A paleo diet is a dietary plan that can be followed by athletes to improve overall performance. A paleo diet is a diet whose food base is the foods presumed to be eaten by early men. It involves having foods that are thought to be gotten through hunting and gathering. The diet does not include dairy products or grains. Its main focus is lean meats, fish, and vegetables. Also referred to as the caveman diet or paleolithic diet, the paleolithic diet does not contain foods that are thought to be brought about through farming and processed foods. It involves having foods that were there before modern agriculture took over.
The paleolithic diet was brought about to depict the way of life of early man. The early man was considered active and energetic and the diet is created with foods that are low in carbs. This makes one active and full of energy.
It is believed that modern agriculture came with a lot of processed foods that are harmful to the human body. In as much as the modes used to obtain food changed, the human body did not evolve to that level hence the emergence of modern health problems. This includes obesity and heart-related diseases cropping up due to the poor diets of the evolved man. The focal point of the paleolithic diet is to remove the consumption of processed foods that are harmful to the human body.
Restricted foods of the paleo diet
Some of the foods that are restricted in the paleo diet include:
- Processed vegetable oil
- Dairy products
Benefits of paleolithic diet
Foods of the paleo diet are low on calories which is a vital part of weight reduction. Moreover, a lack of unprocessed fats also ensures that the body does not store high levels of unused fat.
2.Reduce the risk of heart related diseases
Because the paleo diet is low on calories, issues such as obesity are taken care of. This limits the emergence of cardiovascular diseases that come with poor weight management.
3. Control of Sugar levels in the body
Foods in the paleo diet are eaten whole limiting the intake of processed sugar and salt. The paleo diet also seeks to abstain from processed sugars hence preventing a spike in sugar levels inside the body.
What paleolithic diets entails
1. Fruits and vegetables
The paleolithic diet for athletes does not limit one’s intake of fruits and vegetables. Some of the vegetables recommended include;
Vegetables for the paleolithic diet are typically low on fats and calories. This is helpful for athletes to continue remaining fit and help them in weight management.
The incorporation of vegetables in the paleo diet improves the blood pressure of athletes which is helpful to improve their overall performance. How you might ask? Improved blood pressure leads to increased heart rates. As a result, athletes feel less fatigue and ultimately improve their performance.
However, vegetables like potatoes are high in calories and may not be included in the dietary recommendations.
Paleo diet involves intake of lean meats that are low on fats. It includes wild game meats and meats from different herbivores
Some of the meats include;
Meats are usually high on proteins which help to repair and strengthen the tissue of the muscles. Moreover, lean meat is also rich in amino acids needed to repair and build muscles. Meats also contain high iron levels that are used in the body to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an essential tool in the transportation of oxygen to the red blood cells.
Fish are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and are recommended for a paleo diet for an athlete.
These acids not only keep the heart in check and save an anomaly in the rhythm of the heart that can lead to heart attacks but also reduce triglycerides that are restored in fat. They similarly assist in weight control and higher overall performance for an athlete
Some of the fish in a paleo diet include:
- Shell fish
4.Seeds and nuts
Omega 3 fatty acids are contained in nuts and seeds and are a good source of unprocessed fats.
Examples of nuts and seeds that can be incorporated into the paleo diet for an athlete include:
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflowers seeds
Not only do seeds and nuts have healthy fats but also proteins that help an athlete’s muscles be strong and heal faster in case of an injury.
Water is essential to the athlete’s body to reduce the feeling of being tired. Moreover, it acts as a coolant in the body when performing vigorous exercise when the body temperature rises.
Similarly, it helps to restore the water lost during the athlete’s performance through sweating.
Tips for starting a Paleo diet for athletes
1.Always start small
If you’re a beginner, start small and see how your body reacts to the change in diet. If it reacts well then you can continue with the diet and choose a more complex nutrition plan
2.Ask an expert
Try and get a nutritionist to help you in setting up a good paleo diet to ensure that you have a balanced diet and do not run into any complications.
3.Use the resources you have
Do not start looking for game meat when you can easily get access to shrimps or lamb meat. Use the resources that you will be able to obtain readily from your local surrounding.
Sample Paleo diet meal plan for an athlete
Breakfast; Scrambled eggs, Apple
Midday Snack: Sesame seeds
Lunch: lean Lamb meat and broccoli salad
Dinner: Fried salmon and vegetables
While the paleo diet is seen to be all roses, it has some limitations. In addition to these limitations, the paleo diet has not been clinically proven to be as effective as its thought to be for athletes. Some of the limitations include ;
- The paleo diet lacks of some type of nutrients because some foods such as grains are not included.These grains contain vital nutrients that are not only good for the body but also help in the genral well being.
- Limited intake of fiber due to certain food restrictions which can be harmful to the health of the gut and overall digestion.