When people consider starting the Paleo diet, one of their biggest concerns is the nutrient content of the food they will be eating. While the majority of dieters increase the amounts of green vegetables and fruits they are eating, they will also be exposed to opinions and articles stating that their diets aren’t healthy enough. Grains, these articles will say, are essential for calcium and vitamin D. By choosing to avoid processed foods and grains they are apparently missing out on these essential elements in their diet.
Now, while some fad diets have been rightly accused of not including the right amounts of vitamins and minerals in their plan, this is not true of the Paleo diet. Instead, people often find that they are eating more of what they need, and are still losing weight. By placing an emphasis upon foods which are commonly missing from the modern diet, the program is more likely to introduce you to vitamins that have previously been absent. This is the reason why so many people feel better on the Paleo diet. In this diet, there are four main nutrient groups which are included in the plan:
• Omega 3 Fatty Acids
• Other Fats
Omega 3 fats are a nutrient group which is regularly recommended by doctors and dieticians. These foods are considered essential to improving health and reducing the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other blood diseases. Omega 3 fats are able to reduce cardiovascular disease risks though limiting blood clots, cutting back on triglycerides (cholesterol), lowering the blood pressure, and helping to prevent atherosclerosis, a thickening of the artery wall. In Paleo, Omega 3 is widely available in the form of fish, particularly oily fish such as Mackerel or Salmon. It is recommended that you consume Omega 3 on a regular basis, although too much may cause nose bleeds and prevent blood from clotting effectively.
The Paleo diet is also rich in other forms of fatty acids. Some of these are beneficial, particularly those known as polyunsaturated fatty acids, which consist of Omega 3 mentioned above, and Omega 6, another essential acid. However, monounsaturated fatty acids are also positive when consumed in limited doses. These are available in Paleo through nuts, oils and avocados. Monounsaturated fatty acids help to reduce blood cholesterol, and may also have anti-cancer properties.
Essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D and Calcium are often considered to be missing from the Paleo diet by ‘experts’, but this is not the case. Vitamin D is also available through exposure to the sun, and when this is done in minimal doses without sunblock, provides a suitable way of consuming natural vitamins. Calcium can be consumed through fish and animal products, and there is not much less in this than in the average Western diet. Where Paleo does come on top is in the increase in Vitamin A (Beta Carotene), C and K (Potassium), as well as in manganese. There is also a significant increase in Vitamin B12, which is regularly under-consumed in the Western diet.
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