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What you need to know about gout and how your diet can prevent it

by Tina Sendin August 18, 2020

What you need to know about gout and how your diet can prevent it

What is gout and why do gout attacks happen?

Gout is a kind of arthritis that is characterized by an inflammation of the joints. Those suffering from gout describe the attacks as sharp and severe, accompanied by sore, swollen joints. [1]

And if you’re wondering which joints are usually affected, then sources report that almost 50 percent of cases happen in the big toes, and some in the heels, fingers, wrists, and knees. [2, 3, 4]

Usually happening at night and lasting in the next 3-10 days, gout attacks are typically associated with uric acid – especially when there’s too much of it in the blood. Most patients get these attacks because their system cannot get rid of the extra uric acid well. [5] Gout happens when uric acid piles up in crystals and settles in the joints, causing all the swelling and soreness. [4]

Others, however, suffer from gout attacks because of their diet. [6, 7]

 

 

How does your diet affect gout

Uric acid has a lot to do with gout attacks.

That’s because when your system breaks down this chemical called “purine,” it produces uric acid. The body gets rid of uric acid when you pee.

Purine may already be found in your body, but in the food you eat as well. This is why some patients suffer from gout attacks because of genetics (excess purine in the system or the body can’t efficiently break it down), or when they eat food that contains purine that’s too much for their body to break down.

While not a cure altogether, a gout diet may bring down uric acid levels in the bloodstream and make gout attacks less likely to happen.

Note, however, that a gout diet may not completely eliminate gout and medication may still be needed to complement it.

 

 

Diet that prevents gout: what does it look like?

A gout diet may sound like a hard thing to take on, but when you think about these guiding principles, it will start to sound like it’s very doable!

  • Watch your weight. An effective gout diet allows you to keep a healthy weight. Being overweight is one of the factors for gout as research indicates that the fewer calories you have the lower uric acid levels your body will achieve.
  • Avoid purine-rich foods. We’ll talk about what these foods are in a bit.
  • Focus on complex carbohydrates. Eat foods and beverages that contain complex carbohydrates, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. But watch for those sugar as naturally sweet fruits may set your diet back.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. This is always a good rule of thumb, whether we’re talking about gout or not. Drink lots of water and hydrate yourself at all times.
  • Ease off on fats and focus on protein. Avoid saturated fats found in high-fat dairy products, fatty red meat, and poultry. Instead, have more of lean meat and poultry, low-fat dairy, and lentils.
  • Eat in moderation. Too much of anything isn’t good, so try to watch what you eat and make sure you consume them in moderation.

Given these guiding principles, here’s a list of food that you can eat under a gout diet:

  • Certain fishin moderate portions, this can reduce your risk for gout. Big caveat: avoid certain seafood like anchovies, shellfish, sardines, and tuna as they have higher purines.
  • Vitamin Ceat fruits and vegetables that are high in Vitamin C and consider taking supplements
  • Coffee – research indicates that in moderation, drinking coffee can bring down uric acid levels and make gout attacks less likely to happen
  • Vegetables – even if they contain high purines, veggies such as asparagus and spinach don’t trigger gout attacks
  • Cherriesthis may come out of the blue but cherry extracts have been shown to reduce the risk of gout attacks. Buy more cherries in the supermarket or consider taking supplements like the VALI Organic Tart Cherry Extract, which has an advanced anti-inflammatory blend to protect against oxidative stress better than sweet cherries alone.

Gout diet: What to avoid

Given what we’ve just talked about, you may want to steer clear of high-purine foods altogether, specifically those with over 200 mg for every 3.5 ounces (100 grams). [8]

According to Mayo Clinic and Healthline, here are the foods to avoid:  [9, 10]

  • All organ and glandular meats: These include liver, kidneys, sweetbreads and brain
  • Game meats: Examples include pheasant, veal and venison and limit beef, lamb and pork
  • Fish: Herring, trout, mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies, haddock and more
  • Other seafood: Scallops, crab, shrimp and roe
  • Sugary beverages: Especially fruit juices and sugary sodas
  • Added sugars: Honey, agave nectar and high-fructose corn syrup
  • Yeasts: Nutritional yeast, brewer's yeast and other yeast supplements
  • Refined carbs: white bread, cakes and cookies
  • Alcohol: beer and distilled liquors

 

Other ways you can avoid gout aside from diet

If you feel like doing more and are so committed to getting rid of gout, here are some additional things you could do aside from eating properly:

Lose weight

Excess weight can trigger gout attacks, since being overweight is often associated to insulin resistance. When the body can’t use insulin to get rid of sugar from the blood, it leads to an increase in uric acid levels. [11, 12] However, avoid crash diet as it tends to be counter-productive. Eating as little as you could leads to abrupt weight loss, which according to studies also triggers gout attacks. [131415]

Exercise

If you must lose weight, why not do more workouts? Studies show that exercise reduces uric acid levels. [16]

Try supplements

Given that Vitamin C and cherry extracts help reduce uric acid levels, consider taking supplements to gain more of these vitamins. VALI Organic Tart Cherry Extract has an advanced anti-inflammatory blend to help protect against swelling and gout. In fact, user reviews rave about how it can help get rid of stiff joints and inflammation. Buy it on our website here or on Amazon.com here.

 

Sources 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0022797/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20203467

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117776/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19692116

[5] https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/gout/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16253630

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16253630

[8] https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb/37/5/37_b13-00967/_pdf

[9] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/gout-diet/art-20048524

[10] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-diet-for-gout#section3

[11] http://www.jrheum.org/content/jrheum/29/7/1350.full.pdf

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15230133

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8363205/

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3404561

[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15826477/

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21793335




Tina Sendin
Tina Sendin

Author




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