Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis triggered by high levels of uric acid in the blood. Gout causes swollen, red, hot and stiff joints. Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood. It passes through the kidneys and out of the body in urine. But sometimes uric acid can build up and form needle-like crystals. When they form in your joints, it is very painful. The crystals can also cause kidney stones. Often, gout first attacks your big toe. It can also attack ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows. At first, gout attacks usually get better in days. Eventually, attacks last longer and happen more often.
You are more likely to get gout if you:
- Are a man
- Have family member with gout
- Are overweight
- Have had gastric bypass surgery
- Drink alcohol and beer
- Eat too many foods rich in purines *
- Purines are in our body’s tissues and some foods are high in purines such as organ meats, red meat, wild game and some seafood
Overall nutrition-diet goals for Gout:
- Achieve a healthier weight and good eating habits
- Avoid some, but not all, foods with purines
- Include foods that can control uric acid levels
As Hippocrates said: “Let food by thy medicine and let medicine by thy food”.
Nutrition recommendations for Gout sufferers:
- Drink plenty of water as your “go to” beverage
- Avoid organ meats and wild game, which have high purine levels and contribute to high levels of uric acid
- Limit serving sizes of beef, lamb, pork and processed meats
- Moderate your intake of higher purine seafood such as anchovies, shellfish, sardines and tuna
- Avoid alcohol during gout attacks and limit alcohol, especially beer, between attacks
- Avoid foods and beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. This means soda, sweetened cereals, bakery goods and candies. High-fructose corn syrup is present is many commercial food products so learn to read labels.
- Limit consumption of naturally sweet fruit juices
- Cut back on saturated fats from red meat, fatty poultry, processed meats and high-fat dairy products
- Eat More lower sugar fruits, vegetables and whole grains which provide complex carbohydrates. Berries are lower sugar fruits with fiber and citrus fruits are another good choice.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C may lower uric acid levels. You can add Vitamin C to your diet with citrus fruits and you may want to talk to your doctor about adding a 500 milligram Vitamin C supplement.
- Some research suggests that drinking caffeinated coffee in moderation may be associated with a reduced risk of gout.
- Cherries and Tart Cherry Juice. Tart cherries have long been used as a natural pain killer and are particularly effective against gout. Tart cherries and sweet cherries are different. Cherries have been shown to lower levels of uric acid in the blood which is one of the most common causes of gout pain. Look for tart cherry juice at the grocery or health food store (Knudsen is a common brand) and get in the habit of having a small glass each day. Tart cherry juice is, well you know: It is straight up juice, no added sugar or other ingredients.
Stay Healthy. Be STRONG. Get After It.
I share my thoughts with you to provide information and food for thought aka pondering. Pondering which will lead to more reading, education and Eureka! moments. However, please don’t take it as medical advice. It isn’t. If you have a medical condition, or suspect you have one, always seek care from a licensed medical professional. That way — it’s all BAMtastic!