Modern calorie-counters in India have discovered a new fad: eat the way our ancestors ate to prevent early ageing and ward-of lifestyle diseases.
. The Paleolithic, caveman or Stone Age diet is fast catching up with the health conscious Indians, though it may not be easy to suggest a framed paleo diet that hold good for all.
‘The food consumed today is processed in nature, low on fiber and high on sodium. This is a reason behind the increasing ailments like diabetes,heart diseases.’
Advertisement. The caveman diet consists of what our ancestors ate -- from meat to plant-rich food, fruits, nuts and vegetables in raw, boiled or barbecued form.
. "No doubt that our ancestral diet was full of fibre and nutrients that definitely compliment super health and slow-ageing. The food consumed today is processed in nature, low onfibre and high on sodium. This is a reason behind the increasing ailments like diabetes,heart diseases, etc," says Dr Ritika Samaddar, head (nutrition and dietetics) at Max Super Specialty Hospital.
. "However, we need to keep in mind that our ancestors had a very different lifestyle from us. They were far more physically active; hence the high-fibre content in their food got easily digested," she told.
. According to Dr Samaddar, it is important to take a note of important elements that were part of our ancestral diet but do not try to ape them. "Include raw veggies and fruits for high-fibre and nutrients but in quantities that match our lifestyle. Have an active lifestyle and consume lots of water to ensure good digestion," she advises.
. Not just meat and fruits, researchers are now looking into the carbohydrate consumption in early humans. According to a team of researchers from Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain, eating meat may have kick-started the evolution of bigger brains but carbohydrate consumption, particularly in the form of cooked starchy foods together with evolution of genes that increased our ability to digest starch, made modern humans smarter.
. "The human brain uses up to 25 percent of the body's energy budget and up to 60 percent of blood glucose. While synthesis of glucose from other sources is possible, it is not the most efficient way and these high glucose demands are unlikely to have been met on a low carbohydrate diet," noted the researchers in a paper published in the journal The Quarterly Review of Biology.
. For Seema Singh, chief clinical nutritionist at Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, key takeaways from the ancestral diet are wholesome fruits and vegetables.
. "Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants that protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. Antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E and carotenoids help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Other naturally occurring antioxidants include flavonoids, phenols and lignans," Singh told.
. The paleolithic diet excludes dairy or cereal products and processed food and alcohol or coffee. "This diet is said to improve health as paleolithic nutrition improves lipid profile in people with high cholesterol to a greater extent than traditional heart-healthy dietary recommendations," explains Sunita Roy Chowdhary, chief dietitian at BLK Super Specialty Hospital.