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7 tips on how to prevent gout

by Tina Sendin March 18, 2020

7 tips on how to prevent gout

Gout is a common type of arthritis that’s caused by the buildup of uric acid in the body. Affecting  4 percent of American adults, which is about 6 million men and 2 million women in the United States, gout usually manifests in the form of painful swelling in the joints and feet (usually the big toe). [1] The reason why gout could hurt so bad is that the buildup of uric acid forms crystals in the joints, which is what’s felt as that sudden and intense pain.

Thankfully, there are several ways to prevent the torment brought by gout flareups. Here are some of them:

 

Know which foods are rich in purine and put a cap on eating them. 

Uric acid comes from the breakdown of purines, or compounds found in some foods. If you eat foods high in purine, too much of it may lead to uric acid buildup. This isn’t to say that you should avoid foods containing purine, because they are still needed by the body to stay healthy. What I’m saying is to be aware of your intake and know which foods are high in purine so you can have control. According to Medical News Today, here are some purine-rich foods: [2

  • wild game, such as deer (venison)
  • trout, tuna, haddock, sardines, anchovies, mussels, and herring
  • excess alcohol, including beer and liquor
  • high-fat foods, such as bacon, dairy products, and red meat (including veal)
  • organ meats, for example, liver and sweetbreads
  • sugary foods and beverages

Foods with moderate purine content include:

  • deli meats
  • most other meat, including ham and beef
  • poultry
  • oyster, shrimp, crab, and lobster

 

Switch to low-purine foods. 

Complementary to prevention tip #1 is to eat more foods that are low in purine. Makes total sense, right? If you eat below foods instead of purine-rich ones, you will gain more control over your overall purine intake and possibly avoid gout attacks: [3]

  • low-fat and fat-free dairy products
  • peanut butter and most nuts
  • most fruits and vegetables
  • coffee
  • whole-grain rice, bread, and potatoes

  

Know which drugs increase the levels of uric acid, then steer clear.

Certain medications may serve its purpose – to cure other illnesses. But some of them may also increase uric acid levels. It’s key to know which ones are so you can look for alternatives if you’re already suffering from gout: [4]

  • diuretic drugs, such as furosemide (Lasix) and hydrochlorothiazide
  • drugs that suppress the immune system, especially before or after an organ transplant
  • low-dose aspirin  

In the same vein, there are also medications meant to treat gout. According to Webmd, the following work by either bringing down the levels of uric acid or increasing their discharge in the urine: [5]

  • allopurinol (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim)
  • canakinumab (Ilaris)
  • colchicine (Colcrys, Mitigare)
  • lesinurad (Zurampic)
  • pegloticase (Krystexxa)
  • probenecid (Probalan)
  • rasburicase (Elitek)
  • febuxostat (Uloric) – for those with cardiovascular issues, make sure to consult with your doctor first before taking this.

 

Look into your body weight and keep it at healthy levels. 

Obesity is said to increase the risk of gout and occasional flareups. According to Medical News Today, “being overweight also has an association with a higher risk of elevated blood uric acid levels, raising the risk of gout.” [6] Aside from this, excess weight can make it more difficult for your body to get rid of unnecessary levels of uric acid. [7]

It’s definitely worth losing a few pounds to prevent gout. But this doesn’t necessarily mean drastic weight loss. In fact, doing so can even increase uric acid levels. So it’s worth going through the proper motions and doing weight loss the right way – gradually and effectively.

 

Stay away from alcohol and sugar.

Sugar not only sabotages you keeping a healthy weight, but it also increases the risk of gout. [8] Likewise, alcohol – especially beer – makes the occurrence of gout more likely. Best to stay away from these and keep to a healthy diet to minimize flareups.

 

Be a coffee-lover. 

According to a 2010 study, coffee consumption can decrease the risk of gout. The study shows that women participants who consumed 1 to 3 cups of coffee led to a 22% decrease in risk for gout occurrence compared to non-coffee drinkers, and those who had 4 cups and above had 57% reduction in flareups. [9]

To find out the other benefits of coffee, read this article: 7 surprising benefits of coffee.

 

Go for cherry juice extracts and concentrates. 

Several studies show that cherry juice can actually treat gout, indicating that it brings down uric acid levels. Researchers from the Boston University Medical Center found that cherries are so effective in reducing uric acid because they have anthocyanins, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. [10] For more studies showing the effectiveness of cherry juice, read this article: Is cherry juice effective for gout?

 

Sources

[1] https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/gout

[2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325317#limit-purine-rich-foods

[3] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325317#eat-more-low-purine-foods

[4] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325317#avoid-drugs-that-raise-uric-acid-levels

[5] https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/understanding-gout-prevention

[6] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325317#maintain-a-healthy-body-weight

[7] https://health.usnews.com/health-care/for-better/articles/2017-06-09/gout-is-out-of-control-but-it-doesnt-need-to-be

[8] https://ard.bmj.com/content/76/1/29?utm_source=trendmd&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=alljjs&utm_content=americas&utm_term=1-B

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2937590/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3510330/


 




Tina Sendin
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