Is Going Paleo a Big Mistake or a Smart Move for Your Health?

The paleo diet, centered around eating foods people consumed over 10,000 years ago, offers numerous health benefits despite not being entirely based on early human diets. Adopting a paleo lifestyle can lead to improvements in memory, alleviate arthritis, and contribute to staying fit and healthy as we age.

A Focus on Excluding Problem Foods

Instead of trying to meticulously recreate the diets of our ancestors, the paleo diet focuses on excluding modern, processed foods that may cause health issues. By cutting back on processed foods high in refined sugar and trans fats and excluding grains like corn, wheat, and often rice, the paleo diet imitates the foods available before the rise of agriculture.

Emphasizing fruits and vegetables, nuts, organic meats, and wild fish, the paleo diet promotes better overall health by mimicking the nutrient profile of foods from a pre-agricultural era.

Designing Your Own Paleo Diet

Research from Georgia State University and Kent State University shows that each person can create a paleo diet plan tailored to their own tastes and health requirements. By acknowledging that early human diets were as diverse as they are today, it becomes easier to customize a modern-day paleo eating strategy.

When planning a paleo diet, focus on omitting products of modern agriculture in favor of natural fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fats. Skip sugary processed snacks, and aim for foods that were consumed just a few hundred years ago, before food manufacturers introduced an abundance of sugar into today’s food supply.

Staying Active

In addition to eating a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet, staying active is an essential part of the paleo lifestyle. While your exercise doesn’t have to resemble the fitness activities of ancient societies, incorporating moderately intense workouts regularly are necessary for optimal heart health and overall well-being.

Research from the University of Cambridge in England indicates that strenuous exercise strengthens the skeleton, something that has been increasingly lost during the era of sedentary desk jobs. Our skeletal structures have lost up to 20 percent of their strength since the advent of agriculture and the shift away from daily physical activity.

The Bottom Line

You don’t need to obsess over every detail to successfully follow a paleo diet. By focusing on whole, natural foods while avoiding processed items, sugars, and grains, you can design an eating plan tailored to your unique needs. Combine that with regular exercise that doesn’t revolve around a desk job, and you’ll be well on your way to improved health and longevity.