More and more studies are showing that modern paleo diets could slow or prevent atherosclerosis. This condition is characterized by plaque buildup in the arteries. Plaque, which consists of calcium, fibrin, cellular waste, fats, and cholesterol, may partially or totally block the blood’s flow through an artery in the brain, heart, arms, legs, or kidneys. Switching to the paleo diet seems to be an effective means to prevent hardening of the arteries.
It is estimated that 17 out of 1000 people suffer from atherosclerosis. This condition causes the arteries to harden and narrow, which restricts the oxygen supply and blood flow to vital organs. If left untreated, it may lead to coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, angina, and peripheral arterial disease. Most people have no symptoms at all until cardiovascular disease develops.
The risk of atherosclerosis increases with age. A family history of heart disease, lack of exercise smoking, being overweight or obese, heavy alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition are among the most common risk factors. People with diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are more likely to develop atherosclerosis. These disorders are largely due to the modern diet, which is high in trans fats and sugar.
Paleolithic-type diets are based on fresh fruit and vegetables, poultry, grass-fed meat, raw nuts, and seeds. They also restrict deli meats, chips, grains, alcohol, soft drinks, and heavily processed foods. It’s no wonder why going paleo can help prevent atherosclerosis and other related diseases.
According to health experts, the paleo diet improves cardiovascular health and blood lipid profile. It also decreases insulin and leptin resistance, two hormones that play a key role in diabetes. When combined with regular exercise and adequate rest, its benefits are even greater.
However, some medical professionals recommend cutting cheese, bacon, butter, and other high fat foods that are allowed on the paleo diet. This is particularly important for people with high cholesterol, heart disease, and atherosclerosis. Even though these foods are safe for healthy individuals, they may elevate LDL cholesterol in some people. Modern studies, on the other hand, indicate that saturated fat has little or no effects on blood cholesterol.
One thing is for sure: going paleo can dramatically reduce heart disease risk and prevent atherosclerosis. Just giving up processed foods and refined sugar can have a significant impact on blood cholesterol. The paleo diet is subject to extensive research, but its health benefits seem promising so far.