Gout, a form of arthritis, is a common health issue growing worldwide. Anyone with high uric acid levels can develop gout. Excessive uric acid solidifies into sharp particles that lodge in your joints and cause inflammation and harm them. Since gout can result from hyperuricemia (high amounts of uric acid in the blood), you should work to minimise the quantity of uric acid in your body. Although medical science has progressed to find several ways to treat gout, a healthy eating plan remains the best way to manage gout.
A gout diet typically restricts consuming foods and beverages with high purine content. So, it is a low purine diet that promotes the consumption of foods that can lower uric acid levels in the body (alkaline diet). That is because reducing purine lowers uric acid levels since purine from food breaks down into uric acid in the body. Moreover, such diets can assist persons with hyperuricemia who have not yet acquired gout. In addition, it stops the progression of current gout or avoids other consequences.
Read on to know the ideal and worst foods to eat for preventing and managing gout.
Gout Diet: An Overview
Excessive amounts of uric acid in the blood develop and build up crystals in and around joints, resulting in painful arthritis, known as gout. Either the body occasionally makes too much uric acid, or the kidneys fail to handle it well. To fight gout flare-ups, sometimes it’s better to follow a specific eating plan. The best dietary program for gout management would include foods that help achieve and sustain weight loss. That is because weight management is also one of the ways to manage gout.
No diet can cure gout. However, it might lessen the likelihood of subsequent gout attacks and delay the course of joint damage. Even those who follow a gout diet still require medication to control their symptoms and lower their uric acid levels.
Best Foods to Eat in a Gout Diet
Eating healthy is a strategic goal in controlling and preventing gout since dietary factors strongly and clinically impact gout. According to research, a gout diet should be well-balanced and have proper nutrients. In addition, it must include both low-purine and alkalising foods rich in antioxidants and enough fluids.
Below are some foods that you should include in your gout diet.
Milk and Low-Fat Dairy Products
Milk may help lower uric acid and gout attacks. That is because it lessens your body’s inflammatory response to uric acid crystals in your joints and accelerates the excretion of uric acid through your urine.
Low Purine Foods
Besides lowering uric acid, as already discussed, a low-purine diet also aids in managing gout. Another potential advantage of eating low-purine foods is that you might lose weight. Excessive weight gain and associated metabolic disorders are significant causes of gout. Therefore, losing weight reduces your likelihood of gout significantly. It also eases gout symptoms by easing the strain on your joints.
Foods low in purine include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and grains (Except oats)
- Carbohydrates: Potatoes, rice, bread and pasta (Do not exceed the limit while enjoying them!)
Since food’s acidic or alkaline characteristics also influence uric acid levels, a gout diet shouldn’t be based just on the number of purines in the foods. Moreover, alkalising foods help the body eliminate uric acid more efficiently. If your current diet isn’t increasing your pH levels, consider including more high-alkaline foods in your diet, like:
- Fruits like papaya, cherries, watermelon and berries
- Pumpkin seeds, chestnuts, chia seeds
Foods That Can Worsen the Condition
According to studies, eating a lot of red and processed meats and high-sugar meals increases your risk of gout. Therefore, you should avoid foods like cold cuts, meat stocks, marinades, chocolate, bacon, canned meat, fish, and spinach.
Other foods to avoid on a gout diet are:
Drinking beer, wine, and strong liquor can increase uric acid levels. Gout attacks may also occur in some people due to low-level alcoholic beverages. So, even if drinking wine in moderation doesn’t raise the risk of gout episodes, it is better to avoid consuming alcohol.
High Fructose Foods
Fructose intake can lead to increased uric acid levels. That is because such foods release purines. Therefore, avoiding meals and beverages high in sugar or fructose is crucial to prevent the onset of gout.
Some examples of these foods are:
- Sugary drinks like fruit juices and soda
- High fructose corn syrup
Several vegetables are high in purine. So, it’s crucial to restrict their intake when following a gout diet. Furthermore, some varieties of seafood have more purines than others. Therefore, while you can eat fish in moderation without harm, you must avoid some seafood.
The following are examples of vegetables and seafood that contain very high levels of purine:
- Vegetables: Mushrooms, green peas, spinach, asparagus, broccoli sprouts and cauliflower
- Seafood: Anchovies, shellfish, sardines and tuna
The HealthifyMe Note
By proactively keeping track of the best and worst foods you can eat for gout, you can be more in control of your overall health and well-being. It is important to remember that diet cannot substitute medication for treating gout. Paying attention to your food may help reduce your need for medication, although diet alone is inadequate in managing gout. Additionally, we advise you to gradually limit your consumption of purine-rich foods if you find it impossible to avoid them entirely.
Reference Menu for a Gout-friendly Diet
- Whole-grain, unsweetened cereal with low-fat milk
- Fresh strawberries: 1 cup
- Coffee: 1 cup
- Fresh cherries or any other fresh fruit: 1 cup
- Caffeine-free beverages, such as herbal tea: 1 cup
- Whole wheat pita bread
- Mixed green salad with vegetables
- Roasted or steamed green beans
- Whole grain toast
- Low-fat yoghurt
Consume more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables because they contain complex carbohydrates. Limit corn syrup-containing foods and drinks, and consume only small amounts of naturally sweet fruit juices. Whatever diet you incorporate, make sure you stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water at regular intervals.
Other Lifestyle Changes
If you have gout, being overweight can make gout attacks more likely. It is because being overweight might increase your level of insulin resistance. In these circumstances, the body cannot effectively eliminate sugar from the blood by using insulin. High uric acid levels are also encouraged by insulin resistance. Having said that, stay away from crash dieting, which entails attempting to shed pounds quickly by eating very little. Gout attacks can become more likely as a result of rapid weight reduction.
Drinking enough water lets the body clear out extra uric acid through urine and clear it from the blood. It’s much more crucial to stay hydrated if you frequently exercise because you lose a significant amount of water through sweat.
For people suffering from gout, exercise can have a preventive benefit. It can help lower uric acid levels, lessen inflammation, keep people active and at a healthy weight, and even reduce insulin resistance. But since the joints might be highly sensitive, do it according to your specific tolerance.
The HealthifyMe Note
A gout diet can aid in lowering uric acid buildup and enhancing its excretion. However, it’s critical to realise that a gout diet is not a form of treatment. Instead, it is a change in lifestyle that can lessen or even get rid of gout symptoms. Plus, it might reduce the frequency and intensity of attacks. A gout diet, calorie restriction, and moderate exercise can also enhance your general health by aiding you in maintaining a healthy weight.
A balanced diet can help manage the amount of uric acid in your body, but you could still require medication to stop gout attacks in the future. It’s unlikely that a gout diet will reduce blood uric acid levels sufficiently to treat gout without medicines. Your physician will likely advise frequent exercise, weight loss, and a gout diet. In many instances, medications can aid in gout control more so than a diet reduced in purines. Discover what’s best for you by speaking with your doctor.