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A Paleo Cardiologist’s Tips for Optimal Health

Medical doctors are great in an emergency, but when it comes to prevention, they have nothing. As a holistic cardiologist, I believe the key to health, longevity and true prevention stems from two major factors: quality nutrition and avoiding environmental toxins.

I know, I know – this seems so obvious, and you’ll be tempted to tune out, but here’s the twist…

There is one lifestyle and one way to eat that promotes optimal health and creates a beautiful symphony inside your body – for your heart, brain, and just about every other organ.

The path to wellness is Paleo.

You may have been thinking this already, and I’m here to tell you that you’re correct. Studies have shown that the Paleo lifestyle is heart healthy, promotes healthy body weight and metabolic function, helps restore balanced brain chemistry, and as a way of life, stands the test of time.

Our ancestors ate Paleo foods and lived the Paleo lifestyle for a million years. We would be wise to follow their lead.

In addition to Paleo foods and avoiding pollutants, you should also focus on getting enough sleep, adding sunshine to your daily to-do list, staying active, and regular adjustments by a chiropractor.

Why Paleo is Heart Healthy

With the slew of the latest celebrity diets and their so-called “expert opinions”, you might think – is Paleo just a fad? Well, 76 years of Paleo research confirms that Paleo is not a mere diet but a lifestyle, and it is here to stay. Paleo is fundamentally proven as the best way to achieve ultimate health. Here’s how…

In a study on systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, researchers from Emory University and University of Alabama studied a group men and women, aged 30-74, who were found to have “lower levels of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress” while following a Paleo diet. This means their bodies were more able to effectively fight off free radicals (responsible for aging, chronic diseases, and cancer) while also improving digestion, heart function, and even clearer, more glowing skin.

When it comes to heart health, the Paleo lifestyle offers a better, more healthy way to manage, treat and prevent heart related conditions. A study from the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University and University of Alabama at Birmingham took 20 volunteers (10 male and 10 female) aged 40 to 62 years who were diagnosed with high cholesterol. The study states, “Volunteers were not taking any cholesterol-lowering medications and adhered to a traditional heart-healthy diet for 4 months, followed by a Paleolithic diet for 4 months.”

Four months of following a Paleo diet “significantly lowered…total cholesterol, LDL, and TG,” while increasing HDL. Pretty stellar results without relying on pharmaceuticals.

And for weight loss, Paleo is the way to go – for sure. Another study from Bahrain Branch of Cochrane and Leiden University Medical Centre showed that those eating a Paleo diet were found to have lower blood sugar than those following a more conventional diet. In addition, the Paleo nutrition followers were more likely to successfully lose weight and keep it off than those traditionally following a carbohydrate, low-fat diet.

With these proven benefits, finally letting go of that bread seems easy, don’t you think?

Adopting a Paleo Lifestyle

We’ve established that Paleo is more than a diet – it’s a promising way of life; one that deals with optimal health (which should always be our number one concern). As a doctor, I’d like to share my Top Exercise Tips, my 5-Week “Go-Paleo” plan and how together, they will transform your body, your mind, and eventually, your entire quality of life.

Top 2 Physical Activity Tips

1. Get Up and Go! Find a consistent way to move everyday. The important thing is to be active; don’t worry about finding the perfect activity right away. Simply start somewhere – just get moving! When you discover an activity you like, it won’t feel like a chore and it will be easier to stick to it. Build your cardiovascular stamina slowly and gradually. After all, it’s best to move a little (like going for walks), rather than not at all and then boom, going for a hike up a mountain, which would be more likely to cause a heart attack.

2. Follow Nature’s Rhythm. The Paleo lifestyle is what nature intended for our bodies, so it would make sense to follow our natural rhythms in all areas of life. This also applies to physical activity and fitness. Exercise in the morning to boost your metabolism, or an hour after meals to aid with digestion. If you can swing it, rise and rest with the sun for optimal energy throughout your day.

How to Go Paleo Smoothly

I recommend easing into things with a 5-week program. This might also be easier for your family and friends you’ve been trying to convince to give Paleo a try.

Each week, go a little more Paleo.

Week 1: Gluten is your focus. 

Get gluten out of the house, out of your diet, and out of your life. Gluten is the small protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It irritates the gut and allows unwanted particles into the body creating inflammation and disease. Soy should suffer the same fate. Be careful to read all labels. Gluten can hide in places like the inside of chewing gum wrappers. Beware.

Week 2: Get rid of the dairy.

That’s all dairy including milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt. You can try reioncorporating small amounts in the future, preferably in its raw state.

Week 3: Nix all sugar except fruit.

Sugar is the most addictive thing on the planet and one of the most dangerous for our health.

Week 4: Remove all other grains (like corn and rice), beans, and potatoes.

These are major sources of carbohydrates which promote diabetes and elevated blood sugar.

Week 5: No more fruit!

Our ancestors ate wild berries and crab apples. Today, we have fruit smoothies, monster citrus, and jumbo bananas. Some characters on the internet recommend eating fruit all day long. They are young and foolish. Follow their advice at your own peril.

See how long you can hold the above, but always be gluten and soy-free.

Here are a few other tips to make it a smooth, happy transition.

  1. Eat organic veggies, nuts/seeds, eggs, avocado, coconut, olives, free-range meat, and wild seafood.
  2. Cook with animal fats and coconut oil.
  3. Eat veggies with every meal.
  4. Start off every day with a greens drink, plus protein powder and a tablespoon of coconut oil if needed.

Once you feel great and get to your goal weight, feel free to add back a piece of fruit per day. Sweet potatoes and yams are also beneficial for people who exercise frequently and are looking for some quick carbs that are easy to digest.

I always love hearing from readers on their journey to optimal health. Try the 5-week program and be sure to let us know how you did!

Click here to learn more about Dr. Wolfson, hire him for your health event, join the private practitioner portal, or become a patient.

Heart Diagram photo licensed under the Creative Commons.

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Jack Wolfson

Dr. Jack Wolfson

Jack Wolfson D.O., F.A.C.C., is a board certified cardiologist who uses nutrition and supplements to prevent and treat disease.

Paleo f(x)™

Heal thyself. Change the world.

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