What are the benefits of the Paleo diet?

A growing number of evolutionary biologists posit that in order to live healthier lives, we should return to more of a hunter-gatherer diet -- with more grass-fed beef, root vegetables, berries, nuts, and eggs. And in a study, this style diet appeared to boost cardiovascular health.

Heart of the Matter

In the study, investigators fed nine healthy non-obese men and women their usual diets for a few days. After switching to a Paleolithic-era diet for 7 days, study participants experienced improved cardiovascular health; greater insulin sensitivity (which means their bodies needed less insulin to keep blood sugar steady); and less after-meal arterial stiffness, a measure of cardiovascular health. Which led some researchers to speculate that our grain- and dairy-based diet over the last 10,000 years may have resulted in epidemics of cardiovascular disease, since our bodies have not had time to adapt to it, genetically speaking. What's more, a Paleo diet may be more satisfying than other diets. In another study involving men with heart disease, men on the Paleo diet ate fewer calories per day than men on a Mediterranean diet -- but the Paleo eaters felt just as satisfied. Which suggests that the Paleo diet could result in heart-healthy weight loss as well.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Promising new research shows that the Paleo diet is helpful for people in reducing cardiovascular risk factors. The diet includes foods like fish, eggs, chicken, turkey, bison, duck, assorted fruits and vegetables, nuts and olive oil. These choices provide a rich supply of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. Additionally, the diet focuses on foods that are low on the glycemic index, which prevents spikes in your blood sugar. Despite its focus on lean protein, the Paleo diet is not a low-carb plan; it focuses on foods that will boost your metabolism and keep you satisfied. Women who have followed this diet claim to have lost up to 75 pounds in six months.

While most people try the Paleo diet to lose weight, there is a large community of people who are using the program to treat symptoms of chronic disease. Women are finding the diet improves energy, alleviates pain and even lessens dependency on certain medications. While you should never change your medications without talking to your doctor first, the benefits of a healthy diet cannot be understated.
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Nell Stephenson
Nutrition & Dietetics
Benefits of the Paleo diet include weight loss, reduction in inflammation, migraines and auto-immune symptoms, better sleep and better skin. Watch as nutritional coach Nell Stephenson explains how this diet plan works to create optimal health.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.