Modern foods don’t sit very well with our unevolved bodies. At least this is what proponents of the paleo diet believe, and research is continually being conducted that proves them right.
Consisting of only grass fed meat, seafood and fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, and healthful oils like olive and walnut, the paleo diet recommends only consuming foods that our ancestors consumed during the Paleolithic era, over 10,000 years ago, and in proportionate quantities.
For instance, while nuts and seeds are normally acceptable in the paleo diet, it’s not recommended to sit around stuffing cashews in your face. Our hunter/gatherer ancestors would have come across nuts somewhat infrequently, so peppering them into a more well-rounded diet is the name of the game.
The paleo diet stems from a belief that our modern diets, consisting of high fat, high carbohydrate, and high sugar foods have evolved past our body’s ability to effectively process them, which leads to poor health.
In addition to reducing inflammation in the body, the paleo diet can help you lose weight, detox the body, improve nutrient consumption, improve satiety, and decrease blood pressure.
Millions of people across the globe suffer from high blood pressure. Termed “the silent killer” high blood pressure can lead to hardening of the arteries, tinnitus, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even death.
Historical and anthropological studies show hunter-gatherers generally to be healthy, fit, and largely free of the degenerative cardiovascular diseases common in modern societies. Since we are what we eat, the natural conclusion is that in addition to nearly constant exercise, our ancestors consumed only wild and unprocessed food, providing a diet high in lean protein, polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial phytochemicals.
The paleo diet can help lower blood pressure by producing weight loss – obesity is the number one cause of high blood pressure – reducing carbohydrate intake, especially refined carbohydrates like bleached flour, reducing refined sugar intake, and increasing intake of beneficial minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium.
It’s pretty safe to say that humans living 10,000 years ago, despite being exposed to much more harmful stressors – think sabre toothed tigers roaming about – weren’t plagued with high blood pressure as a civilization, so the root cause must be something we’re doing as modern people, and scientists believe that the diet is a great place to start looking for culprits.