Tag Archives: skin health

Oyters on Grill |The Paleo Diet

Zinc! It’s the essential mineral that’s praised by many advocates involved in the Paleo community. Most people generally recognize zinc for its reputation as a potent cold and flu virus prevention solution, but its numerous benefits also extend beyond its role as an immunity-boosting mineral.

Ensuring adequate zinc intake in one’s diet is absolutely necessary for achieving long term health goals while following an ancestral eating plan. Zinc is essential for maintaining numerous physiological functions within the human body including tissue and epithelial integrity, immune system regulation, cellular growth, gut health, and inflammation suppression. The current USA government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc averages in at approximately 10 mg. The USA RDA for zinc might be adequate for maintaining proper zinc levels for most healthy human beings that do not suffer from a zinc deficiency, but higher short-term dosages are likely needed to correct a deficiency. Physical indications of zinc deficiency include but are not limited to frequent viral infections, white spots or streaks on the fingernails, poor physical growth in childhood, hair loss, impaired vision, diarrhea, acne, dandruff, chronic dry skin, and impaired mental functioning (i.e. depression, anxiety, brain fog). It’s worth noting that all of the listed conditions can also result from the manifestation of other nutrient and mineral imbalances, and ensuring a highly varied nutrient rich ancestral diet that is rich in omega-3’s is crucial to preventing and resolving any of the aforementioned health issues.

Zinc in excess can be equally problematic as zinc deficiency. The daily upper limit threshold for zinc in healthy individuals is about 40 mg for adults over 19 and 25mg for those under 19. Excessive zinc consumption is characterized by severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and decreased appetite. Over the long term, excessive zinc intake in the absence of copper will result in the gradual depletion of copper from the human body. For this reason it is recommended that those looking to supplement zinc in their diets should avoid zinc dietary supplements and instead opt for “au-naturel” food-based sources of zinc that are inherently proportionately balanced with copper.

Those looking to ensure optimum zinc intake in their diet must decide whether to source their zinc from animal sources or plant sources. Below are two tables demonstrating a handful of the highest ranking sources of zinc from both plants and animals. The zinc content of each source is listed in mg. Note that many of the listed zinc-rich plant foods do not adhere to the Paleo lifestyle.

Zinc Sources Table | The Paleo Diet

When examining the table above, it becomes obvious that ratio of zinc in animal-based foods is significantly higher than the ratio of zinc found in plant-based foods. Additionally, all of the animal-based sources of zinc naturally have appropriate zinc to copper ratios, so you don’t have to worry about creating a mineral imbalance while consuming these foods.

Now you might be wondering if it is still worth considering plant-based sources of zinc in your diet. From the tables above, it is immediately apparent that one would have to consume much higher quantities of zinc-containing plant foods to achieve the same proportion of zinc found in the animal foods listed above. Besides pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, all of the other listed plant-based zinc sources are off limits for Paleo followers. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that many of the zinc-rich plant foods such as legumes, seeds, nuts, and grains contain phytates (i.e. phytic acid). Phytates have been demonstrated to bind to zinc and other important dietary minerals such as iron and manganese. The bonding of phytates with zinc and other minerals upon digestion drastically reduces your body’s ability to absorb these key minerals, thus making you more prone to mineral deficiencies. Animal foods do not inhibit the absorption of zinc or other minerals and instead aid in absorption during digestion.

Oysters rank supreme amongst all other zinc containing food sources available for human consumption, and thus are ideal for treating individuals with zinc deficiency, and for those simply looking to incorporate zinc-rich food sources into their diets.

Oysters have long been revered for their rich taste and nutritional qualities across all parts of the globe. Preference for oyster consumption has shown up in historical documentation dating back to the ancient Greeks and Chinese. In fact, in Europe up until the 18th century oysters were considered a “luxury” food only reserved for the highest classes. Within the colonies of North America, oyster consumption was never restricted to the rich and thus most colonists and Native Americans consumed oysters regularly. The 19th century in The United States was marked by the widespread establishment of “oyster bars” that originated on the eastern seaboard and quickly became popular throughout the west. By 1881 there were nearly 379 oyster bars in Philadelphia alone! Zinc deficiency was likely not a major problem for oyster-loving 19th century Americans.

Nowadays oysters are becoming an increasingly obsolete food source. Oysters can be difficult to source fresh, especially if you are like myself and live thousands of miles inland from the nearest ocean. The best economical solution for inlanders is to purchase canned oysters from your local grocery store. A large majority of the oysters on store shelves are canned in cottonseed oil, which you will definitely want to avoid if you are sticking to a Paleo eating plan. Fortunately, Crown Prince offers a line of smoked oysters that are canned in extra-virgin olive oil. I have seen these oysters available in Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s for about $2 – $3 per can. If you are not quite adjusted to the “delicious” taste of oysters yet, try topping them with a few drops of Paleo-friendly hot sauce.

References

1. Berger, Abi. “What does zinc do?.” BMJ 325.7372 (2002): 1062.
2. Hambidge, M. (2000). Human zinc deficiency. The Journal of nutrition,130(5), 1344S-1349S.
3. Lönnerdal, B. O. (2000). Dietary factors influencing zinc absorption. The Journal of nutrition, 130(5), 1378S-1383S.
4. Ma, J., & Betts, N. M. (2000). Zinc and copper intakes and their major food sources for older adults in the 1994–96 continuing survey of food intakes by individuals (CSFII). The Journal of nutrition, 130(11), 2838-2843.
5. Office of Dietary Supplements – Zinc. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2015, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

Rosacea | The Paleo Diet

Dr. Cordain,

I am a 61-year-old female and started the Paleo Diet in Nov 2005 and have been on it ever since. I do indulge in some of the forbidden foods such a coffee with half and half, a habit seemingly impossible to break. It gives me the energy to do the things I want to do, and unless you can give me a formula for getting more energy otherwise, I may be in trouble on that one. I also, after experimenting without or drastically less salt, have added my habitual amounts of salt again. But it is a lot, lot less than the typical American diet, I assure you. Other than that I stick to meat, vegetables and fruit. No dairy, no grains, no legumes, no potatoes. I don’t miss any of it. I switched to canola oil.

So I found an organic farmer in Marine County near San Francisco, near where I live and got a hog, a quarter steer and untold chickens from them. The meat is lean and outstanding. I get fresh caught fish and vegetables from the farmers market as well as organic eggs. My trips to the supermarket are now limited to bananas, half and half and a few what-nots occasionally.

I feel good. Some friends say I am the picture of health. At the start of the diet I weighed 145 lbs, now I weigh 130 lbs and have so for months, regardless of what I eat. I am 5’3″ tall. I would like to weigh less, but have not managed to do so. Food always tastes so good.

By chance last November before I started the diet I had extensive bloodwork done and all the important indicators were normal, as they always have been. So my reason to go on the diet was strictly to lose weight.

I did notice though that I never suffer from indigestion ever now. My husband who is on this diet so, eats toast and butter and jam for breakfast, a gourmet lunch with his colleagues and what I cook for dinner. Even so he has gone from a “hiatal hernia” with daily Mylanta and Prilosec to no problems at all. And he has lost at least 30 lbs. I would like to see him eat better though, but he has the mind of a spoiled child.

I suffer from Rosacea and take medicine daily, but have been very sporadic about that lately and seem to do fine. Maybe the diet is helping.

For a while I did experience daily leg cramps. Once I read one of Loren’s papers on potassium and what contained the most I try to get those vegetables most and throw mushrooms into everything when I have them. And as I said earlier I went back to my normal salt intake, well maybe somewhat less, and lately I have not had those cramps. Once I started eating more mushrooms though and increased my stem and leafy vegetables in place of more fruit it got better instantly. Who knows?

I forgot to mention the most important thing: since I have been on the diet I have been virtually free of almost weekly, random, very debilitating headaches. I feel so free and at this point take it for granted! There used to be day where I just would have to stay in bed, because the headaches were so bad and the doctor always said they were tension headaches. Yes, I get very tense neck muscles – the cause of the arthritis to be sure – but I manage that when I can, yet I think it is the diet that makes the main difference.

Bottom line I like eating the way I do and I will never change as long as I have access to the type of food I mentioned.

Christel Belrichard

Fountain of Youth | The Paleo Diet


LX Magazine Interview

1. Do you feel proper diet can be a fountain of youth? Why or why not?

All human physiological functions decline with aging, and we all die. Proper diet can slow, but not prevent the decline in our body’s function with aging.

2. What are some foods that help people stay young?

It’s not so much the foods that we eat, but rather the foods that we don’t eat which slow the aging process. In the typical western diet refined cereal grains, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils and dairy products comprise 70% of our total daily calories. By eliminating these foods and replacing them with fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, grass produced meats and poultry, and nuts we can reduce the known elements in our diet that promote inflammation, disease and in turn slow the aging process.

3. What makes these foods so powerful?

Fresh fruits, veggies, fish, seafood, grass produced meats and nuts emulate the nutritional characteristics of our hunter gatherer ancestors. These dietary characteristics shaped our present day genome, and wehn we make our contemporary diet consistent for which our genes have evolved, we can reach our genetic potential including age span.

4. What are some staple items people can incorporate into nearly every meal?

The Paleo Diet as it has become to be known is simplicity itself. Limit your purchases at the supermarket to the outside aisles (produce, seafood, meat) and you are about 85% of the way there. Stay away from the middle aisles in which cereal grains, processed, canned and packaged foods run rampant.

By eating “real living foods” (fresh veggies, fruits, fish, grass produced meats) at nearly every meal, you will increase the nutrient (vitamin, mineral and phytochemical) density of your diet as you abandon nutrient poor cereal grains, refined sugars, refined oils and processed foods.

5. Is it difficult to eat this way? Why or why not?

People who are seriously addicted to candies, sugars, bread and cereals and ice cream may have withdrawal symptoms upon their first week or two of “Paleo,” but after eating real food for a few weeks, going back to processed food and junk typically makes most people feel so bad, that they “get it.”

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

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