Blog By thomasa on 11 March 2016

The Benefits of the Paleo Diet on Your Brain

paleo and the brain

Paleo diet is based on the type of foods presumed to have been eaten by the early humans. It is all about eating the foods we were genetically designed to eat. During the Paleolithic period thousands of years ago, people ate roots, meat, vegetables, nuts and a wide variety of fruits. The case for the paleo diet is that it made them healthier, stronger, and less predisposed to diseases. Today, this diet has been largely replaced with pizza, high-fructose foods, refined sugar, pasteurized milk, processed foods, and a narrow variety of fruits.

While we may see ourselves at the zenith of human development, the sad truth is that this kind of diet allows us to survive, but put us far from thriving. Humans today suffer more chronic diseases than before, and our food choices play a major role in this. However, scientific studies have endorsed the paleo diet as the best diet for your health. No pills attached and you don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight. All you have to do is eat in a similar fashion as your Paleolithic ancestors did.

Benefits of Paleo Diet on Your Brain

  1. Brain Health & Development

When it comes to diets, paleo diet plays a great role in brain functioning and development. Since the diet entails eating a lot of fish, you get a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids contain DHA, an important compound for various body parts including eyes and heart. DHA is also important in promoting brain development no matter the age. A study carried out at the University of Maryland Medical Centre showed that Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in brain growth, development, and function.

  1. Defends Your Brain

Time is the biggest danger to your brain. As you age, the neurons in your brain lose connectivity and your memory is more likely to slip. The paleo diet can help protect these connections. A study that was carried out at Columbia University Medical Center showed that Omega 3 fatty acids may lower the risk of suffering the memory-destroying effects of Alzheimer’s disease as you age. It was found that consuming foods rich in Omega 3’s such as fish and nuts resulted in reduction in blood levels of a protein called beta- amyloid that accumulates when you suffer Alzheimer’s disease.

When you opt to go paleo, you also need to include a significant amount of berries in your diet. Berries were an important staple for our Paleolithic ancestors who lived a hunting and gathering lifestyle. The nutrients in berries have been studied and credited for reducing inflammation. The reduction in the inflammation can strengthen your cognitive abilities and lower the detrimental effects of aging of neurons.

 Researchers at the University of Maryland and Tuff University corroborated the evidence by feeding strawberries to lab rats for two months. After 30 days, the rats were found to have a significant protection against radiation compared to animals that were deprived of berries.

  1. Sharper Mind

Do you have a tendency for forgetting things you did recently or people’s names? If so, then you might need to go paleo. A study that was carried out at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine found that rats whose water was laced with fructose had a hard time navigating a maze than their counterparts whose sugar water was spiked with Omega 3 fatty acids. Study shows that it’s not just rats that suffer from lack of DHA. Low DHA level in the human brain has also been linked with high incidences of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Low DHA level is a characteristic of the contemporary diet. Our bodies need Omega 3 fatty acids (DHA) because it cannot synthesize one on its own. This is why DHA is known as an “essential” fatty acid and can be obtained from fish like salmon and mackerel (paleo style). The other option for boosting your brain power is through exercise. This goes in concordance with our paleo ancestors as they were hunters and gatherers.

  1. Better Sleep

By cutting out the additives and chemicals in processed food sources, you will discover that your body naturally gets tired at night. This is because the chemical serotonin that your brain produces as a signal that it’s time to sleep will not be overridden by the other chemicals from food. This might also energize you to wake up early in the morning.

The paleo diet is by far the best diet that requires no complications in preparation. You can’t argue against it. Other benefits include weight loss, reduced risk of diseases, increased insulin sensitivity, more energy, less allergy, more muscle, better gut health, healthy cells, and the list is endless. What a better way to improve your diet, go paleo.