The paleo diet, also called the “caveman diet” is more than a common health fad. It’s a new way to think about the foods we eat and develop meal strategies that better reflect our natural heritage.
At its core, this diet plan encourages people to eat like our pre-civilization ancestors, emphasizing foods that would have been common to our Stone Age forefathers.
The Paleolithic era, where the diet gets its name, would have seen early humans eating lots of meats, seeds, nuts, fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish. There certainly would have been no processed sugars, excess salts, and high-fructose corn syrup. The human species evolved while eating natural, unprocessed foods, so it makes sense that we should eat these foods today.
It seems like a smart diet for everyone, but how about athletes? To survive, our ancestors would have needed to run, jump, lift, throw, and chase. In other words, they would have been athletes too. In theory, the foods they ate would have enhanced their performance. This makes the paleo diet especially appealing to today’s athletes.
So what are the benefits of a paleo diet for athletes? Let’s take a look…
7 Benefits of the Paleo Diet for Athletes
Plenty of Protein for Muscle Recovery
Because of the emphasis on meats and nuts, the paleo diet has lots of protein, which is essential for rebuilding muscles after a strenuous workout. No matter what sport you participate in, you’ll be able to get lean, strong muscles that make you a more effective athlete.
Carbohydrates Done Right
Because there are fewer breads, the paleo diet naturally lowers carbohydrates, but it doesn’t eliminate them entirely. You’ll still get heathy carbohydrates that help you perform your best from fruits and vegetables.
Quicker Fat Loss
By building up your muscles through a paleo diet, the body naturally send energy to muscle cells, not to fat cells. This can mean quicker fat loss and even an increase in metabolism.
Reduces Sodium and Refined Sugars
This is good for everyone, not just athletes. Because the paleo diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables, there is little room on your plate for refined sugars, salty foods, and other highly-processed ingredients that bog you down and make you a less effective athlete.
More Healthy Fats, Less Trans-Fats
When you go on a paleo diet, you’ll be eating more healthy fats, like the kind you get from avocados, almonds, and olive oil. You’ll also consume less trans-fats, which are one of the top causes of obesity, heart disease, and other health problems. By taking in the right kinds of fats, you prepare your body for a rigorous workout and a strong recovery.
More Energy, Without the Shakes and Drinks
By taking in the right kinds of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, you give your body more natural energy. You won’t need protein shakes and energy drinks to get you going, because your body is already energized and healthy.
Good for Your Mind
The paleo diet can also enhance your mental clarity by promoting foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon. These nutrients are known to enhance brain development and function, so you’ll not only be better physically, you could also become a sharper, more acute athlete.
The paleo diet may not for everyone, but if you are an athlete with an active lifestyle, it just might be perfect for your dietary needs!
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Kif Richmann graduated with a degree in journalism and communication studies from Iowa University, where he spent time as Sports Director for the student radio station. He currently writes independently full time across a wide range of topics including fitness, fishing, hunting, sports, construction, business, automotive, and more.