"If you are looking for a simple way to better understand Paleo concepts, Darryl's Paleo from A to Z guide is the go-to resource."
-Mark Sisson, best-selling author of The Primal Blueprint and publisher of Mark's Daily Apple
Entries in Primal (11)
Paleo: What are Essential Fatty Acids?
Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are essential to the diet since the body is unable to produce these by itself. These act as precursors to local hormone-like substances called prostaglandins which regulate metabolism and inflammation activity within the cells.
Because this occurs at the cellular level the effects of prostaglandin and deficiencies in these essential fatty acids can lead to ill-health.
The two main categories we will discuss are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. To promote good health these fatty acids must be eaten in the required amounts and ratio.
Examples of Omega-3 food sources:
- Oily fish (such as salmon, mackeral, sardines, herring)
- Naturally reared eggs
- Grass-fed meat
Examples of Omega-6 food sources:
- Sunflower oil
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
Both types of fatty acid are essential - however the key differences are omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory and omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory.
In tomorrow's post I will discuss the reasons for maintaining a healthy omega-3/omega-6 balance and why this is beneficial to human health.
This is the final post looking at blood pressure. Can leading a paleolithic lifestyle contribute to maintaining a healthy blood presure?
You can view the previous articles here:
What about medication?
There are a series of options available to counter high blood pressure, the five most common are:
- Angiotension Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotensin Receptor Blockers
- Calcium Channel Blockers
The first three category of drugs relax the blood vessels - this relaxation reduces blood pressure, the fourth (diuretics) reduce the volume of liquid in circulation which reduces blood pressure, finally beta-blockers slow the heart rate and reduce the force of the heart.
Of course like with any medication there are side-effects and usually a combination of these meds are required to reduce blood pressure. There are healthier alternatives available and one option is adopting paleo lifestyle changes:
How can a paleo lifestyle help with hypertension?
Research has shown that simple lifestyle changes can help to reduce blood pressure. In terms of nutrition and exercise.
A Paleolithic diet will assist this by:
- reducing salt by avoiding processed, convenience and artificial foods (over 75% of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy);
- avoiding breakfast cereals - which usually contain high levels of salt
- increasing the intake of seasonal fresh vegetables and fruits;
- more exposure to so-called functional foods that contain properties that help to reduce blood pressure:
- foods such as watermelon, garlic, blueberries, walnuts, have been studied with regard to lowering blood pressure.
- maintaining a paleo diet will reduce the likelihood of being overweight or having higher than healthy levels of fat which also contributes to high blood pressure;
- minimising toxins such as coffee, alcohol and smoking which is known to reduce the risk of hypertension;
- Those who follow a paleo-type diet tend to consume a lot of oily-fish such as sardines, mackeral and sardines. The Journal of the American Heart Association, Circulation published a study that reports that people who ate diets rich in omega-3 on average had lower blood pressure levels than those whose diets were lacking these essential fatty acids;
- paleo staple foods such as fish, nuts, vegetables and eggs contain potassium which combats the negative effects of sodium (found in salt) and thus reduces blood pressure.
A study entitled: Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Feb 2009) concluded that:
"Compared with the baseline (usual) diet, we observed significant reductions in BP associated with improved arterial distensibility"
"Even short-term consumption of a paleolithic type diet improves BP and glucose tolerance, decreases insulin secretion, increases insulin sensitivity and improves lipid profiles without weight loss in healthy sedentary humans."
What about the lifestyle?
A primal lifestyle will promote increased generic low-stress, low-intensity activity such as walking, standing, swimming which has been proven to lower blood pressure.
The brief periods of intense activity which mimic our ancestors are likely to increase acute stress levels (adrenalin) which is beneficial and reduces blood pressure in the long term rather than chronic stress (cortisol) which has a long term impact on increasing blood pressure.
Regular activity helps to keep the blood vessels flexible and open
A primal approach to play (rather than strict adherance to a particular work-out regime) releases feel-good endorphins which are known to lower blood pressure.
Sedentary people have a 35% greater risk of developing high blood pressure than those who exercise regularly.
high blood pressure (hypertension) is an important parameter for health which is often dismissed because of the lack of symptoms. You can feel fine, however the long term (chronic) issues related to high blood pressure affects the:
- Heart (congestive heart failure, where the heart finds it too difficult to pump blood around the body)
- Brain - strokes
- Kidneys - kidney damage and failure
- vascular system (blood vessels) - peripheral arterial disease and aneurysms
- Eyes - eye damage and blindness.
High blood pressure is a factor in 77 percent of strokes, 67 percent of heart disease and 26 percent of kidney failure.
Leading a paleolithic lifestyle has reduced my personal blood pressure (which was slightly elevated) to normal levels, as well as those of my clients (some of which have had dangerously high blood pressure) - without the use of medication.
High blood pressure prevention may reduce the chances of a person developing life-threatening or life-altering conditions, so worth considering.
2011 Paleo Community Survey
The purpose of this survey is to collect information about paleo diet community members, including demographic information, medical conditions, dietary preferences, and physical activity.
The resulting data will be invaluable in terms of understanding the nature of the paleo movement. It will be provided to other bloggers and researchers with the goal of providing a clearer picture of how the paleo diet has affected the lives of its adherents.
Survey respondents will remain anonymous, your name or other identifying information will not be collected. The survey itself is relatively short and should only take a couple of minutes to complete.
Several incentives for completion of the survey have been provided, and will be explain further at the end of the survey. These include a coupon code for Paleo Treats products and the opportunity to win one of several giveaway Amazon.com gift cards.
The survey goes live today March 14th at 11am GMT), will run for two weeks and then shut down late Saturday night on March 26th.
Thanks to David Csonka a friend of mine for making this happen:
Complete the survey here:--> http://naturallyengineered.com/blog/paleo-community-survey-2011/