At face value, avocados don’t appear to be all that healthy. An average sized one (about the size of a pear) has 30 grams of fat, about as much as a Big Mac. However, most of this fat is of the monounsaturated variety, which modern research has shown to be effective in lowering cholesterol levels. Furthermore, the a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are the primary fat source in avocados, has been found to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, blood-pressure regulating and heart health benefits. In addition to the health benefits, avocados are extremely tasty. Guacamole, is an excellent companion for most grilled or sauteed meats. Mashed avocados provide a buttery richness when mixed into scrambled eggs. Chunky avocado, mixed with some diced onions and spices, pairs wonderfully with seared tuna or other fish. At around $1 each, adding avocados to your shopping list is a sound investment for your future health.
Spinach is an all-around super food. High levels of vitamin A and C, in conjunction with fiber, folic acid and magnesium, have been found to have cancer-fighting properties. Folate, another nutrient, combats blood-levels of homocysteine, a protein that damages arteries. Flavonoids can combat memory loss. Lutein is a preventative for cataracts, and can combat mascular degeneration. Best of all, spinach is extremely easy to prepare. It can be eaten raw as the base for a salad, steamed, or sautéed in a bit of oil with some garlic for a tasty side. Frozen spinach is nearly as nutritious as fresh, so consider adding either to your shopping rotation.
Salmon has one of the highest protein to calorie ratios of any food out there, furthermore, the high proportion of omega-3s can fight bodily inflammation (for other benefits of omega-3s , see avocados above). Furthermore, a single serving of salmon (4 oz) has an entire day’s worth of vitamin D, and half a day’s worth of B12, niacin and selenium, as well a large proportion of B6 and magnesium. Paleo shoppers should try to consume as much fish in their diet as possible. While it may be more expensive than other sources of protein, the health benefits are vast, and when properly prepared it is extremely delicious.
Widely hailed as one of the cheapest and most versatile sources of protein available (as well as one of the highest quality), eggs contain relatively high levels of choline, an essential building block of cell membranes (it strengthens their elasticity among other things) and component of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter used by neurons to relay messages back and forth. Furthermore, it has been shown that choline has anti-inflammatory qualities, and a diet rich in choline can lead to an increase in heart h and organ health. Furthermore, a diet rich in eggs will ultimately be a diet rich in omega-3s, leading to all of the dietary benefits listed above plus a decrease in depression and aggressive tendencies. Consider replacing carb heavy breakfasts such as pancakes or cereal (or oatmeal) with bacon, eggs and a vegetable or piece of fruit. I’m willing to bet this paleo breakfast as satisfying as its non-paleo counterparts, and you will have a certain peace of mind knowing that what you are eating is a whole lot better for you.
A leafy green vegetable like spinach, kale is loaded with flavonoids and antioxidants. Steamed (though kale can be blanched or eaten raw if you are especially bold or like bitter greens) Kale has been found to have cholesterol-lowering benefits, as well as cancer fighting properties and detoxification benefits. Clocking in at over 45 different flavonoids, kale is one of the most healthful vegetables you should be eating on a regular basis. Try it steamed (five minutes should do, just make sure to remove the thicker parts of the stem before steaming) and tossed with a bit of salt, fresh garlic and oil. Your body and your shopping list will thank you.