Healthy Foods To Eat On The Paleo Diet
Starting a new routine or exercise can be quite intimidating and scary at first. This is also true when taking on a new diet. When you take on any new type of eating lifestyle, it can seem overwhelming figuring out what foods you “can” and “cannot” or “should” and “should not” be eating.
Even more so, it can be confusing when you don’t understand the reasons why certain foods are good for you to eat and while others are best just in moderation. We have to be fully aware of the recommended foods as well as the kind of foods that we should avoid. The Paleo diet is no exception. There are many foods that are considered Paleo-friendly but that are also the basic “meat” of the eating lifestyle (no pun intended). But basic meat and natural foods are to broad to identify so here is a list of some of those foods and just why they are important to consume.
- Salmon – These freshwater fishes are great for a variety of preparations like poaching, grilling, roasting, broiling, smoking, or pickling. Salmon is the perfect fish for people who generally don’t like fish. It’s rich and meaty and is a perfect alternative for any chicken-pork-beef meal. Salmon is full of Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, iron, zinc niacin, Vitamins B6 and B12. These properties help fight inflammation, contain antioxidants, supply a healthy source of protein and help keep your heart healthy. Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12 can also improve brain function, cognition, and neurological health.
- Lean Beef – Beef constitutes to our daily protein food intake. However, most of the beef cuts we see on the market often contain saturated fat which is bad news for our cardiovascular health. Choose lean cuts of beef like round steak, shoulder steak, lean ground beef, and flank steak to reap the nutritional benefits of beef without the fat. Lean cuts of beef pack a protein punch without a high amount of saturated fats. There are 29 cuts of lean beef to choose from.
- Chicken – Chicken is one of those meat that finds its place in almost every country’s dish. It is a classic favorite for all age groups. Versatile and healthy, chicken fulfils your protein needs while giving you a variety of ways to cook and prepare it. Opt for boneless, skinless chicken. It provides for over 20% of recommended daily intake for selenium and potassium. Chicken also helps maintain your desired body weight and gives zinc, iron, Vitamin B6, B12, and D.
- Turkey – Turkey is a very rich source of protein, niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and iron. A great source of protein that can be bought either ground, sliced or as an entire breast, turkey also has anti-cancer properties. It is a very good source of selenium which is an essential compound required for thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defence systems, and immune function. The skinless white meat of roasted turkey is low on saturated fat and total fat. That is less cholesterol and fat compared to beef, pork, and chicken. Turkey can be cooked in a variety of ways and there are many easy recipes one can try at home. For those conscious about their fat intake, it is better to cook white turkey meat. Bake, boil, and sauté it in as little oil as much as possible.
- Beets – In a class all their own, beets contain betalains, a phytonutrient that has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxification properties. Beets contain high level of antioxidants that studies have shown may prevent cancer. Beets also lower the risk of heart disease by lowering blood levels of homocysteine which causes inflammation in our heart artery.
- Kale – This vegetable hails from the cabbage family which also includes broccoli and cauliflower. This dark leafy green is extremely high in Vitamins A, K and C and is packed with antioxidants (carotenoids and flavonoids) and lutein, which helps the blood flow smoother throughout the body. Kale is made of fibrous materials like most green leafy vegetables so it is great for digestion and elimination of toxic wastes in the intestines. It is great for detoxification and keeping our livers healthy. Kale is also high in Vitamin K which is shown to be protective against osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes.
- Spinach – As with most veggies, low calorie content means you can eat a large quantity. Spinach is one of these super foods. It contains magnesium, Vitamin C and folate, just to name a few and can possibly reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Spinach greatly helps in diabetes management as it contains an antioxidant that lowers glucose levels and and increase insulin sensitivity in our body. It also helps in asthma prevention because of its beta-carotene nutrient.
- Eggs – Believe it or not, eggs are a great source of both protein and fat, including Omega-3 fatty acids. They even contain all 9 of the essential amino acids and contribute a lot to our daily calcium intake. All in all, one can say that an egg is the perfect food. They contain a little bit of almost every nutrient our body needs. A single hardboiled egg contains Vitamin A, folate, Vitamins B5, B12, B2, phosphorus, selenium, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, calcium, and zinc.
- Avocado – Full of potassium and healthy fats, avocado consumption has been linked to lower chances of contracting metabolic syndrome and possibly increasing HDL – the good cholesterol. One third of a regular-sized avocado contains about 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, which makes it the perfect fruit for the heart. An avocado is a nutrient-dense food since it contains substantial amounts of minerals and other nutrient but with a few calories only. The avocado is also the only fruit that contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat or the good fat.
- Almonds – Portable and filling, almonds are a great on-the-go snack and contain a good amount of calcium, magnesium, fiber and protein. They also contain high levels of healthy unsaturated fatty acids along fiber and antioxidants which help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Because Paleo diets don’t incorporate dairy, this is a great way to get your calcium intake up.
As you can see, none of these Paleo diet foods are much different choices than that of any healthy person, irrespective of diet, would eat on a regular basis. It’s important to make sure you are consuming an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals, especially if you are cutting stuff out of your “normal” diet as you transition to Paleo. Above all, remember to make healthy choices because they make sense to you, not because they fall into a specific diet or fad.