The paleo diet is a healthy lifestyle choice for anyone, but it’s particularly helpful for aging adults. Seniors need to be particularly conscious of their health, as they are more prone to illnesses and injuries than younger people are. The paleo diet is incredibly effective for improving physical health and slowing the body’s natural degeneration, particularly for those in senior living. If you’re a senior considering a paleo diet, here’s what you need to know to stay healthy.
What Is The Paleo Diet?
In short, the paleo diet is a diet that cuts out modern processed foods. The idea behind the paleo diet is that our caveman ancestors were healthier, and so by eating foods that are similar in nutrition to what they would have eaten, we can improve our overall well-being. It’s most effective when paired with a strict exercise regimen. Many people worry that the paleo diet will be restrictive, but there is actually a very wide range of foods you can eat while on this diet.
These include fruits, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, eggs, fish, lean meat, and game animals (ie. venison). Ideally, the meat and eggs should be free-range. You can also use olive oil and flaxseed oil when cooking. You should avoid processed, high calorie foods and dairy products. There are different versions of the paleo diet, and ultimately it’s up to you what you decide to cut out of your diet and what you decide to keep. Talk to your doctor before starting a new diet to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
What Are The Benefits Of The Paleo Diet For Seniors?
There are many benefits of the paleo diet for seniors. Since you’re consuming natural foods that are rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, your overall health will improve quickly, and you’ll likely start to feel a difference within a few weeks. Some of the specific benefits of the paleo diet include:
- Weight loss: Many seniors struggle with obesity as they get older, which can lead to a variety of other dangerous health problems. Seniors are more prone to obesity because the body’s ability to process food lessens with age, and it becomes more difficult to break down processed foods. The paleo diet is very effective for weight loss, because it’s low in calories and consists almost entirely of foods that are easy for the body to process. If you are starting the paleo diet for weight loss, keep in mind that you’ll need to pair it with a regular exercise routine to see a real difference. The paleo diet strongly encourages exercise and active living as a part of the lifestyle.
- Nutrient-rich meals: One of the biggest benefits of the paleo diet for anyone is that it consists entirely of foods that are nutrient dense. There are no empty calories in the paleo diet, so everything you eat is providing your body with the nutritional value it needs to run effeciently. In particular, the fruits and vegetables you eat while following the paleo diet are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are crucial for fending off serious health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Processed foods that are high in sugar can significantly increase your risk for health conditions such as these, so by cutting them out, you’re raising your chances for a long, healthy life.
- Increased cognitive functioning: Not only are all these nutrients great for your body, but they’re great for your mind as well. When your brain gets the nutrients it needs, it becomes easier to concentrate, and your risk for cognitive decline lowers. This is very important for seniors, who are often susceptible to memory problems such as dementia.
- Simple and easy to follow: For many seniors, it’s important to have a diet that’s easy to keep up with. Once you settle into the routine of it, the paleo diet is actually very simple to manage. There are many easy recipes available online and in cookbooks that you can make regularly, and there are many resources online that can help you determine whether or not a food is paleo if you’re unsure. The general rule is that if a caveman couldn’t eat it, it’s not part of the diet, which makes things simple and unconfusing.
What Are The Potential Risks Of Paleo For Seniors?
There are some risks of the paleo diet for seniors that are important to be aware of. When starting the diet, you should work with your doctor or a nutritionist to lay out a meal plan that ensures you get all the nutrients you need. It can be easy for those following the paleo diet to fall into a pattern of eating the same things over and over, which means you’ll miss out on any nutrients that those foods don’t provide. It’s important to switch up your meals within the paleo restrictions, and to take vitamin supplements to get any nutrients you’re missing.
It’s also important to note that for those living in food deserts, the paleo diet can be difficult to follow. It can be hard to find access to healthy food in low-income areas without many shopping options. The paleo diet can also be expensive, since organic and grass-fed products are typically priced higher than foods without these labels. Keep in mind that adopting the paleo diet may require you to shop somewhere different or make changes in your budget.
Overall, the paleo diet has many benefits for seniors. The nutrient-rich foods in this diet can give you more energy and support healthy cognitive function, and they’ll reduce your risk of physical and cognitive decline as you age. The paleo diet also encourages an active lifestyle that helps seniors lose weight and stay strong. If you’re considering starting this diet, talk to your doctor for guidance, particularly if you’re in assisted living or another form of senior care.