In a nutshell, the Paleo (or Paleolithic) diet mimics the way our prehistoric ancestors ate when they were hunter-gatherers, before humans started farming. The diet is based on the premise that our bodies are genetically unable to properly digest foods that have been grown on farms, so those foods should be eliminated.
The standard Paleo diet includes meats, seafood, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and healthy oils. The list of foods to avoid includes grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, processed foods, salt, and refined vegetable oils.
How the Paleo Diet Helps Fight Gout
The Paleo diet can be an excellent diet for gout, because:
- It reduces inflammation, which helps minimize the pain and recurrence of gout.
- It eliminates processed foods, the absence of which helps the kidneys to effectively eliminate uric acid.
- It is primarily an alkaline diet, which helps to reduce uric acid levels.
However, the standard Paleo diet needs to be modified for gout sufferers for two reasons: (1) some Paleo foods are high in purines, which need to be controlled; and (2) dairy has specific benefits in a gout-free diet.
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The Gout-Modified Paleo Diet
Those with gout should modify the Paleo diet as follows:
- Use seafood, shellfish and organ meats carefully, due to their high purine content.
- Limit red meat and fish to 4-6 ounces per day, due to their moderate purine content.
- Enjoy dairy products, but only from raw, non-homogenized sources, and from organically grass-fed animals.
- Enjoy nuts and seeds, but in moderation, since they may contain oxalates, which can be harmful to the kidneys.
- Enjoy vegetables freely, but be cautious with those that are known to have moderate purine levels: peas, green beans, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, and mushrooms.
- Modify your intake of fruit to 1-2 pieces per day, since fructose from any source can raise uric acid levels.
- Enjoy the saturated fats found in meats, but only if the meat is from grass-fed, free-range, thoughtfully raised animals.
- Include salt in the diet, but only if it’s sun-dried sea salt.
☆ Bottom Line: A gout-modified Paleo diet is an excellent choice, since it will reduce the inflammation and acidosis that aggravate gout.
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