Is Ancestral Diet Still Healthy Today? – msnNOW

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Is Ancestral Diet Still Healthy Today? - msnNOW

One of the main reasons many people have been on a modern-day diet is easier access to food. You can fulfill your cravings quick and even get the taste that suits your taste buds. 



a pan filled with meat and vegetables: Paleo diet focuses on meat, vegetables and nuts but low intake of fruit.


© Pixabay
Paleo diet focuses on meat, vegetables and nuts but low intake of fruit.


However, health experts have been encouraging people to look back to the past and try the food that human ancestors ate. That is because of the growing link between modern style of eating and diseases. 

Experts believe the effects of ancestral diet could help reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Such conditions have been affecting millions of people in the U.S. and other countries across the world. 

To date, estimates show that six in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease, while four in 10 Americans are living with two or more chronic conditions, according to ChrisKresser.com. However, our ancestors didn’t suffer from such diseases. 

That could be due to their diets that focused on nutrient-dense, whole foods. Another potential evidence that food played a role in their health is that today’s hunter–gatherers also have low rates of chronic diseases. 

For example, there are no Hadza adults diagnosed with diabetes in Tanzania, while the Tsimané people in Bolivia have an 80 percent lower rate of atherosclerosis compared to people in the U.S. The Maasai community in Kenya that relies on red meat, blood and milk is also known for little to none cardiovascular diseases. 

Our ancestors and modern-day hunter-gatherers eat more animal-based foods, which contain good amounts of high-quality protein, calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B12 and K2. Such nutrients are commonly found in seafood, red meat, pastured eggs and liver. 

Surprisingly, some hunters also loved vegetables. Some benefits of the ancestral diet come from plant-based foods. 

Vegetables are not as calorie-dense as animal-based products. But they contain high amounts of vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids and prebiotic fibers, among other essential nutrients. 

Vegetables are known for helping maintain healthy microbiome and digestion. The ancestral diet also include grains and legumes, fruit, nuts and seeds. 

Lack Of Refined Sugar, Flour And Seed Oils

Another reason to try ancestral diet is the absence of refined sugar, flour and seed oils. Such food products have been linked to overeating and inflammation that contribute to modern diseases. 

To date, 36 percent of the standard American diet include vegetable oils and sugar. 

Ancestral Diet Health Benefits

Longer Life

Studies suggested that Paleolithic ancestors lived only until age 30. But researchers focused on rates of infant mortality. 

However, anthropologists said that if modern hunter–gatherers survive childhood, they could live for an average of 68 to 78 years. And because of their lower risk of chronic disease, their elderly people might have better quality of life compared to people of the same age in urban areas. 

Following an ancestral diet and combining it with modern medicine may lead to lower health risks and longer lifespan. 

Gut Health

Studies showed that the ancestral populations that eat animal and plant foods have better microbial diversity than people on industrialized diet. One research found that people in urban areas who had diverse microbiome because of Paleo diets had health as good as traditional populations, the Inuit, Hadza and Matses.

Decreased Inflammation

Ancestral diet removes refined sugar, grains and seed oils from one’s daily meals. Avoiding these modern products helps reduce markers of inflammation, leading to improvements in blood pressure, waist circumference and lipid profiles. 

Weight Loss

One study showed that people who consumed less added sugar, refined grains and processed foods could significantly reduce weight in 12 months. The ancestral diets provide foods that are more satiating, which help people consume fewer calories.


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