So what does eating paleo mean, what is the definition of paleo? I have several friends that keep throwing out the words paleo diet and swearing by it, especially when it comes to helping stabilize their blood sugars. Honestly I’m not a huge fan of “diets” in general but after doing a little research on paleo, I can certainly understand why they are so giddy over living paleo!
The Paleo diet is certainly not a new idea. Coming to popular attention with the publication of a book on the subject by Walter Voegtlin in 1975, its central concept is to mimic the diet of humans that lived 25 to 50 thousand years ago, during the Paleolithic Age. Voegtlin claimed distinct benefits are associated with what he claims was the high protein and low carbohydrate die of the ancients. His plan is occasionally called the caveman diet, the Stone Age diet and the hunter-gatherer diet. Proponents of the Paleo diet continue to practice it, and it has been somewhat validated by the emergence of other similar low-carb diets.
Health Benefits Of The Paleo Diet:
For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is enough. Improved blood lipids, weight loss and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough. Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any particular form of eating, aka “a diet”. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny.
With a very simple shift the paleo diet not only removes the foods that are at odds with our health (grains, legumes, and dairy) but we also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and brings us back to the way our ancestors ate…eating unprocessed foods like meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts as well as seeds.
Paleo Diet For Diabetics:
There are a number of studies investigating the effects of Paleo diets on type 1 and type 2 diabetics and results are impressive. A study published in July 2009 in “Cardiovascular Diabetology” compared the Paleo diet to the Mediterranean diet in subjects with type 2 diabetes over a period of three months. The researchers found that the Paleo diet reduced fasting blood sugar levels, hemoglobin A1C, plasma insulin levels and insulin resistance significantly compared to the Mediterranean diet, indicating potential benefits of the Paleo diet for people with type 2 diabetes. Here are 5 more studies and how they help stabilize blood sugars, feel free to check them out.
Pro’s Of The Diet:
Right off the start you can see how well this diet is going to control blood sugar levels. In a world where many of us experience roller coaster-like blood sugar fluctuations, this aspect alone proves to be an extremely beneficial aspect of the set-up.
As most of us know, the more stabilized our blood sugar levels are, the less likely you’re going to be to experience food cravings, to battle ongoing fatigue, and to be at the potential risk of developing diabetes down the road.
Since the paleo diet is also chalk full of healthy fats from all the seeds and nuts that are being consumed while also being low in saturated fat due to the restriction of dairy and high fat meat sources, this is also going to work to improve your cholesterol profile and help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
When using the paleo diet you shouldn’t find you have any issue getting enough protein in either, which is something that’s critical for both the fat loss and muscle building process as you’ll be including lean meat sources with each meal. By choosing to incorporate a wide spectrum of fruits and vegetables in your menu, you’re also going to help to keep calorie intake on the lower side, so this will be beneficial from a fat loss point of view.
If you are someone who happens to actively looking to build muscle and thus require that higher calorie surplus, you can simply add larger doses of nuts and seeds into the plan to help boost your calorie and healthy fat intake up higher.
I fielded a great question the other day asking me about the importance of polyphenols and why they are so important. Well simply stated, polyphenols are phytochemicals, found abundantly in natural plant food sources that have a tremendous amount of antioxidant properties.
There are roughly over 8,000 identified polyphenols found in items such as tea, wine, chocolates, fruits, vegetables, and extra virgin olive oil, just to name a few, but as antioxidants, polyphenols play an important role in maintaining your overall health and wellness. Antioxidants in general help protect the cells in your body from the damage of free radicals, which can help with the rate at which you age. How can you add these amazing little gems to your daily living regimen? Lets take a closer look!
The Health Benefits Of Polyphenols:
There are four groups of polyphenols: phenolic acid, flavonoids, lignans and stilbenes and there are some crazy health benefits when it comes to consuming them on a regular basis. So what are they? Well, polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds that give plants color and protect them from disease and other environmental threats and help them recover from injury. These phytochemicals are found in plant foods such as spices, fruits and vegetables, seeds as well as legumes.
When you consume polyphenols on a regular basis, you become healthier in a number of ways as they eliminate free radicals in your body and drastically improve your overall health. You may even see a boost in your energy, so lets take a look at some of the primary benefits including for us diabetics!
- Anti-Inflammatory: Most polyphenols have anti-inflammatory properties. This is good news for anyone who suffers from arthritis or any other condition where inflammation is a problem.
- Heart Health: Consuming these types of foods can have great benefits on the cardiovascular system, and can actually help to improve heart health.
- Prevent Cancer: Many studies have shown that polyphenols contain anti-tumor and anti-carcinogenic properties. This is great news for anyone who may be genetically predisposed to the “C” word.
- Prevent Heart Disease: Studies have shown that polyphenols found in cocoa have been shown to reduce cardiovascular stress through by reducing LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol. Polyphenols also increase the dilation of blood vessels to promote circulation. Also, if your into red wine, there have been several studies that show the polyphenols in red wine can help to keep heart disease at bay.
- Anti-Aging: The science is still out, but many experts believe that polyphenols, even applied topically, can reduce the effects of aging as they cut down on free radicals floating around in the body.
- Protect Against Diabetes Related Side Effects: This one really peaked my interest for obvious reasons. As we are all aware by now, exposure to prolonged high blood sugars puts us at risk of developing some severe negative side effects such as retinopathy, neuropathy or even things such as sexual dysfunction just to name a few. Studies have show that polyphenols can help protect your body against some of these negative side effects. You can read about the study by clicking here.
Broccoli is known as the “king” of the cruciferous family (cabbage, cauliflower, etc.). It has a large stalk branching out to smaller stems with heads of florets, looking like a miniature tree close-up. Broccoli is packed with nutrients, phytonutrients and anti-oxidants. It is also highly valued for its abundance of anti-viral, anti-ulcer and anti-cancer activities so lets take a closer look on why you should incorporate into your diet!
Broccoli And Fiber:
Rich in both forms of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber passes through your digestive tract essentially unchanged, but helps keep you regular by adding bulk to your stool, preventing constipation and other digestive problems. Soluble fiber dissolves in liquid in your stomach, forming a gel that can slow digestion for better absorption of nutrients. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a diet rich in soluble fiber can help lower both your blood cholesterol and blood glucose, reducing your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. High in both types of fiber. A 1/2-cup serving has a total fiber content of 2.4 grams, with soluble and insoluble fiber in equal proportions. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that adult men and women consume about 38 and 25 grams of fiber, respectively, each day.
Broccoli And Cancer Prevention:
Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which with the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer. Furthermore, this amazing vegetable contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function.