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The Paleo Diet: Should it Really be Left to Cavemen or is it an Option for Alzheimer’s Prevention?

Posted by on Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

 Paleo diet for Alzheimer's prevention

 

There are many claims to fame when it comes to new diets popping up in today’s world of health and nutrition seekers.  Modern diet fads include everything from the vegan diet to the MIND and Zone diets.  One such popular, so called healthy eating plan is the Paleo Diet, commonly known as the “Caveman Diet.” There are many questions about the Paleo diet, including, just what, exactly is on the menu, is it really what the cavemen at?  Is “Paleo” considered a healthy Alzheimer’s prevention diet?

The Diet’s Origins

The Paleo diet is said to mimic the eating patterns of our ancient ancestors during the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age period.  This historical time frame occurred approximately two and a half million years ago, when the first humans walked the earth.  The Paleo diet gets its name from foods that presumably were eaten by cavemen back in the Paleolithic era. 

The food on the Paleo diet, intended to help dieters get in touch with their ancestral roots, includes meat, eggs, fish, fruit, nuts vegetables and other natural unprocessed foods.  Milk and dairy products are prohibited on the Paleo diet, because cave men are said to have been intolerant of lactose.  Other foods that are prohibited on the Paleo diet include: legumes, cereal, grains, refined sugar and all processed foods (essentially, no potato chips, pop, crackers, cereal, macaroni, pasta or any other pre-packaged foods).   But, did our stone aged ancestors really eat the same foods recommended on today’s Paleo diet?

Available Foods on the Ancient Paleo Diet

The answer is an emphatic, “not really.”  First off, let’s get clear on who these early humans were and how they lived.  The people in the Paleolithic times had an average lifespan of around 20 years and ate just about anything they could scrounge up, including grubs, nettles and even armadillos, according to National Geographic. 

Vegetables that were accessible back in prehistoric times included plants such as cattails and ferns.  Nuts, fruits and vegetables, most likely included varieties of modern day foods, but historians are in dispute over exactly what types of food was available.  Many experts hypothesize that ancient day vegetables may have included, small tomatoes and potatoes (the size of berries), spiny sea urchins, prickly bitter lettuce, tough, curly sea kale (that grew along the coastal areas), starchy, hard peas, and tiny carrots.  Beans were thought to be lined with toxins (thus, no legumes are allowed on the Paleo diet).  

Most of the meat eaten in the days of our Paleolithic ancestors included much smaller, less plump versions of today’s protein sources. 

Paleolithic fruit included apples, dates, figs, plums, pears, and grapes. Although smaller and a bit tarter than today’s variety of fruit (unlike the vegetables of historic times), the foods available in the fruit category were more similar to those we eat today.

Evolution of the Human Digestive System

Quote from National Geographic: “The notion that we stopped evolving in the Paleolithic period simply isn’t true. Our teeth, jaws, and faces have gotten smaller, and our DNA has changed since the invention of agriculture. “Are humans still evolving? Yes!” says geneticist Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania.

Conclusion

Although it may seem to make perfect sense to eat like we did ten thousand years ago; before you begin eliminating healthy whole grains and healthy legumes from your Alzheimer’s prevention diet, keep in mind that today’s Paleo diet is a far cry from the actual foods featured on the menu that our ancient ancestors ate.

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s diet by CLICKING HERE to get your copy of Alzheimer’s Treatment and Prevention, written by a Harvard trained neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson.

For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit theadplan.com to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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