As I began my journey into the Paleo diet, one thing became abundantly clear: the Paleo lifestyle is much more than simply eliminating certain foods.
This life-changing dietary alteration has the ability to transform not only my waistline, but also my overall health and wellness. For millions, the Paleo diet is an answer to their growing health problems.
The fundamental principles of the Paleolithic diet are relatively simple – avoid processed foods and replace them with wholesome, nutrient-dense counterparts. For anyone who knows me, they understand I have an obsession with research. It’s with this desire to learn more about this life-altering, I stumbled across the topic of “superfoods.”
What Are Superfoods – A Brief Overview of This Popular Term
Whenever I hear the term “superfood” I imagine a masked hero bursting through my window and handing me a rare, glowing, fruit or vegetable. While these Paleo foods don’t come with a dynamic soundtrack and a caped crusader, their impact on your body is just as powerful.
Paleo Superfood #1 – Dark Chocolate
When I first began debating whether or not to go on the Paleo diet, I had a moment of dread. Although I craved health and healing, I also had a different craving: chocolate. In the quest of perfect health, would I have to abandon one of my most treasured guilty pleasures? To my surprise, the answer to this question was much different than anticipated.
Before you begin to argue with me about how chocolate isn’t a Paleo food, I’m not referring to the sugar-filled processed candy bar found in convenience stores. Rather, I’m talking about the unrefined, unprocessed and flavorful version of dark chocolate.
80% pure dark chocolate is filled with specialized compounds known to protect your cardiovascular system from damage. With every serving, you’re treated to a buffet of antioxidants, flavonoids and flavanols. These compounds work to repair cellular damage due to free radicals while actively lowering blood pressure and increasing overall blood flow to your heart and brain.
However, don’t go overboard with this Paleo food. Eat only 3 to 5 small squares of pure dark chocolate every day.
Paleo Superfood #2 – Grass-Fed Lean Beef
The heart and soul of the Paleo diet is protein. Our cave-dwelling ancestors heavily relied on protein sources to fuel their bodies as they moved throughout their daily activities. In fact, their overall daily caloric intake was 19 to 35 percent from protein sources. When we look at the modern western diet, protein generally comprises only 15 percent of the calories we consume.
Grass-fed lean beef is loaded with essential nutrients, such as vitamin E, CLA, omega-3 fatty acids and beta-carotene. Unlike other forms of beef, which are fed a complex concoction of hormones, antibiotics and synthetic compounds designed to “beef” up cows, 100% grass-fed beef contains twice the concentration of beta-carotene and lutein. Another benefit? Grass-fed cows tend to come from sustainable farms that treat their livestock with respect.
Paleo Superfood #3 – Blueberries
During my research about the best Paleo foods to enhance my health and nutritional profile, I was thrilled to learn my favorite berry is considered one of the most potent superfoods. These sweet and juicy fruits feature some of the highest antioxidant counts of any fruit.
The potent nutritional profile of an organic raw blueberry does far more than give you a daily dose of Vitamin C, although they are considered one of the best sources of this essential vitamin. By infusing your body with massive amounts of vitamins, polyphenols and minerals, organic blueberries have been shown to support healthy bones, manage diabetes, lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease and even protect against certain types of cancers.
Get the most out of these delicious fruits by eating 1 cup of organic blueberries each day.
Paleo Superfood #4 – Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Throughout the past several years, few superfoods have grown in popularity as fast as organic coconut oil. Many believe this is one of the most potent Paleo foods capable of not only enhancing the flavor of your dishes, but also boosting your overall health and vitality. As much as I wanted to disprove the promoted benefits of coconut oil, my research has proven these claims are factual and real.
- Reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
- Promote weight loss by increasing metabolism and suppressing appetite.
- Improve brain function due to its high concentration of medium chain triglycerides.
As with all Paleo foods, make sure you only use unprocessed and unrefined virgin coconut oil.
Paleo Superfood #5 – Leafy Greens
- Boost overall immune system functionality
- Enhance blood circulation
- Promote dynamic blood purification
- Sustain energy throughout your day
- Ease symptoms of depression
- Fight against inflammation
- Support digestion by tending to intestinal flora
To truly maximize this Paleo food, try to add leafy greens into your Paleo diet at least once a day.
Paleo Superfood #6 – Organic Free Range Eggs
As mentioned earlier, protein plays an essential role in the Paleo diet. Because the Paleo lifestyle is built around mimicking the Paleolithic diet of our ancestors, it’s important to choose food sources that are closely aligned with the type of foods they ate.
The nutritional profile of organic free range eggs is quite impressive. Within each compact shell, your body is delivered a host of amino acids, carotenoids and various minerals. Along with filling your body with protein, one study found cooked eggs produce peptides known to lower blood pressure and support overall cardiovascular health.
Paleo Superfood #7 – Wild Caught Salmon
A staple in many Paleo diets is fish; specifically wild caught salmon. Throughout the past several years, the importance of omega-3 fatty acids has circulated throughout the mainstream consciousness. The Paleo diet highlights the value of this compound as many recommended Paleo foods are rich in this essential fat. Most notably is the inclusion of wild caught salmon.
Wild caught salmon not only contains a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, but also unique bioactive proteins, known as bioactive peptides. These molecules work to support healthy healthy cardiovascular, digestive, nervous and immune systems. Unfortunately, these compounds are primarily derived from dairy. However, by regularly consuming wild caught salmon, you’re able to sustain recommended levels of these essential peptide molecules.
Supercharging Your Paleo Diet – Maximizing Your Health and Vitality
Of course, there are many other foods which feature dense nutritional profiles and are essential for a healthy Paleo lifestyle. Yet, it would be impossible to describe each and every one.
These Paleo foods were chosen because of their ease of availability, cost-effectiveness and versatility within most Paleo recipes. By actively trying to incorporate these Paleo superfoods into you daily diet, you’ll soon begin to experience the true benefit of the Paleo diet – energy, health and genuine wellness.
What’s your experience with these Paleo superfoods? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to share this powerful article with your friends and family!