Gout is a condition that is caused by an abnormal accumulation of uric acid in the blood and results in the development of a painful, inflamed joint. The key dietary factor is in the purine content of foods.
High-purine foods include certain seafood, such as crab, lobster, shrimp, clams, and scallops; some types of meat, such as liver, kidney, and other organ meats; and alcohol.
To minimize your risk of gout , you should avoid foods with high purine content, like organ meats and seafood like anchovies, sardines, and mussels. If you have been diagnosed with gout, you should be aware that not all food should be avoided.
While some have no effect on gout, others can make it worse. Therefore, you need a plan to avoid the foods that are bad for gout, and to add foods that will help to lower uric acid levels.
Even though the most popular types of gout are caused by a genetic disorder, gout is a condition that is preventable. If you have suffered from gout in the past, or are showing early signs of gout, it is important to understand how diet and lifestyle can impact your condition.
Skip foods and drinks that are high in purines to help lower your chances of an attack.
What is Gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by the formation of crystals in the joints. It is one of the most painful kinds of arthritis, and it affects more than four million adults in the United States. Gout affects mostly men, especially middle-aged men, and affects one to two percent of the population.
Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood. It is most common in older people, but can occur in people of all ages.
If you have gout, your joints become inflamed and it is extremely painful to move. It can lead to permanent joint damage and disability if left untreated. Gout is not curable, but it can be treated very effectively.
The pain can last for days at a time. The joints usually feel better at night and are tender in the morning. Onset of gout is sudden and for the first time sufferers are often shocked at the intense pain.
The pain can be so severe that even the slightest touch will hurt. The disease can actually be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, obesity, and even certain medications.
Foods to avoid if you have gout
Gout often presents as sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and swelling in the joints. These attacks usually occur at night, or in the morning before breakfast. Foods high in purines, such as organ meat, dried beans, and alcohol, are linked to the development of gout.
These include chicken, beef, pork and lamb. Also fish, fresh or canned salmon generally contains lower levels of purines than most other.
To help prevent gout symptoms, it’s best to limit highly processed foods and beverages and foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as sweets, baked goods and pastries, chips, crackers, cookies, candies, soda, ice cream, white breads, and some pre-made frozen meals.
- Reduce alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol has been associated with gout for many years. Alcohol, particularly beer, contain high levels of purines, which could be an indirect cause of gout. Alternatively, alcohol’s association with gout could be due to it’s contribution to obesity through excessive consumption.
- Limit sweetened foods
People with gout should limit sweetened foods when having gout. Like biscuits, cakes, sweets, fruit juices and sugary drinks, high-fructose corn syrup can be found in unexpected foods. Mostly limit yourself to eat in a fast food chain.
- Sodas and Sugary Drinks
Sodas and sugary drinks are considered empty-calorie foods, because they contain no beneficial nutrients while contributing a lot of calories to your diet. Stay away from sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice. Sugar-sweetened beverages can increase uric acid levels in the blood.
Best foods for gout diet
Making healthy food choices can help you manage the symptoms of gout, while also preventing the Gout attacks from coming back.
A healthy balanced diet can help to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. It can also provide energy and nutrients sufficient for optimal health and reduce risk of gout attacks.
One of the things that may help you manage your gout is to reduce the amount of purines you eat. Foods is not only thing that can affect uric acid. What you drink matters, too. And it’s a good idea to drink lots of fluids mostly water.
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables
Foods you should eat with gout include all fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, eggs and most beverages. Bulking out meals, such as Bolognese, casseroles and stews with vegetables can help to reduce the meat content.
Fruit and vegetables contain vitamin C. Although evidence is unclear, high intakes of vitamin C may help to reduce uric acid levels in the blood.
Cherries may be particularly useful to include in the diet, as they have also been found to reduce levels of uric acid in the blood.
- Plenty of starchy carbohydrates
These may include rice, potatoes, pasta, bread, couscous, quinoa, barley or oats, and should be included at each meal time.
These foods contain only small amounts of purines, so these along with fruit and vegetables should make up the basis of your meals. Wholegrain varieties are better choices as they contain more fibre and nutrients.
- Milk and dairy products
Including low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt and low-fat cottage cheese may help to prevent high levels of uric acid in the blood. These foods are a good source of protein and also have a low purine content so are useful additions to meals if you are trying to reduce meat and fish intake.
What Are Purines?
Purines are nitrogen-containing compounds that are found in almost all foods, but are especially abundant in organ meats, shellfish, and beans.
While purines are typically harmless, they can build up in the body and cause excess uric acid in the blood, which can lead to gout and other health problems. To minimize your risk of gout, limit your intake of purine-rich foodsthere’s no need to cut them out entirely, but be smart about how you eat.
By reducing the amount of purines that you eat, you may be able to reduce your uric acid levels. Reducing your uric acid levels may mean that you can avoid getting gout.
The purine ring structure is the basis for nucleotides, which are used to make nucleic acids. Purines are also the source of the name of the purine-rich plant family, the buckwheats.
While foods rich in purines can put you at risk for gout attacks, there are plenty of foods that can prevent them and that should be at the top of your list.
What are the risk of having gout?
The disease is caused by high levels of uric acid in the body, which can build up in the blood and become deposited as crystals in the joints. Left untreated, gout can lead to permanent joint damage and disability.
Thus, it is important to control your gout symptoms as soon as possible with medication, dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments. Although there is no cure, there are ways of reducing the risk of getting gout.
The body usually gets rid of uric acid through the kidneys and urine, but if levels of uric acid become too high, excess amounts can form needle-like crystals in a joint.
The crystals can produce intense pain, swelling, stiffness, and redness in the joint. Over time, gout can damage a joint to the point that the toe becomes permanently bent.