majority of fat in the Paleo diet is monounsaturated fat – a healthy fats found in avocados, olive oil and macadamia nuts.
- High Fiber: Because of the heavy reliance on plant foods, Paleos are believed to have consumed a high fiber diet.
- Low Carb & Low Glycemic: Paleos are estimated to have eaten a diet that was 20-40% carbohydrate – all derived from nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits and leafy greens, not grains or sugars. Because high blood sugar is linked ot nearly every chronic disease, experts believe that stabilizing blood sugars is one of the biggest benefits of a Paleo diet.
- Low Sodium/High Potassium: Because of the large amount of plant foods, the potassium content of the Paleo diet was high and sodium was low.
- More Variety in the Diet: Because Paleos foraged, their diet was high in variety – eating more than 100 different species of food on an annual basis. Research shows that more variety in the diet protects DNA.
- Vitamin D: Due to spending their life outdoors, Paleos enjoyed high vitamin D levels. Research shows optimal vitamin D status reduces the risk of heart disease, cancers of the breast, colon and prostate, as well as diabetes and obesity.
Getting the benefits of a Paleo diet are simple. Just follow the Paleo diet food list and base your meals around the nutrient-dense ingredients our ancestors enjoyed.