The Paleo Diet has gained a lot of traction after it was first proposed in the 2005 book The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel. The concept behind the diet is to apply the eating habits of our Stone Age ancestors to the grueling demands of modern-day endurance sports.
The theory is that even though 10,000 years have passed, the human genome has not changed significantly since the Stone Age. What was natural and beneficial for the active lifestyles of our Paleolithic ancestors is also natural and beneficial for us.
Unfortunately, many of the foods we eat in Western society today are nonoptimal and consist of grains, dairy, sugar, and legumes. If we want peak performance and sustained good health, we must eat more optimal foods in our diet.
Let’s briefly discuss why the Paleo diet is recommended for athletes.
What the Paleo Diet Consists of
The Paleo diet involves only those foods that were supposed to be eaten by our Stone Age ancestors. These include:
- Eggs (6-12 per week)
- Lean meat (preferably organ meats, game and wild meats)
- Fish and shellfish
- Fruits and vegetables
- Seeds and nuts (except peanuts)
- Oils (olive, flaxseed, and walnut)
- Moderate intake of coffee, tea, wine, beer, and dried nuts
According to the Paleo diet, we are fully adapted to eating these optimal foods because our species has eaten them for hundreds of thousands of years. Eat these, and your body and performance will show massive improvement. Avoid, and you will compromise them both.
One thing to note is that serious athletes can bend the rules a bit and cheat on the diet because of the extraordinary demands they place on their bodies, compared to our Stone Age ancestors. This includes the use of some nonoptimal foods like carbs on a limited basis.
How Athletes Can Benefit
Serious athletes have certain macronutrient requirements that change with the demands of the training season.
The Paleo Diet is beneficial for athletes, especially because it allows easy adaptability to the high-intensity and low-intensity periods of the training season. The Paleo diet can significantly improve athletes’ long-term health because of its content. This includes:
- Increased intake of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). This aids muscle development and anabolic function, while counteracting immunosuppression following extensive, endurance exercises.
- Decreases the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which reduces tissue inflammation common in athletes and promotes healing. This includes soothing asthmatic symptoms.
- Reduces body acidity levels, by lowering the catabolic effect of acidosis on bone and muscles and stimulates protein synthesis in muscles. This is also beneficial in terms of aging.
- Has high trace nutrients because of the emphasis on vegetables, seafood, and fruits. These nutrients include vitamins and minerals, which are crucial for optimal health and long-term recovery.
Whether you are running, cycling, rowing, swimming, or cross-country skiing, you are placing great demands on your body.
The Paleo diet gives two benefits, which every athlete requires: quick recovery before your next workout and optimal health for the rest of your life.
The Paleo diet isn’t very hard to follow. What’s great is that if you’re living in Florida and want to avoid the hassle of making your own Paleo meals, you can subscribe to our Paleo meal plan.
We provide a Paleo meal plan delivery in Miami. Our meals are made from the freshest and highest quality ingredients to give you all the Paleo nutrients to fuel your physical demands!