Gout is a common type of arthritis that affects around 8.3 million people in the US alone, but can be prevented by simple diet changes. Gout occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joints. This buildup of crystals can lead to inflammation, pain, swelling, and stiffness in your joints. Gout is especially common in the feet (big toes), but it can occur in any joint in the body.
The primary cause of gout is protein breakdown to purines and then to the insoluble crystal uric acid. High levels of purine in the body can be a result of the body’s metabolism (genetic) and a result of consumption of certain foods.
Thankfully, by making a few simple dietary changes, you can minimize your risk of gout attacks!
See below for the top 5 diet changes for gout.
5 Simple Diet Changes & Foods to Avoid when you have Gout
- Avoid Foods High in Purines Since purines are often seen as the cause of gout, limiting purines in your diet can potentially reduce gout attacks. This may be the most important diet change to make when addressing gout. Common foods and drinks that are high in purines includeOrgan meats: These include Liver, kidney, hearts.Shellfish: Shrimp, lobster, Oysters, etc.Certain alcoholic beverages, Beer is a bigger culprit than liquor such as whiskey.
- Eat More Antioxidant-Rich Foods
A key underlying factor contributing to gout is inflammation in the body. Antioxidant-rich foods are well known for reducing inflammation throughout the entire body, and they also contain many phytochemicals that can have a range of beneficial effects.Some foods that are rich in antioxidants are berries, artichokes, beans, cabbage, grapes, beets, and dark chocolate.
- Increase fluid intake
Drinking water is particularly important to help flush out the uric acid crystals, 8-16 cups per day is recommended.Vitamin C, (think freshly squeezed orange juice) and dairy products have been shown to decrease uric acid levels.
- If you have a high BMI or carry excess weight: consider weight loss to achieve a healthy weight.
- The healthful diet you decide on should include
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Nuts, peanut butter, fats and oil.
- Dairy products
- Meats like fish, chicken, and red meat should be eaten in moderation (please limit portions 4 to 6 ounces per day).
- Reduce Consumption of high Fructose foods
- Fructose is a common form of sweetener that is also found in many fruits. When fructose is broken down in the body, it releases purines which contribute to gout attacks. Foods that are high in fructose includes soda and some juices, some cereal and candy .
See One of Our Doctors for Gout Today!
By implementing these diet changes, you can dramatically reduce your risk for gout attacks. Although diet changes can be helpful, they are not curative, and it is essential to continue treatment with a doctor specialized in treatment of gout.
One of the most satisfying conditions that we treat as rheumatologists, is gout. This is because we can effectively alleviate the pain as well as prevent joint damage with minimal impact on the patient, while dramatically improving our patients’ quality of life. Contact us @ Overlake Arthritis & Osteoporosis Center located 2100 116th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004. We are here to help.