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Gout and the paleo diet health nutrition-min

Gout & The Paleo Diet

A common form of arthritis, Gout is a condition which can cause a lot of pain to sufferers and can have a highly negative effect on a person’s standard of life. It can be apparent in any joints of the body but is most widely found in the toe, knee and ankle. The signs of Gout are obvious as the area may become red in appearance and can be sore to tough or feel really stiff. It may be restricted to one joint in the body or may spread to other areas; Gout is an unpleasant condition in both the way it looks and feels. It can be mild or more serious and can even lead to the most simple of tasks being an uphill struggle.

The pain of Gout may disappear of its own accord after a couple of weeks, but it can return in the same area or other parts of the body. The areas where Gout appeared can become sore and red out with the attacks of Gout and it is more likely that those who suffer from Gout will also end up with kidney stones. If an area of the body become red, hot and sore, it is likely that this is an attack of Gout and it is important to seek medical attention and treatment, so it is dealt with quickly.

It is believed that Gout is caused by high levels of sugar in the body as this leads to high levels of Uric Acid in the blood stream. The best way to decrease these levels is to avoid food which has high levels of sugar. As with all forms of arthritis, it is important to look closely at the diet and make changes towards a healthier lifestyle in order to reduce the symptoms and prevent the Gout from becoming a major problem. It is much safer and more effective to concentrate on a healthy diet and lifestyle than to turn to strong painkillers and anti-inflammatory tablets as a way of combating the illness. These may only help for a short period of time and won’t really get to the root of the problem.

Gout and the paleo diet health nutrition-min

As the Paleo diet is one which restricts the intake of sugary foods in favour of those which are high in protein and vitamins, it is believed that it can help to prevent Gout or reduce the signs for those who already suffer from the condition. The uric acid has to be restricted and this can be achieved with a healthy choice of foods, including animal fat which has a positive effect on the body.

It is also thought that a diet which is low in carbohydrates, as can be the case with the Paleo diet, can be a much healthier option to minimise the risk of suffering from Gout and other painful diseases. Carbohydrates are high in sugar, which is the main cause of Gout and by restricting this food group; there is a good chance of minimising the likelihood of suffering from the painful illness.

A diet which is very low in sugar is the best way to reduce the chances of suffering from Gout or minimise the symptoms for those who already suffer from the condition. A combination of the right foods and daily exercise will ensure that the risks of suffering from Gout and other illnesses are kept to a minimum.

Do you, or have you, suffered from Gout? How did changing your diet impact it?

paleo diet gut health probotics-min

It’s not just about you…

It may be a little strange to think of, but the body you inhabit isn’t strictly your own. In fact, you’re sharing it with approximately 100 trillion bacteria that colonise your gut – your own unique army of micro-organisms. But it’s not as scary as it sounds, as these tiny creatures control your health in a variety of ways. Firstly, they extract energy from food; the greater the diversity of your gut bacteria, the more effectively you are able to digest nutrients. Gut bacteria break down carbohydrates, and prevent them from being stored as fat – hence the reason there is a direct correlation between insufficient gut bacteria and obesity. They also build your immune system, and are directly linked with your emotional health; restoring gut flora has been shown to boost mood and fight depression.

In the right conditions, you can live in harmony with your gut flora and co-exist very happily. Look after them, and in turn, they look after you. But, create a troublesome environment for them (through inflammation, stress, or antibiotic use amongst other things) and they will be compromised, and in turn, so will your health. Here are a few things you may wish to consider in order to care for your gut flora.

paleo diet gut health probotics-min

Consider a high quality probiotic

The first (and most obvious) thing you can do to support your healthy gut flora is to supplement with a high quality probiotic. This will help to repopulate your digestive tract with beneficial bacteria. Opt for a probiotic with a number of different strains of bacteria, and consider rotating your supplements over time to maintain greater diversity.

If you’re wondering how our ancestors maintained healthy gut flora long before probiotic supplements hit the shelves (or the shelves were even invented) then consider the point below!

Eat Organic Produce

Thousands of years ago, our ancestors’ gastrointestinal tracts would have been teeming with a huge diversity of bacteria, taken directly from the untouched soil in which their produce grew. They wouldn’t have worried about washing their hands after digging for them, let alone washing the produce itself. Modern day agricultural methods and non-organic farming have seen our soils stripped of this bacteria; unfortunately, conventionally grown plants grow in soil that is virtually sterile. The solution? Buy organic, preferably local – and don’t worry about thoroughly washing scrubbing every vegetable. A bit of dirt will only be beneficial.

Eat Fermented Foods

Fermented foods play a large part in the diet of almost all traditional cultures, and would have further supplemented their gut biomes. Fermented foods like Kombucha, Sauerkraut and Kimchi are rich in beneficial bacteria; and they’re delicious, too. Consider making your own fermented foods, or if you have to buy them, make sure they are unpasteurised so the bacteria remains.

Eat food rich in prebiotics

Just like you, your gut bacteria need to be fed. Feed them the right foods, and they will thrive. Prebiotics are found in foods such as Chicory, Jerusalem Artichoke, Onions, Leeks and Garlic – and they stimulate and nourish the good bacteria in your gut.

Try resistant starch

Much like prebiotics, resistant starch provides optimum fuel for your gut bacteria. Resistant starch is starch that passes through the colon undigested, thus giving the bacteria an excellent food source. Paleo friendly sources of resistant starch include cooked and cooled tubers – especially arrowroot and cassava.

Avoid sugars and high GI Carbohydrates

On the other side of the coin, if you eat a diet high in sugar and other high GI carbohydrates, you are providing optimum fuel for the bad bacteria in your gut (such as Candida). Who knew there were any further reasons to give up the sugar and grains!?

Don’t Stress

Finally, the most important thing you can do to support your gut bacteria is to reduce the inflammation that makes their living environment hellish to live in. Along with a poor diet, stress causes excessive inflammation within the body. Take time to relax, exercise, perhaps meditate – so that your gut bacteria can do the same.

Does the paleo diet help with arthritis-min

Can Eating a Paleo Diet Help With Arthritis?

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by a reader whether adopting a paleo diet would help with their mother’s Arthritis – not having any experience of Arthritis myself, what better way to find out more than to post the question on the Paleo Network’s Facebook page? With almost 60,000 fans, there were a lot of responses, some of which you can read below…

Does the paleo diet help with arthritis-min

From those who know…

A lot of people responding seem to suffer from Arthritis (or similar conditions) themselves, or had experience to share from family members:

  • I suffer with Osteoarthritis and seem to be really good eating Paleo.. When I get off track I know about it.
  • Bread and rice would have put me in a wheelchair eventually if I’d allowed it … Go paleo but strictly speaking only three months strict paleo cured me and eternal bone broth thereafter
  • I know someone who quit gluten for unrelated reasons and it helped arthritis a lot.
  • Take gluten out of diet. I had crippling fibromyalgia until realised it was coeliac disease
  • I have fibromyalgia, which is another inflammation-induced disease, and I definitely notice a huge difference in my pain levels & joint stiffness when I am following Paleo more strictly. Gluten is horrible for autoimmune diseases.
  • I have osteoarthritis and the Paleo Lifestyle has truly helped a lot. My nutritionist told me it would!
  • You have nothing to lose by trying it….my sister has seen her inflammation dramatically reduced the last two weeks on Paleo. She couldn’t close her hand in the morning….now she can and no pain….go for it.
  • I too have fibromyalgia and have had amazing improvement after 20+ years of suffering.
  • Definitely try gluten free and work your way to paleo. I was diagnosed with arthritis and fibromyalgia. Was on methotrexate and enbrel…I went gluten free and was feeling better within a week! Now I am paleo! No more doctors and no more drugs!!
  • Absolutely it would help! I had inflammation in my hip so bad that I could barely walk in the mornings. After 3 months paleo – no pain, inflammation gone and no migraines either (which I had been getting on a regular basis for 10years) arthritis is caused by inflammation so it is soooo worth a try for her!
  • I have arthritis in my knees, I need knee replacement surgery. I also have degenerative disc disease. The x ray of my back looks like a train with the cars off the track. At the urging of my chiropractor I began my journey into Paleo. My pain levels on the scale of 1-10, 1 being less 10 being most, are down from 10+ to 0 to 2 on the average day. I would say it works for arthritis…
  • I found paleo whilst looking to help my arthritis. I’ve got inflammatory arthritis and since going paleo it’s 90% better. No more NSAID’s since week two. Been over a year now.
  • Get rid of gluten! My joint pains stopped when I went wheat free.
  • I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and I started eating Paleo during the Lurong Challenge…and I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I feel and in my mobility…get off the refined carbs!
  • I have Ankylosing Spondylitis and was in terrible pain. I am drug and pain free and in remission 2.5 yrs Paleo now.
  • The reason I’m Paleo is because of arthritis.. Pain-free now!!
  • I suffer from Psoriatic Arthritis. Paleo has decreased my pain immensely. Avoid glutens & refined sugars. It has blown my mind how different I feel, and the weight loss makes it even better!! Not a “diet”…it’s a lifestyle change.
  • Yes! I had limited movement in my left arm. Been to physio, rheumatologist, had cortisone injections and anti-inflammatory pills. I have gone Paleo. Lost over 2 stone in weight and my left arm is now back to normal movement, I can even hook my bra at the back. I put this down to Paleo way of eating. I gave up sugar, gluten, wheat, all processed foods. I only use Coconut Oil and natural fats for cooking. Go on, give it at least 3 months and you ‘will’ see/feel different inside and out. Good luck. I only want to share this to help! I also purchased a juicer and I juice lots of veg & fruits.
  • YES, YES, YES. I’m 64 and have NO aches and pains now.
  • Huge difference wouldn’t have believed it till I tried it
  • My mum had the same issues with her hands and feet, gave paleo a go and her aches and pains reduced significantly!
  • Yes, yes, yes!!! I had years of inflammatory arthritis and no grains and sugars helped tremendously!
  • Had tendentious for 10 years,was gone after 1 month of paleo
  • Definitely. Arthritis in hands and legs markedly less in just a week. Cured my morning hobble which made me feel way older than my years and was not a very encouraging way to start each day.

Nightshades

Another common theme among those who replied was Nightshades and an autoimmune paleo diet. In many cases it seems following a broad paleo diet is not enough and an autoimmune protocol is needed:

  • Depends on the type of arthritis. Mine is autoimmune, and after being Paleo for just three weeks, my joints feel much better than they have in years! I also have more energy than I have in a long time.
  • Look at the autoimmune version of paleo which nightshades also contribute to inflammation.
  • I did once read that some arthritis sufferers had had a positive effect from excluding nightshades from their diet.
  • The autoimmune paleo protocol excludes eggs and nightshades too. When I first went paleo my arthritis wasn’t at its worst but stopped with the new diet.
  • No nightshades
  • I have an auto immune disease too & eating Paleo has made a massive massive difference!! Started on an auto immune protocol now so hoping for more benefits
  • Go paleo and then beyond with AIP (Auto Immune Paleo), I control my joint pains and whenever I have gluten or nightshades, I flare up really bad so I know the foods I eat is impacting my health directly. Have her keep a small food journal to help her figure out which foods trigger certain responses.

Inflammation

Another popular topic in the arthritis discussion – inflammation:

  • Paleo would definitely help! Paleo is an anti-inflammatory diet which really has benefits for arthritic pain. By increasing good fats like avocado, nuts, seeds and cutting out refined oils and carbohydrates we can effectively reduce arthritic pain. Give it a go!
  • Paleo works well, eliminating gluten is a big part of it. Reducing the inflammation
  • Foods high in flavonoids contribute to inflammation
  • Wheat causes inflammations and arthritis is one of them!

Try this…

There were also a lot of suggestions about other things that could help – Turmeric got several mentions:

  • Turmeric capsules are pretty good for joints
  • Cinnamon and honey in hot water is good for arthritis pain
  • Daily bone broth heals achy bones … Home made easy peasy …. Elimination of caffeine too helps dramatically
  • Tell her to try ginger more in her diet anti inflammatory
  • And fish oils! Lots of them I take 10 x 1000mg every day and if I don’t for a couple of days I have hip and knee pain, constantly! I swear by them.
  • Lots of salmon! Grass fed beef is high in omega three too!

Does Paleo help with Arthritis?

Judging by all of the responses, it definitely seems like eating paleo could help… My favourite comment sums it up nicely: “Get your mum on board. Tell her to give it a try for a couple of months ‘just to see’. She’ll be amazed”

I’d love to continue the discussion – do you have arthritis? Has changing your diet had an impact? Please share your comments below!

Paleo diet arthritis rheumatoid Osteoarthritis Psoriatic-min

Arthritis and the Paleo Diet

Unlike many other diets, the Paleo diet is renowned for the fact that it not only encourages weight loss but it can also help with a number of illnesses. One of such illnesses is arthritis which is caused by the inflammation of joints and is particularly common in females. Arthritis can occur in any part of the body and contrary to popular belief; it is not just a health problem which affects old people. Arthritis can occur at any time and any age and it can have a huge effect on a person’s standard of life. The illness causes a lot of swelling and pain throughout the body which can make everyday tasks a huge upheaval.

It is thought that a person’s diet can influence their likelihood of developing arthritis at any stage of their life and there are specific food groups which can actually encourage inflammation of the joints, leading to arthritis over time. The most common foods which are said to enhance the likelihood of arthritis are wheat and grains as they contain a protein called lectin, which is not easy to digest and thus can encourage inflammation.

Paleo diet arthritis rheumatoid Osteoarthritis Psoriatic-min

 

As the Paleo diet completely discourages the consumption of wheat and grains it is thought that it can be hugely important in preventing arthritis and reducing the effects for those who already have the condition. The foods which we know are popular as part of the Paleo diet, including fresh fish and vegetables are anti-inflammatory which means they can reduce the risk of suffering from arthritis. A high intake of Omega-3 in the diet is the perfect way to maintain a good standard of health and this is the reason it is so widely encouraged with the Paleo diet. These food groups are easier to digest which makes them a much healthier option when it comes to taking care of our bodies.

There are many people who will turn to anti-inflammatory tablets as a means of combating the symptoms of arthritis, rather than looking more closely at diet and how this can have an effect on the condition. There is a common misconception that grains are important as a means of increasing fibre intake, but in fact this isn’t really the case. Vegetables which are non-starchy and fresh fruit actually contain much more fibre than what you would find in grains, so skipping these from your diet will not have any adverse effects on the body and overall health.

Grains also have a lack of essential vitamins, including A, C and B12, so there is no reason why they have to be part of any healthy diet. The key foods on the Paleo diet such as vegetables, meat and fruit have these in abundance so are a much healthier choice when it comes to looking after your diet.

In order to take good care of the body from the inside to the outside and setting it up for a long and healthy life, the diet we choose to follow is vitally important. As we all know, there are lots of diets which are constantly introduced but many of these focus entirely on lowering weight as opposed to keeping us healthy. There are many diets which will help us lose weight very quickly but these can actually be very detrimental to health. The Paleo diet on the other hand can offer a way to enhance our quality of life which is what makes it so popular and the reason why the popularity continues to grow.

Arthritis can be hugely dilapidating and can even be so severe that it can prevent people from carrying out normal day to day tasks and being able to work. The Paleo diet is the ideal way to introduce the right food groups in order to help prevent this illness or significantly reduce the effects of it. It is not a quick fix though, it takes a lot of dedication and following it to the letter – and the longer this is done, the easier it becomes. The incorporation of exercise together with the Paleo diet can provide a quicker way of combating arthritis and preventing the stiffness of the disease which can cause major health issues.

If you suffer from arthritis  I’d love to hear how Paleo has helped and how much difference it has made. Surely following a real food, Paleo diet is a much safer health option than consuming tablets, which are only really a temporary resolution.

Selenium Paleo Diet Vitamin Mineral Deficiency Primal Diet-min

Selenium & Deficiency On A Paleo Diet?

Despite following a healthy Paleo Diet, if not enough attention is paid to getting a wide variety of different foods, deficiencies are still possible. I’ve been looking into a number of the more common deficiencies to understand how to tweak your Paleo diet to ensure deficiencies don’t occur. This week, I’ve been looking into Selenium.

What is Selenium?

It is a trace mineral that is only needed in small amounts but it is essential for good health. Some of the functions selenium performs include helping regulate the thyroid gland, assisting the immune system and protecting our cells from the damage caused by free radicals. In dietary terms the selenium content of plant foods are proportionate to the soil concentration of selenium where the food was grown.

These days severe selenium deficiency in adults is very rare, particularly when following a healthy Paleo diet, but minor deficiencies do occur and that can have some rather unpleasant effects on our health.

Some of the selenium deficiency symptoms include polyneuropathy and muscle damage that can look a lot like the side effects of statins. Selenium supports the synthesis of the thyroid hormone and is needed for the conversion of the T4 thyroid hormone into the active T3 hormone. As a result deficiency can look like hypothyroidism.

 

So, how do you become Selenium deficient?

It can be as simple as just not eating enough Selenium rich foods, or if you suffer from an intestinal disorder such as Celiac, Chron’s disease or an ulcerative colitis these can all reduce the body’s absorption of selenium from foods.  While deficiency does not cause those illnesses it can make the body more susceptible to illnesses caused by biochemical or infectious stress due to the role selenium plays in the immune system.

It can also be due to a lack of selenium in the soil where your food has been grown. Just like other minerals, it must be in the soil or it won’t be present in the food grown in the soil.

Where can you get it from, in keeping with the Paleo diet?

You can find good sources of selenium in lamb, turkey, prawns, salmon, cod, crimini and shiitake mushrooms, kidney’s,  egg yolks and halibut.

Keeping your thyroid healthy is important with many people dealing with thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism. There have been many research studies that have shown the benefits of selenium supplements when treating some thyroid conditions. One such study has found that selenium supplements have reduced the inflammation damage to the thyroid tissues. While studies have shown that selenium supplements can help prevent thyroid tissue damage there is more research needed to determine the long-term effects.

Mineral Deficiency Paleo Diet

Making sure that your selenium intake is at its peak may give both your thyroid and immune system that little boost it needs to help function better. Whether you use supplements or include more selenium-rich foods in your diet it is important for those who are managing a thyroid condition to make sure their selenium intake is adequate.

As important as it is not to be deficient, it’s also important not to go over board. Over increasing your intake of selenium over long periods of time can lead to complications including garlic breath odour, hair loss, mild nerve damage, gastrointestinal upsets, white blotchy nails, irritability and fatigue.

The best option is to include selenium rich foods in your diet. While high in omega-6 fats it takes just a couple of Brazil nuts a day to boost your immune function and improve the amount of selenium in your diet.

Have you given much consideration to your Selenium intake? Which minerals and vitamins are you most concerned about, in your Paleo diet?

Selenium Paleo Diet Vitamin Mineral Deficiency Primal Diet-min

Nightshades and paleo diet alkaloids inflammation sensitivity-min

Nightshades and Paleo

Perhaps you avoid nightshades yourself, or have noticed a lot of people do?  Is there any reason for avoiding them?

Nightshades are in the Solanaceae family, which comprises 2,800 types of plant.  The common nightshades include potatoes (which aren’t consumed on a Paleo regime, so I won’t be talking about them), tomatoes, all types of peppers/ capsicum, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, paprika and cayenne.   Sweet potatoes are related, but belong to the Convolvulaceae family, so aren’t classed as a nightshade.  Similarly black pepper is not classed as a nightshade as it belongs to the Piperaceae family.

Nightshades contain alkaloids, which the plant produces as a defence mechanism.  Some alkaloids have been shown to interact with nerve activity and inflammation, which may impact conditions such as arthritis and gout, as well as gut irritation.  Many people have no sensitivities to Nightshades, but those that do may find avoidance very beneficial.  Cooking decreases the alkaloid content by up to 50%, so for those with border line sensitivity, this can be a good option.

If you think you may have a sensitivity, eliminating nightshades for 30 days before reintroducing should give a clear indication as to the effect these plant have on you.  If you find you do have a sensitivity, you might chose to avoid them on a more permanent basis.

Do you eat Nightshades?  Do you have a sensitivity to them?

Nightshades and paleo diet alkaloids inflammation sensitivity-min