Achieve A Healthy Weight
Obesity may be a primary consideration to reduce levels of uric acid in the blood. Insulin resistance is commonly seen in those who are obese and it may be involved in the development of gout. Insulin resistance has been shown to decrease the amount of uric acid that is cleared in the urine. A condition known as the ‘metabolic syndrome’ is a cluster of symptoms which includes insulin resistance, along with tummy obesity, high blood pressure and abnormal blood fats – for example, high cholesterol. This condition is strongly associated with high uric acid levels, which can be improved with slow, gradual weight loss.
Weight loss has been shown to improve insulin resistance and therefore reduce uric acid levels in the blood. However, it is important to avoid strict diets such as low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets. These may increase consumption of purines, a compound that breaks down into uric acid. Additionally, rapid weight loss through strict dieting can result in breakdown of tissue. This can temporarily cause a rise in uric acid levels. A gradual, safe weight loss of 1-2 lbs a week can help to achieve an optimal body weight.
A Caution About Vegetables
As good as vegetables are in general, some are high in purines, including asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, peas, and mushrooms. However, high-purine vegetables dont seem to aggravate gout the same way that high-purine animal-based foods do, Sandon says, adding that, as long as its a vegetable source, you can eat it. One further precaution when balancing foods and gout: Some dried beans, particularly fava and garbanzo, are high in purines, and you may find you need to avoid them.
Vegetables Cooked In Animal Products
Similar to how you might think okra is good for gout simply because it is a vegetable, you might assume animal products are good for gout because they are sources of protein. However, there is a reason why many animal products fall into the list of foods to avoid with gout: they are high in purines and animal fat. While some animal products are allowed such as low-fat dairy products, poultry and some seafood many high-fat animal products are to be avoided on a diet to reduce gout.
Vegetables cooked in animal products may have higher purine content, which can lead to more uric acid in the body. According to Cleveland Clinic, high uric acid levels can also be attributed to genetics. If the increased risk of gout is hereditary, they still recommend adopting a healthy diet.
Avoid cooking vegetables in the following animal products:
- High-fat butter
- Fish sauce
For example, mashed potatoes and gravy are a popular combination. While potatoes themselves are compliant on a gout-reducing diet, potatoes doused in gravy are not. Many people also consume vegetables cooked in butter or grease, which are both discouraged. If you have gout, season your vegetables with herbs, spices and other low-fat sources of flavor.
According to Mayo Clinic, high-fat animal products are limited because of their saturated fat content. While fats are important for overall health, people with gout should stick to sources of healthy dietary fats and avoid consuming too much saturated fat.
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When To See A Doctor
If you experience sudden, intense pain in a joint, call your doctor. Gout that goes untreated can lead to worsening pain and joint damage. Seek medical care immediately if you have a fever and a joint is hot and inflamed, which can be a sign of infection.
Gout causes intense pain and swelling around one or more joints. Gout most commonly affects the joint at the base of the big toe.
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.
Read more:List of Foods That Raise Uric Acid
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Fruit Fructose And Gout
Fructose is what gives some fruits their natural sweetness. Researchers report a correlation between foods high in fructose and gout symptoms, which can include chronic pain. These fruits include apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes, prunes, and dates. Its okay to eat these fruits if you have gout as long as you do so in moderation. Limit yourself to one to two cups per day. More importantly, avoid soda or soft drinks and juices that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Drink water or real fruit juices instead .
What Foods Should You Eat
Although a gout-friendly diet eliminates many foods, there are still plenty of low-purine foods you can enjoy.
Foods are considered low-purine when they have less than 100 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces .
Here are some low-purine foods that are generally safe for people with gout (20,
- Fruits: All fruits are generally fine for gout. Cherries may even help prevent attacks by lowering uric acid levels and reducing inflammation (
- Vegetables: All vegetables are fine, including potatoes, peas, mushrooms, eggplants and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Legumes: All legumes are fine, including lentils, beans, soybeans and tofu.
- Nuts: All nuts and seeds.
- Whole grains: These include oats, brown rice and barley.
- Dairy products: All dairy is safe, but low-fat dairy appears to be especially beneficial (
- Beverages:Coffee, tea and green tea.
- Herbs and spices: All herbs and spices.
- Plant-based oils: Including canola, coconut, olive and flax oils.
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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 .
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.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies
Medications are often the most effective way to treat gout attacks and prevent recurrent symptom flares. However, lifestyle choices also are important, and you may want to:
- Choose healthier beverages. Limit alcoholic beverages and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar . Instead, drink plenty of nonalcoholic beverages, especially water.
- Avoid foods high in purines. Red meat and organ meats, such as liver, are especially high in purines. Purine-rich seafood includes anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout and tuna. Low-fat dairy products may be a better source of protein for people prone to gout.
- Exercise regularly and lose weight. Keeping your body at a healthy weight reduces your risk of gout. Choose low-impact activities such as walking, bicycling and swimming which are easier on your joints.
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Are Tomatoes Recommended For Gout
Many sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Harvard Health recommend a diet high in colored vegetables and fruits, including nightshades like tomatoes. These foods contain nutrients like carotenoids called beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin, lycopene, and Vitamin C, all of which could help reduce inflammation and improve joint function.
Some Meat Fish Eggs Beans And Pulses
Eat these foods in moderation. Having vitamin C with meals can help to improve the absorption of iron, so drink a small glass of orange juice, have a piece of fruit for dessert, or serve up meals with plenty of vegetables. Keep your portions of meat controlled by using your hands as a serving size guide. A serving is about the size and thickness of the palm of your hand.
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Who Is Affected By Gout
Gout can affect anyone. It usually occurs earlier in men than women. It generally occurs after menopause in women. Men can be three times more likely than women to get it because they have higher levels of uric acid most of their lives. Women reach these uric acid levels after menopause.
People are more likely to get gout if they have:
- Obesity, or a lot of extra weight.
You are also more likely to develop gout if you:
- Consume a diet high in animal proteins
- Consume a significant amount of alcohol
- Are on water pills .
Health Benefits And Nutrition Facts
Tomatoes are a healthy, low-calorie food that is enjoyable raw or cooked. Raw chopped or sliced tomatoes contain only 32 calories per cup while providing 27% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake. Vitamin C protects your cells from damage and boosts your immune system and skin health. They also contain vitamin K, vital for blood clotting and healthy bones, and fiber for improved digestion.
Tomatoes contain antioxidants like lycopene, beta-carotene, and quercetin, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
|Tomato: Nutrition Facts|
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How Food Affects Gout
Gout occurs when excess uric acid crystals form in the body. An estimated 4 percent of American adults have gout, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
Diet can increase a persons risk for gout because some foods contain purines. These are compounds the body breaks down into uric acid, and excess uric acid can lead to gout.
Alcohol Is The Biggest Risk Factor For Gout
It is well-established that frequent alcohol intake dramatically increases risk of gout .
The Framingham Heart Study of over 4,500 participants provides some perspective.
Researchers found that regular alcohol use was associated with three times greater risk of gout in women compared to those who have less than 2 standard drinks per week. For men, regular drinkers had double the risk of non-drinkers .
Beer seems to be the worst, followed by hard liquors such as spirits. Interestingly, moderate wine consumption is not linked with any risk .
The reason why alcohol increases uric acid levels is still not well-understood. Some forms, particularly beer, can be high in purines but they are certainly not the richest source of purines in our diet.
Additional theories propose that excessive alcohol may also reduce the bodys ability to excrete uric acid. Others state that alcohol especially beer increases the chemical breakdown of purine-containing ATP nucleotides, which is a precursor of uric acid production .
Summary: Regular alcohol intake severely raises uric acid levels in the blood. It doubles, if not triples your risk of gout.
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Using Cabbage To Fight Gout
Now I must explain why this vegetable is so important for us, gout sufferers. First of all, it is rich in specific ingredients and chemicals which help our body remove all toxins from itself. By removing the toxins, it will also reduce the level of uric acid. Keep in mind that the lower the levels of uric acids are, less risk you will have from suffering from a gout attack. This is especially beneficial when it comes to the red cabbage, although green isnt bad either.
The next main thing you should know is that cabbage has anti-inflammatory properties, so it is even more beneficial for us. The last but not least, cabbage is rich in all kinds of enzymes which will help us reduce the pain we have from gout and make our life literally better.
What About The Mediterranean Diet
As well as helping to reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis, eating a Mediterranean-style diet offers many other health benefits, including weight loss.
Following a Mediterranean diet may also reduce the risk of:
When someone is living with osteoarthritis, their body is in an inflammatory state.
While foods with anti-inflammatory properties may reduce symptoms, some foods contain substances that actively contribute to this inflammation. It is best to avoid or restrict these dietary choices.
The types of food to avoid are those that include the following:
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How Does A Doctor Diagnose Gout
If you have sudden or severe pain in a joint, you should talk to your primary care provider . Your PCP may send you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in gout and other kinds of arthritis.
Healthcare providers consider several things when confirming gout:
- Symptoms: The provider will ask you to describe your symptoms, how often they happen and how long they last.
- Physical examination: Your provider will examine the affected joint to look for swelling, redness and warmth.
- Blood work: A test can measure the amount of uric acid in your blood.
- Imaging tests: You may have pictures taken of the affected joint with X-rays, an ultrasound or MRI.
- Aspiration: The provider may use a needle to pull fluid from the joint. Using a microscope, a team member can look for uric acid crystals or a different problem .
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.
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.
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What You Can Do
- Write down your symptoms, including when they started and how often they occur.
- Note important personal information, such as any recent changes or major stressors in your life.
- Make a list of your key medical information, including any other conditions for which you’re being treated and the names of any medications, vitamins or supplements you’re taking. Your doctor will also want to know if you have any family history of gout.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
Questions to ask the doctor at the initial appointment include:
- What are the possible causes of my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do you recommend?
- Are there any treatments or lifestyle changes that might help my symptoms now?
- Should I see a specialist?
Questions to ask if you’re referred to a rheumatologist include:
If any additional questions occur to you during your medical appointments, don’t hesitate to ask.
Reducing Inflammation And Preventing Damage
A balanced, nutritious diet will give the body the tools it needs to prevent further damage to the joints, which is essential for people with osteoarthritis.
Some foods are known to reduce inflammation in the body, and following an anti-inflammatory diet can improve symptoms. Eating enough antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E, may help to prevent further damage to the joints.
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Oatmeal Has Moderate Amounts Of Purines
Oatmeal has about 50 to 150 milligrams of purines per 100 grams of the food. This puts oatmeal right in the middle of the range of milligrams for purine-containing foods.
While its not as high in purines as organ meats, scallops, or some fish, its still high enough to increase your risk of gout when eaten in excess.