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Tomatoes One Of The Top Triggers Of Gout Attacks Study Reveals
Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.
Still getting painful flare-ups as a result of your gout? A recent study from New Zealands University of Otago has found that tomatoes may be the cause.
Gout is an extremely painful form of arthritis that results from a buildup of uric acid in the joints. It causes acute inflammation, with dietary factors being the most common gout triggers.
Foods associated with increased levels of uric acid include alcohol , red meat, seafood, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Foods that are generally known to alleviate inflammation and reduce flare-ups include: coffee, dairy foods, and vitamin C-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes.
However, many gout sufferers have reported avoidance of tomatoes and tomato products, leading researchers to evaluate consumption patterns of tomatoes and whether tomato consumption was associated with increased levels of uric acid.
For their study, researchers examined the dietary intakes of 2,051 men and women in New Zealand with gout. Approximately 71% of participants reported having one or more food triggers. The top triggers included seafood/fish, alcohol, and red meat. In 20% of these cases, tomatoes were listed as a food trigger.
Tomatoes were associated with increased levels of uric acid, even though they contain vitamin C, which usually reduces risk.
What Is Gout And What Causes It
Before we can look at foods to avoid with gout, it is necessary to briefly understand what it is.
Gout is a form of joint inflammation, caused by excessive uric acid in circulation .
When the bodys natural uric acid threshold is exceeded, painful crystals can form in and around the joints. These crystals trigger the characteristic symptoms and pain.
Not everybody with high uric acid levels will get gout, but those who do always have high uric acid levels. This indicates there are other factors at play, but from a dietary perspective uric acid is the focus.
Excessive uric acid in the blood stream is typically driven by two factors: genetic predisposition and the ingestion of high-purine foods. Obviously, the dietary factor we can control.
When purines we eat are broken down and metabolised by the body, uric acid is formed as a by-product of this process. Its normal and healthy for uric acid to be formed, but excessive amounts are problematic.
Therefore, consuming less purine-rich foods should lower uric acid levels in your blood, lowering gout risk.
At least, in theory.
Its actually not that clear-cut because other nutrients appear to aggravate gout symptoms too
Heres a list of foods to avoid if you have gout, based on real scientific evidence.
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Do Tomatoes Worsen Gout
Tomatoes are linked to a higher level of uric acid in your blood. That means that they can be a gout trigger for some people. However, tomatoes aren’t a gout trigger for everyone. In fact, tomatoes might help reduce inflammation and gout symptoms for some people.
New Research Backs Belief That Tomatoes Can Be A Gout Trigger
- University of Otago
- People who maintain that eating tomatoes can cause their gout to flare up are likely to welcome new research that has, for the first time, found a biological basis for this belief.
People who maintain that eating tomatoes can cause their gout to flare up are likely to welcome new research from New Zealand’s University of Otago that has, for the first time, found a biological basis for this belief.
Gout is a painful and debilitating form of arthritis that affects approximately three times more men than women. Four to five percent of European men in New Zealand suffer from gout. Amongst Mori and Pacific Island men this figure rises to 10-15% due to a greater genetic risk in these people.
Once a person has gout, eating certain foods can cause their gout to flare up in a painful attack. A group of Otago Department of Biochemistry researchers noticed that a large number of gout sufferers believe tomatoes to be one of these gout trigger foods.
The researchers surveyed 2051 New Zealanders with clinically verified gout. Of these people 71% reported having one or more food triggers. Tomatoes were listed as a trigger in 20% of these cases.
One of the study authors, Genetics PhD student Tanya Flynn, says that tomatoes were found to be the fourth most commonly mentioned trigger, after seafood, alcohol and red meat.
“We thought it important to find a biological reason for this to add weight to what gout patients are already saying,” Miss Flynn says.
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May Lower Blood Pressure
Tomatoes contain potassium, a natural vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels improves blood circulation, and provide relief from hypertension or high blood pressure.
However, overeating tomatoes increase the potassium level in our body.
Too much potassium may drop our blood pressure below the normal range and cause fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, clammy skin, depression, and blurry vision, etc.
If you take blood pressure medication, have a word with your doctor before adding tomatoes to your diet to avoid the risk of food-drug intolerance.
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May Cause Acid Reflux Or Heartburn
Tomatoes improve our digestive health.
The laxative properties of dietary fibers in tomatoes improve bowel movement, relieve constipation, and provide relief from digestive disorders such as abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and flatulence, etc.
Despite the advantage, consume tomatoes in moderation as they are high in acids and excessive consumption may increase the risk of heartburn or acid reflux.
As per a study by the University of Maryland Medical Center, tomatoes is not suitable for people suffering from GERD as it may worsen the symptoms of GERD such as chronic chest pain, dry cough, recurrent vomiting, heartburn, nausea, bitter taste, sore throat, abdominal discomfort, etc.
Consider Alternatives To Prevent Gout Flare By Tomatoes
Some peoples gout is triggered by tomatoes. Its a good idea to substitute other nutritious components if tomatoes make your gout flare up. This could incorporate:
- Bell Peppers
You can try several things to see what suits you the best. The best tomato replacement may vary depending on the recipe. For instance, you might use roasted red peppers in place of tomatoes on sandwiches, but you might use eggplant paste in place of tomato paste when cooking a sauce.
As you discover the substitutes you appreciate the best, you can create recipes and substitutions. Finding inventive alternatives can be really easy with the help of online cooking and recipe applications.
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Benefits Of Tomatoes For Gout
Tomato falls under the category of the nightshade family of vegetables. According to the opinion of some experts, people with inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis and gout should not consume the vegetables of the nightshade vegetable family like tomatoes and potatoes, because they consist of alkaloids. Some believe that alkaloids tend to increase inflammation and joint damage in gout.
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Organ Meats Are Extremely High In Purines And Should Also Be Avoided
Organ meats, known as Offal, contain by far the most purines of any food in the human diet.
The most common forms of offal in the Western diet include liver , brain, heart, kidneys, and a mixture called Pâté.
Below is the purine content of a handful of foods. Note this is just an example Ive selected, and you can find much more extensive lists on Goutpal or here.
Purine Content of Food :
Consider that values listed are per 100 grams, so portion sizes must be taken into account Meat portions we eat tend to be heaviest.
Previous studies have not differentiated between intake of conventional meat and offal, so recommendations have to be the same. Given the strong link between meat intake and gout which is based on purine content alone offal should definitely be avoided too.
Somewhat contradictory to the purine-gout theory, consumption of purine-rich vegetables is not associated with an increased risk of gout .
Researchers speculate this could be due to a lower bioavailability of purines in vegetabes, as well as other nutrients which may offset the harmful effects of their purines.
Summary: Organ meats are some of the highest purine foods and should be completely avoided if you suffer gout attacks.
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Evidence For Tomatoes Helping To Protect Against Gout
Sanchez Moreno et al found a strong link between increased tomato consumption and raised vitamin C in the blood. They also found a link between increased tomato consumption and reduced uric acid in the blood.
Regular blood tests were carried out on 12 subjects who were each given 500 ml of commercial gazpacho per day to eat for 14 days.
Note: Gazpacho is a truly delicious cold, uncooked soup, containing lots of fresh ripe tomatoes , with red bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, garlic, and olive oil.
Gazpacho is very rich in vitamin C and several studies have shown that increased vitamin C can lower uric acid levels in the blood, which is probably the mechanism in play here.
So whats the truth?
If truth be told, there just isnt enough evidence to prove conclusively whether tomatoes are a trigger for gout or not.
Personally speaking, I eat lots of fresh tomatoes and we use them a lot in cooking too. And I havent had a flare in years. So they arent a trigger for me.
However, we cant escape the fact that some, but not all , of those folks in New Zealand had linked their attacks to tomatoes.
If you suspect that the tomatoes youve been eating all this time could be triggering your gout, avoid them completely for a period just to see how you get on
Therefore, you may wish to try adding tomatoes back into your diet, but only in moderation, not to the full extent you once did
Does Fructose Cause Gout
Fructose is a sugar that is found in fruits and vegetables. It is also found in high levels in foods sweetened with corn syrup, such as bread, cereal, soft drinks and fruit juices. An American study found that men who drank five to six servings of fructose-sweetened soft drinks per week were more likely to have gout. However there is no research showing that fructose actually causes gout. Cutting down the amount of food artificially sweetened with high fructose corn syrup may be beneficial for your overall health. However naturally occurring fructose in fruit and vegetables also provides general health benefits and should not be completely avoided without advice from your doctor or dietitian.
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Gout And Whole Grain Bread Pasta And Rice
Think Iâve discovered that pasta is a trigger. All was well until last night. Wife made spaghetti with meat sauce. I had a fairly small portion, since weâre both doing Weight Watchers, and BAM in the middle of the night my toe is aching like crazy!!! Funny thing is, I ate 6-7 black cherries before dinner. I hate gout.
Gout is becoming more and more common and its one of the worst issues to have So I fully understand why youre interested in What Kind Of Bread Is Good For Gout. Nonetheless Im working on a brand new video to go over What Kind Of Bread Is Good For Gout in detail! So I apologize for the delay.
Bad Foods For Gout Herring. Whereas some kinds of seafood will need to be eaten 1 time in the long time, other kinds of seafood need to be cut off totally from the menu of people who get gout. People need to avoid tuna, anchovies, and herring. However, eel, lobster, crab, and shrimp are relatively safe. 6. Bad Foods For Gout Enriched Breads
The kidneys normally filter the uric acid, and it leaves the body through the urine. However, people with gout sometimes have a buildup of uric acid in the blood. This buildup of uric acid can cause swelling and pain . A low-purine diet may help to treat and prevent gout attacks. What foods can I include?
Eat Tomatoes Every Day
Tomatoes are one food item, the absence of which makes the food tasteless. In addition to increasing the taste of the dishes, tomatoes help in regulating the level of uric acid. By consuming it daily, you can avoid the problem of arthritis as well. Tomatoes contain many antioxidants. It also contains very little amount of purine which helps bring the uric acid level to normal.
Tomato helps in increased uric acid problem
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Do I Need To Stop Eating Meat If I Have Gout
No, but practice moderation, Dr. Burg reiterates. Avoid organ meats such as liver, though, because they have higher levels of purines, which can cause flare-ups. Moderate intake of lean meats such as chicken and turkey should not affect your condition. Seafood such as shrimp and lobster tends to be higher in purines, as well, so dont make them a regular part of your diet.
Vegetables Like Beetroot And Gout
Most vegetables fall into the low-purine category, so vegetables are not usually on the list of foods to avoid with gout. However, there are a few vegetables containing a moderate amount of purines that people with gout should be aware of.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, moderate-purine vegetables include:
Simply because these vegetables contain moderate amounts of purines does not mean that people with gout should avoid them altogether. According to Mayo Clinic, the purines in vegetables do not increase the risk of gout or recurring gout attacks.
Similar to purines, oxalates are another type of natural substance that increases the uric acid content in the body. Vegetable sources of oxalates include rhubarb, turnips, beets and okra. This is why there is speculation of a negative association between beetroot and gout. Since beets contain oxalates, beetroot and gout may not not be a good combination. The same is true of okra. Though it has many health benefits, it is not true that okra is good for gout.
If you have gout, you may choose to consume or avoid vegetables that contain purines and oxalates.
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The Cause Of Gout Is More Than Just Diet
While diet is critical, dont overlook other important factors that affect gout. These include family history, sleep apnoea, and lack of physical exercise to name a few.
Further discussion of best treatment for gout is outside the scope of this article. But there are foods thought to be protective namely dairy, cherries, and coffee, in decreasing order of evidence.
And as much as I prefer focusing on what you should eat to prevent health scares, there are just so many clear trigger foods for gout.
Its important to deal with these factors first and foremost.
About Joe Leech, Dietitian
Joe Leech is a university-qualified dietitian from Australia.
He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science, followed by a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2011.
Learn more about him on the About page.
Joe Leech, Dietitian
What Sauces Are Bad For Gout
Since they are made with the fat and drippings from meat and poultry, gravies and sauces made from beef, pork, and poultry should be avoided because they contain high amounts of purine. Try making sauces with vegetable broth or tomato sauce. Dairy-based sauces, such as a low-fat cream sauce, are also safe alternatives.
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High Risk Does Not Always Mean High In Purines
High content, moderate content, high risk, and low risk are some of the ambiguous terms experts use to describe gout-causing foods and their purine content. It causes confusion because classifications based on content amounts can vary from each source. It is not uncommon to see the same type of food, like lobster, listed as high in purine by one source, but then listed as a moderate-risk by another.
Not to mention, different purine studies or tables have different data and results. A more simplified approach will taken instead of sounding like a technical report on determining purine content.
Several major health authorities consistently state the following food groups as high risk or high in purine content.
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Aspirin And Diuretics Significantly Increase Gout Risk
Not exactly foods to avoid with gout, but the ingestion of some common medications sharply raise the risk of a gout attack.
Specifically, low doses of aspirin, which one in three middle-aged Americans takes regularly to help prevent heart disease .
The emphasis is on low doses because aspirin has a dual effect on uric acid levels. Very high doses above 3,000 mg promotes excretion of uric acid , whereas low doses prevent excretion .
In a study of 49 elderly patients, just 75 mg of aspirin per day increased blood uric acid levels by 6% within one week. A daily dose of 150 mg kept levels high during the second week, before coming down with 300 mg doses in the third week .
Considering the typical dose for heart disease prevention is 81-325 mg per day, it is no real surprise this dosage is associated with a doubling in gout risk. In fact, even the use of a low-dose aspirin for two consecutive days increases risk of recurrent gout attacks .
Another type of medication known to trigger gout is diuretics. They are typically used to treat high blood pressure and oedema, and if feasible should be discontinued in gout sufferers.
Im by no means recommending you cease your medications if you have gout, but its important to understand the pharmaceutical triggers. First speak with your doctor and closely monitor uric acid levels before making any changes.
And if you need a temporary painkiller, choose paracetamol or ibuprofen. No aspirin.
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