Gout is a metabolic disorder and a form of arthritis in which excess uric acid in the body is deposited to the joints, causing severe bouts of redness, swelling, warmth, inflammation, and pain, especially in the toes and feet. Uric acid is produced through the metabolism or breakdown of purine, a nitrogen-containing substance produced in the body and found in the foods we eat. Uric acid is usually found in the blood. It is considered a waste and should be eliminated through the urine. Gout occurs when excess uric acid in the blood is crystallized and then deposited to the joints.
But what causes hyperuricemia or excess uric acid in the body? It could be an increased production of uric acid in the body, increased consumption of foods high in purine, or under-elimination of uric acids by the kidney.
Since high intake of foods high in purine is linked to gout attack, doctors and dietitians advise gout sufferers to have a low-purine but still healthy diet. It is hard or even “impossible” to have a purine-free diet since majority of our foods contain purine. People with gout are advised to limit their intake of foods with high amount of purine and increase their intake of foods with low amount of purine.
Consumption of the following foods should be limited to avoid gout attack:
Meat. Organ meats (e.g. liver, heart, & kidney), red meat (e.g. lamb, pork, & beef), and seafood (e.g. anchovies, herring, mackerel, tuna, shrimp, scallops, and lobster) are associated with increased risk of gout as they contain high amount of purine. You should avoid or severely limit (4 to 6 ounces a day) your consumption of these foods to prevent gout attack.
Alcohol. Alcohol (beer in particular) intake is linked to gout attack because it interferes with the elimination of uric acid from the body. According to MayoClinic, 18 milliliter of wine a day is not likely to increase your risk.
Legumes. Most legumes (dried beans and peas) are rich in purine so you should watch out your intake of these foods. I hear aged people complaining joint pain after eating too much beans. Legumes are good sources of protein but they should be consumed moderately to prevent gout attack.
Some Vegetables. Vegetables like mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, and cauliflower are also rich in purine. According to a scientific study, intake of these vegetables has no significant association to gout attack despite the fact that they contain high amount of purine. More studies are needed.
Foods To Eat
The American Medical Association recommends a balanced diet for people with gout which includes foods high in complex carbohydrates (e.g. whole grains, fruits, and vegetables), low in protein, and with less fat.
Examples of fruits good for people with gout are pineapple, banana, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and oranges. You need to love fruits to fight gout.
Don’t forget vegetables; just avoid mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, and other vegetables high in purine. It is really hard to determine vegetables with high amount of purine. I recommend you to ask a dietitian or nutritionist for a list of vegetables with low amount of purine.
Increasing your consumption of foods with anti-inflammatory compounds may help prevent gout attack or even reduce gout symptoms. Spices such as basil, cayenne, chili powder, curry, coriander, chives, chicory, garlic, ginger, parsley, and turmeric are among the best sources of anti-inflammatory substances.
Drinking plenty of water may help prevent gout attack because it helps in faster elimination of uric acid from the body.
Studies show that drinking skim or low-fat milk and eating foods made with them (ex. yogurt) may help reduce the risk of gout attack.[ad#afterpost]
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