THE EVOLUTION OF DIET
As humans, our health and happiness are intrinsically linked to simple things. We were designed to move, eat healthy food, get sufficient sleep, and how happy we are in our relationships, has a powerful influence on our health – all of which contributed to a healthy lifestyle, and elevated our state of well-being. These essential functions are often neglected but they continue to lie at the core of our DNA.
In particular, the lifestyle we pursue today leads us to compromise on one or more of these essential functions. Unlike our ancestors, we lead a sedentary lifestyle, eat processed food, fail to get the required number of hours of sleep and are often unhappy. You may not anticipate it, but these lifestyle choices have a highly significant impact on our health.
Now, more than ever, we are plagued by a variety of metabolic diseases such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and more. The main question here is why? If you examine disease patterns among the earliest humans, you will find that such diseases were a rare occurrence among early human populations.
What is it that we are doing wrong? By all looks and appearances, modern humans have evolved significantly over time. Our life bears little resemblance to that of our ancestors. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll realize that despite outward appearances, there is very little difference between us and our ancestors.
Modern genomic humans are stipulated to be around for 400,000 years old. This has been confirmed via a new excavation project led by Jean-Jacques Hublin, whose team identified the oldest Homo sapiens fossils at Jebel Irhoud, an archeological site in Morocco.
The research conducted by Hublin and his team indicates that the human genome looks and functions in much the same way as its earliest ancestors. The functionality of our genome holds important implications for modern humans that are currently plagued by a variety of metabolic diseases.
As mentioned earlier, modern humans follow a lifestyle that is inherently different from our ancestors. Our patterns of food consumption, sleep, and daily movement and even our social movements do not mirror those followed by the earliest humans.
Researchers have pointed out that unlike our hunter-gatherer counterparts, modern humans suffer from high serum cholesterol levels and follow a high-fat, low-fiber diet. The consumption of processed foods also leads to high salt and sugar intake. In contrast, the diet of our ancestors comprised of low fat and salt content and was highly rich in fiber.
This enabled smooth digestive processes and helped maintain low serum cholesterol levels. The low salt content also prevented hypertension among these populations. Consequently, these individuals were less likely to die from heart disease and stroke. They did not suffer obesity and other metabolic diseases such as heart disease and Type II Diabetes were infrequent.
When we examine the current disease patterns afflicting modern humans today, a completely different picture emerges. Given the distinct lifestyle patterns adopted by hunter-gatherers and modern humans, it is important to identify how these choices contribute to our existing health problems.
NATURE GOT IT RIGHT
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