According to Boston University School of Medicine, one of the major pros of the paleo diet is that it is low in sodium. Though it can be expensive, provided you are supplementing your nutrients it can be of great benefit to anyone who can maintain it. The big question remains, is a paleo diet a good choice for older adults?
What Is Paleo?
Whether you call it the caveman diet, the Palaeolithic diet, or simply the Paleo, it encourages dieters to choose natural foods. Basically, if a caveman could eat it, so can you. This makes the diet high in both protein and animal fats, but low in carbohydrates. The Paleo diet rejects consuming any unnatural foods. The main premise is that if you find it in a box, you can’t eat it. This means the food commonly eaten by Paleo dieters is fish, wild fruit, nuts, eggs, vegetables, and game meats. Calorie counting and portion control aren’t generally taken into consideration.
You absolutely cannot consume legumes, cereal grains, peanuts, wheat, oats, soy, brown rice, rye, kidney beans, black eyed peas, navy beans, or pinto beans. The other no-no’s are sugar and vegetable oils. What is encouraged, though, is exercise. You should be physically active every day, just as the cavemen were.
Is Paleo Safe For Seniors?
The entire premise of the Paleo is that many ailments that we deal with today are due to the diets we eat today. We’ve shunned the diets our ancestors enjoyed to indulge on grains, sugars, or dairy products. The diet is built on this premise, that by eliminating these types of foods you can eliminate ailments, thus prolonging your life, and being healthier.
Research from USC has demonstrated that by reducing carbs it can mimic the same life prolonging benefits that restricting calories does. Additionally, Newcastle University studies show that it can help diabetes eliminate a need to use insulin.
According to McGraw Hill Education, there are nutritionists and dieticians who suggest that humans have evolved to digest foods differently as we grow old. For instance, we know that young people digest milk easily, but as we age, our bodies cannot handle it. Older people get their nutrition from other foods, but babies and children do, thus its importance to them. Moreover, seniors do not need as many calories, and they also face an increased risk of diabetes.
The Paleo Diet is low calorie and it is also low in carbohydrates, thus can address both of the issues that seniors face. Additionally, as it’s low in sodium the Paleo diet is great for the heart and the body.
Qingdao University’s Department of Neurology completed a study showing there is a strong relationship between Alzheimer’s and insulin, and a high carb diet, thus the Paleo diet can help stave off Alzheimer’s.
Additionally, WebMD points to the benefits that the Paleo diet has on weight loss, cardiovascular disease, weight loss, blood pressure, inflammation markers, as well as promoting optimum health.
As with every diet, the Paleo diet is simply a guide, as opposed to a rulebook. Animal fat and protein can be hazardous to your health, so it’s vital that you choose the right types of food when adhering to the Paleo Diet. While it allows for red meat, you should still limit your intake and focus on lean proteins and fish.
The true Paleo diet is impossible to follow, unless you raise wild game and plant your own fruits and vegetables. The food that we eat has been cultivated and then tampered with in a variety of ways. However, adjusting your diet in line with the Paleo lifestyle is still a healthy option. Be careful when you cut key foods from your diet, there is a lot of research showing the value of low fat dairy, beans, and wholegrains. However, with any change in diet, you can take supplements to fill in the gaps.
In essence, yes, the Paleo Diet is an excellent, safe option for older adults.