When you think about the paleo diet, you probably visualize our ancestor the caveman , but what about the cave woman? This diet emphasizes hearty, protein rich meals, the consumption of whole foods and large helpings of complex carbs. While this way of eating is equally good for both men and women, paleo foods are actually the best diet for women.
The Benefits of Paleo Foods
In the health industry soy is always up for debate. Is soy good or bad for you? Soy is not considered an approved paleo food. It’s a phytoestrogen, which is an estrogen-like substance that naturally occurs in legumes. When you eat food that’s rich in phytoestrogen it will boost the amount of estrogen in the bloodstream.
Too much estrogen can alter a person’ mood, lead to ovarian cysts, cause weight gain and worsen symptoms associated with PMS. Because approved paleo foods do not include legumes, you can benefit from a diet that’s free from phytoestrogen.
The paleo lifestyle also eliminates refined sugar from your shopping list. Sugar tastes pretty amazing and it’s found in many processed foods. It can easily cause you to overeat and it’s very addictive. Sugar will also cause significant weight gain, which means an excessive amount of estrogen because fat cells produce it.
As you now know, too much estrogen will worsen your PMS, and cause cysts and mood swings. Sugar also has an effect on testosterone production. Too much testosterone can have a negative impact on fertility, decreases sex drive, causes acne and can lead to male pattern baldness.
Grains are also a big no-no when it comes to eating paleo foods. This means you’ll have to give up bread, pasta, your morning breakfast bowl of cereal and oatmeal. A diet rich in grains can cause leaky gut syndrome.
This condition can lead to autoimmune diseases which are more frequently diagnosed in women, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The body breaks grains down into sugar, which can have a negative impact on your skin, sex drive and fertility.
This diet encourages paleo foods that are rich in healthy fats. Vegetable, soybean and corn oils contain omega 6 fats, which are considered inflammatory and are not allowed on this diet.
Inflammation can lead to menstrual cramping or poor muscle recovery and intestinal issues. Healthy fats, which contain anti-inflammatory omega three fats such as DHA and EPA, are strongly encouraged. Healthy fats can be found in fatty fish, such as sardines and salmon, or in avocados.
Paleo foods are also nutrient dense. This means that you’ll consume foods that contain a large amount of nutritional value, but are low in calories. The paleo diet promotes the consumption of organic foods.
These paleo foods are free of chemicals, preservatives, additives and hormones. The diet eliminates processed foods and instead focuses on eating fresh fruits and veggies, organic, grass-fed meats, free-range poultry and eggs and wild-caught fish.
How Paleo Effects Your Hormone Levels
Women tend to experience intense cravings during menstruation. Nothing is worse than being on a strict diet during this time. When a woman overeats, this can cause overproduction of hormones. Not eating enough can cause a decrease in hormone levels.
Eating too much or too little can lead to infertility, trouble sleeping and fatigue. The paleo lifestyle allows you to eat whenever you’re hungry. Eating whenever the body signals that it’s hungry works to ensure that a woman’s hormone production will be in sync.
You’re also not required to keep track of your carb intake or count calories on paleo, even with tasty salad dressings. Which can be a huge relief for anyone that’s had to rigorously measure their food portions, counting every calorie. Paleo encourages you to eat healthy, whole foods, whenever you crave them and to stop eating once you feel full. Following this way of eating is important for maintaining a healthy weight and balancing hormone levels.
Paleo foods can also boost your sex drive, improve your complexion, cause weight loss and strengthens bones. Paleo is not a fad diet, but a lifestyle. This way of eating is designed to be followed for the long term. Most diets focus on fast weight loss results. People are not aware that these results are usually nothing more than the loss of water weight.
What’s worse, if you do lose more than just water weight, it’s often muscle you end up losing, not fat. These fad diets will limit how many calories or carbs you consume during each meal and this often leads to the individual cheating on their diet. People may stick to a fad diet for a few weeks or months, but will usually go back to their old way of eating, which causes them to gain back any weight that was lost.
The Paleo Lifestyle for the Long Haul
Paleo will actually teach you how to eat right and make healthier food choices, even if you are an athlete and consume mostly carbs. This way of eating is more popular than ever. Eating out is no longer a struggle if you follow a paleo diet because so many restaurants now offer paleo friendly options.
There are also a number of resources that can be found online that can help to support you and provide you with some guidance, if you’re new to the paleo lifestyle. Take a look at paleo forums, sites devoted to paleo meal prepping and recipes or speak with a nutritionist who can work with you to create a paleo friendly meal plan, based on your personal tastes.