Mind and body… these are the two gifts we’re given at birth and spend the rest of our days feeding and nurturing. In today’s busy world, our time spent tending to career and family responsibilities combined with modern conveniences that don’t exactly promote a healthy lifestyle have all contributed to a steady decline in the quality of both our mental and physical health. The Paleo Diet and fitness program is one that is gaining popularity because of the improvements its practitioners have seen in both their mental and physical health.
One can easily see the yield of our declining mental and physical health through simple observation of just a few factors:
* Increases in obesity rates across all age groups in our nation.
* Significantly increased incidence of persons currently being treated with medications that address mental health problems (e.g. anti-depressant, anti-anxiety drugs).
* Increased rates in diseases whose occurrence is directly related to health maintenance (heart disease, diabetes, etc.).
* Stress related illnesses (can often include varieties of mental and physical conditions). As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. That said, we need to understand that many of the physical and mental conditions which are more commonly diagnosed these days are in fact becoming more common due to the lack of preventative measures being taken with respect to one’s health. The Paleo diet is designed to foster those preventative measures and promote overall good health by returning us to an everyday diet that our bodies respond positively to on a genetic level. The basis of the plan is to consume foods in accordance with the diets of our hunter and gatherer ancestors. The Paleo plan includes lean proteins, fish, nuts, fresh fruits and low-starch vegetables. Scientifically speaking the nutrients found in these food address a wide variety of health issues on both the mental and physical levels.
* Lean Proteins (Meats) – Regular consumption of lean meats promotes muscle growth and has some effect on our bone and joint health. This practice also helps us to maintain a reasonable weight.
* Fish and Nuts – The Paleo diet is also full of foods that contain healthy amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that Omega-3s not only promotes/improves cardiovascular health, but also have an effect on neurotransmitters linked to mental disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, ADD/ADHD and schizophrenia.
*Fruits and Vegetables – Feeds both our minds and bodies with the neces
sary vitamins and minerals necessary for appropriate development and health maintenance. The Paleo Diet goes quite far to improve that status of our mental and physical heath. It’s actually much easier to follow than you might think. Interestingly enough, it proves that the relationship between mental and physical health is not at all mutually exclusive, and by taking measures to address one area will likely have a positive effect on the other.
Don’t let the “starve yourself” fad diets continue to set you up for failure. Put this well proven plan into action and stick with it. Like I said, mind and body are both gifts. Don’t let either go to waste.
Will writes for a leading NHS locum agency with GP jobs and nursing positions throughout the UK and further afield.