Our motives for following the Paleo lifestyle are all very different. For many people, the main motivation is weight loss, sugar addiction and potentially realizing that they are intolerant to grains. For others, they witness friends who have undergone transformations and are curious as to how they could benefit from following this way of living.
Very often though we forget about the main reason for the change, and that reason is our health. Following the Paleo principle is not only about cutting out grains and other processed foods but also about including long forgotten nutrient filled foods on a regular basis.
The benefits of increasing your nutrient density at each meal are staggering:
- Increase in energy: increased intake in essential vitamins and minerals means more energy
- Decreased cravings: more nutrient rich foods means less cravings for junk foods
- Glowing skin and hair: what you eat on the inside affects your outside appearance
- Weight loss without being hungry: eating nutrient dense foods means eating less with far more satisfaction (1)
- Decreased risk of disease: increased intake of nutrient dense foods means more unprocessed fibre rich foods which prevent cancer, diabetes, cholesterol and diabetes
Lets have a look at some of the nutrient Paleo food powerhouses we should be including in our recipes as often as possible:
Liver is possibly one of the most underrated food items in the modern age. In addition to being full of unprocessed protein, liver offers an array of vitamins and minerals (2):
- Liver is the most concentrated of form of B vitamins, most importantly B12 which is essential for the optimum functioning of the nervous system
- Liver is the most available source of dietary iron, so a definite for the anaemia sufferers
- Our best source of natural folate, if you are considering falling pregnant or are pregnant we are talking to you!
- The most concentrated form of Vitamin A available to us
- Fantastic source of our fat soluble vitamins; A, D, E, K
- A source of essential fatty acids
If you are like many who cannot stomach the thought of cooking let alone eating the stuff there are a few tricks to regularly incorporate it into your diet.
Hide your liver along with other meat and flavors, for instance this delicious burger recipe from Strictly Delicious is made with grass fed beef liver, as well as grass fed beef and bacon. Yum!
Another place to hide the liver is in a Meat loaf. This meatloaf recipe from the nourished caveman is a beautiful marriage between a traditional meatloaf and liver pate.
Or incorporate this Paleo liver pate from Paleo Leap, with Paleo crackers as a nutritious midday snack.
Give liver another try, you will not regret it.
2. Eat a rainbow
So of course that sounds very vague. But to translate, at every meal have a look at your plate and notice the colors on your plate. Effectively to be getting in a broad amount of nutrients on a regular basis we should be eating colorful foods (vegetables and fruits) with every meal or snack.
The amazing thing about the colors found in nature is that they are a signal to us in terms of their nutrient content. The deeper and more vibrant the color, the more potent and concentrated the antioxidants and nutrients found in the food. Think beetroot and berries, the color is so concentrated that they even stain our fingers.
Smoothies are a great way of getting in a broad range of nutrients that we wouldn’t normally eat around that time (Spinach in the morning?).
3. Wild Salmon
This beautifully colored fish is pure brain food. Salmon is full of Omega 3 fatty acids, the essential fatty acid your body does not produce and can only get from external sources.
Omega 3’s aids the body in terms of lowering inflammation, reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and depression and most importantly has a heart protective function (3).
Aside from omega 3’s, regular (wild caught) salmon is also an extremely healthy whole protein source.
We’ve put together 43 heavenly salmon recipes here.
Tip: When you feel like a change from salmon but are still seeking your omega 3’s, sardines and anchovies are the next best thing!
4. Egg yolks
Egg yolks have unfortunately been given a bad reputation over the years. In recent history it was thought that egg yolks could be detrimental to us in terms of their cholesterol content and raising our cholesterol. This theory has since been debunked (4). This is an absolute shame as the yolk of the egg is by far the most nutritious part of the egg. The benefits of eating eggs (yes daily) are numerous and can be the subject of an entire article.
Eggs are an amazing source of whole protein with several other nutrients present:
- Egg yolks are a rich source of Vitamin B12, this is more than 12% of your daily needs
- Eggs are rich in Selenium and choline which are vital for our health
- Choose Omega 3 enriched eggs to increase your dose of healthy fatty acids
- Egg yolks are packed with powerful immune boosting antioxidants
- Rich in our fat soluble A, D, E and K vitamins
Eggs for breakfast really are the best way to start the day.
Aside from being a delicious and necessary addition to any decent meal, garlic is more than just a herb.
Garlic comes from the same family as shallots,onion and leeks- the Allium family. Crushed garlic contains Allicin which is the key to the medicinal properties of garlic (5)
- Garlic helps us combat colds and flu
- Can reduce blood pressure
- Anti-clotting properties
- Anti- cancer properties
- Cholesterol lowering
The Allicin is only released when garlic is crushed when it is still raw. The good news is that only a clove or two a day is enough to reap the benefits of this incredible little herb.
This simple but satisfying recipe of roasted mushroom with shaved garlic is one way of getting in your daily dose of garlic.