Do you ever wonder why the most common health problems men face seem to strike between the ages of 40 and 50? By this time the majority of men in this age demographic are married with atleast a couple of kids, are in a stressful job, don’t get regular exercise and eat an unhealthy and high caloric grain-based diet that is laden with trans-fats, sugar, sodium, carbohydrates, dairy and other fillers. About a million years ago, our prehistoric ancestors were hunter gatherers and ate a healthy plant and animal-based diet referred to as the paleo diet or caveman diet, since this replicates the diet eaten by early humans during the paleolithic period.
About 10,000 years ago the human diet was forever changed with the advent of agriculture and farming, including wheat, barley, oats, and potatoes; and early humans also discovered cooking with fire, which made many previously inedible foods like wheat, potato, beans and legumes edible. While these discoveries introduced people to a whole new world of foods, cooking methods and storing food, it also eventually introduced the modern human race to a host of health issues our prehistoric relatives never had to deal with. This included weight issues, heart disease, hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, and even dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Medical researchers have traced many avoidable and reversible health issues to the effects of a grain and dairy based diet. When grains are digested they are converted into gluten (sugar). The excess abundance of sugars in the body results in heart disease, diabetes, insulin resistance, excess fat, hypertension and inflammation in the body. Research has also shown that people who eat a primarily grain based diet are more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease than people who avoid grain and dairy, and eat a Paleo diet. The real key to eliminate health problems that many men over 40 are experiencing is to eat like our paleolithic cousins did.
What’s The Paleo Diet Anyway?
The mantra of The Paleo Diet enthusiasts is “If cavemen didn’t eat it, neither should you.” The Paleo Diet, also called the Caveman Diet or Primal Diet is a way of eating only fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats and fish the way our healthier cave dwelling ancestors did about two million years ago during the paleolithic period, and eliminates the consumption of grains, fats, sugar, soy and dairy products. Sounds pretty boring doesn’t it? The Paleo Diet basics state that almost every type of food you loved in a grain and dairy based diet, is available in the Paleo Diet and is very tasty too! This includes: breads, cakes, cookies, mayo, mustard and ketchup. Instead of using wheat flour, Paleo Diet recipes use almond flour and coconut flour.
Dairy is banned in the Paleo Diet, since dairy products can cause inflammation in your body. Potatoes are banned in the Paleo Diet, due to their high starch content. There are several Paleo-approved alternatives to potatoes, including cauliflower, sweet potato and plantains.
Grains are verboten on the Paleo diet, including the popular quinoa. Like dairy products, grains are believed to be inflammatory to the body and thought to cause of leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune disorder. Grains contain phytic acid, which blocks the body from absorbing calcium. Also, grains must be processed before they are edible in the human diet, and The Paleo Diet bans consumption of processed foods. While whole wheat is a better choice than enriched wheat products, it’s still a no-no on the Paleo Diet.
We hear all the time that grains are so good for us and one of food groups to be consumed daily, so why is it banned in The Paleo Diet? Our Paleolithic cousins did not consume grains 2 million years ago. This key ingredient in the Western diet was only introduced into the human diet about 10,000 years ago, well after the early humans of the Paleolithic period existsed, which is why wheat products are banned in The Paleo Diet, also known by such names as the Caveman Diet, Primal Diet, and Hunter Gatherer Diet.
Beans and peanuts, which are in the legume family, are not allowed in The Paleo Diet primarily because they were not yet around during the Paleolithic period the same way grains had yet been discovered until agriculture was developed, and therefore, were not part of the hunter gatherer diet some 2 million years ago. Another reason legumes are out is there detrimental effect on the human body. Legumes contain lectins, and medical research discovered that lectins may increase intestinal permeability and can trigger one the many autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and vitiligo, according to Dr. Loren Cordain, one of the world’s leading experts on the Paleolithic diets.
Benefits of The Paleo Diet for Men over 40
Now that you know what The Paleo Diet is, let’s discuss the 10 key benefits of the Paleo Diet for men over 40.
1. Eliminates wheat and other grains, that cause inflammation in the digestive system that can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease or other digestive disorders.
2. Reverse or eliminates cardiovascular disease by eliminating unhealthy foods laden with trans-fats, LDL cholesterol, sugar, processed sodium, and carbohydrates.
3. Food groupings are naturally high in protein and low in carbohydrates and gluten.
4. Reverses or eliminates Type 2 Diabetes, by eliminating consumption of processed sugars, fat and carbohydrates, which increases insulin sensitivity and reduces insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. By increasing insulin sensitivity, the body uses less insulin and symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes will naturally disappear.
5. Increases energy. By eliminating foods high in carbohydrates and empty calories, your body uses the healthy proteins, carbohydrates and antioxidant nutrients more efficiently, which allows the body to convert the food into energy and not fat.
6. Most men on the Paleo Diet report losing weight easily, as the body uses the food more efficiently and does not allow the food to be stored as fat, and helps convert stored fat into energy, thus resulting in weight loss, particularly in the mid section.
7. Reduces male infertility. The Paleo Diet eliminates Oxidative stress on the body from consumption of processed oils and soy products, which have been linked to low sperm count and poor sperm motility, which are the two key factors preventing a male from helping to get pregnant.
8. Reduces or eliminates the chance of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, by cutting out wheat products.
9. By eliminating processed foods and eating only a natural diet, many men in their 40’s that had trouble losing weight, have found the pounds seem to drop away easily after switching over to the Paleo Diet and eating a primal diet as our ancestors did.
10. By eliminating wheat, dairy and soy products, many people find they are free of allergies, migraine headaches and other illnesses, without the use of prescription medications.
Why Not Just Go on a Diet?
Many modern diets unfortunately don’t work in the long run because they simply have you eat less of the grains, dairy foods and chemicals that ultimately lead many of the health problems people today face. So, by eating less of the grain and dairy-based foods, you are just prolonging the eventuality of the damage to your body that the modern grain and dairy based diet inflicts on your organs, tissue and body systems, such as heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and inflammation. We all know that people hate diets, and the Paleo Diet is really not a diet in the classic definition of a process to restrict or eliminate foods for the purpose of losing weight. The Paleo Diet, also referred to as the Caveman Diet, is simply the natural way of eating without grains, sugar, processed foods and chemical ingredients, the way our ancestors ate as hunter gatherers, not modern cubicle dwellers.
Ken Weiss is a health blogger who is passionate about natural and holistic cures for men’s health issues. He is the founder of menshealthcures.com