Best Diet For Gout: What To Eat What To Avoid
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Gout is a type of arthritis, an inflammatory condition of the joints. It affects an estimated 8.3 million people in the US alone (
Fortunately, gout can be controlled with medications, a gout-friendly diet and lifestyle changes.
This article reviews the best diet for gout and what foods to avoid, backed by research.
Most Soy Should Be Fine
Soy foods like tofu, soy milk, and edamame have moderate amounts of purines. Traditionally doctors have cautioned against eating too much soy for people with gout. One study found that soybeans, soymilk, and soy powder increased uric acid in the blood significantly. However, larger population studies have recently told a different story. Several have reported that not only are soy products harmless for gout patients, but also people who eat more soy tend to have a reduced gout risk.
Health Conditions And Treatments
Certain drugs, health problems, and lifestyle choices can trigger gout, too.
Medications. Aspirin, certain diuretics for high blood pressure , and drugs for people who had organ transplants can trigger gout. After a flare, go over all the medicines you take with your doctor. If needed, they should be able to find another option.
Being overweight. When you slim down, you can protect yourself from another flare.
Fasting or crash diets. If you lose weight too quickly or fast, you could raise your chances of an attack.
High blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, and heart disease. These health conditions make you more likely to have gout, especially if you donât get treatment. Work with your doctor to keep them under control.
Injuries or surgery. When your body is stressed or sick, youâre more likely to have a flare. Of course, you canât always avoid this trigger. But if you need to have an operation, make sure your doctor knows youâve had gout in the past.
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There’s More To Gout Than Too Much Uric Acid
Before we dive into the list of foods to avoid with gout, it’s important to get to the root of what causes too much uric acid and who is at a higher risk.
First, no one is exempt from getting gout. Some people are just more sensitive to purine-rich foods and drinks and thus churn out more uric acid. Genes can play a significant role, so if you have a relative with gout, you might be at a higher risk.
Second, putting on weight through adulthood is associated with a higher risk of gout, according to research published in 2021 in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.
In an earlier study published in Arthritis and Rheumatology, overweight people were 85 percent more likely to have higher uric acid levels than people at a healthy weight.
How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Gout
Alcoholic drinks tend to be high in purines and consuming more than the recommended amount can increase the risk of a gout attack. It is therefore recommended to limit alcohol intake, avoid binge drinking and avoid all alcohol if you have painful gout or are having a gout attack. Try limiting alcohol to a maximum of 14 units per week for both men and women and 1-2 units per day with a minimum of two alcohol-free days a week. Beer, stout, port and fortified wines tend to be higher in purines and should be restricted. Moderate consumption of wine is not associated with a significant increased risk.
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What Food To Eat
Now that you know what foods to avoid, how do you know what foods are safe to eat? Your gout diet should include plenty of the foods on this list as they produce no or very little uric acid when digested.
- Fruits and vegetables: all fruits and vegetables are fine and cherries could even help prevent attacks of gout as it lowers uric acid levels
- Whole grains: oats, barley, brown rice, others
- Dairy: low-fat dairy products provide many benefits as part of a gout diet
- Legumes: beans and lentils are great proteins as are soybeans and tofu
- Nuts: nuts and seeds like almonds and sunflower seeds
- Drinks: coffee and tea
- Oils: when cooking, stick to plant-based oils like olive oil or canola oil
How Is Gout Diagnosed
In a clear-cut case, a primary care physician can make the diagnosis of gout with a high level of confidence. However, often there are two or more possible causes for an inflamed toe or other joint, which mimics some of the symptoms of gout, so tests to identify the presence of uric acid is performed.
Since the treatment for gout is lifelong, its very important to make a definitive diagnosis. Ideally, the diagnosis is made by identifying uric acid crystals in joint fluid or in a mass of uric acid . These can be seen by putting a drop of fluid on a slide and examining it using a polarizing microscope, which takes advantage of the way uric acid crystals bend light. A non-rheumatologist, when possible, can remove fluid from the joint by aspirating it with a small needle and send it to a lab for analysis. A rheumatologist is likely to have a polarizing attachment on their microscope at their office. Gout crystals have a needle-like shape, and are either yellow or blue, depending on how they are arranged on the slide .
Figure 11: Uric Acid Crystals Under Polarizing Light Microscopy
There are many circumstances where, however ideal it would be, no fluid or other specimen is available to examine, but a diagnosis of gout needs to be made. A set of criteria has been established to help make the diagnosis of gout in this setting .2
Table 1: Diagnosing gout when no crystal identification is possible
Ideally, 6 of 10 features will be present of the following:
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What Food And Drinks Should I Eat If Have Gout
Following a healthy, well-balanced diet is the best way to beat gout. Low-purine foods that may help reduce uric acid in the body include fruits , vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and low-fat dairy.
Research shows that eating low-fat dairy, such as yogurt, cheese and milk, may lower uric acid in the blood and decrease inflammation caused by uric acid crystals.
While you can go it alone in regard to your diet, sometimes it can help to follow a specific diet plan.
The best dietary program would include a diet that helps achieveand sustainweight loss such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet or Mediterranean diet, Fowler said. Both diets emphasize low intake of red meat, protein from plant sources and a decrease in saturated fat.
The DASH diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods but reduces saturated and total fat and cholesterol.
The Mediterranean diet focuses on plant proteins, whole grains, fish and monounsaturated fat like olive oil.
The best advice is to eat fresh, unprocessed foods, Fowler said. Choose complex carbs versus packaged or processed foods. And always remember to stay well-hydrated and drink plenty of water.
You Can’t Avoid All Purines
There are too many sources of purines to eliminate them all from your diet. You will stay healthier overall if you eat some foods with purines. Remember that vegetable purines have never been shown to promote gout attacks, and that low-fat dairy products are protein sources that lower your risk of gout pain. People with gout can still enjoy meat in moderation, but should limit meat, fish, and poultry to 4 to 6 ounces a day.
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Ten Tips For Beating Gout
If you have gout, use these nutrition tips to lower your risk:
See your GP to check or monitor gout risk factors
Drink up to four cups of regular or decaffeinated coffee a day
Have two to three serves of reduced-fat or skim dairy foods daily
Eat cherries regularly . Add to breakfast cereal and snacks, or mix with yoghurt
Avoid fasting and feasting. Both increase purine turnover and blood uric acid
What Foods To Avoid
Many of the foods you want to avoid are meats and seafood. Meats such as chicken, pork, beef, or lamb are usually okay in moderation however, if you find they cause symptoms you will want to avoid them altogether. Salmon, as part of a gout diet, is also usually tolerated well in moderation.
- Yeast:beer, nutritional yeast, large amounts of bread, others
- Game meats: venison, veal, bison, others
- Organ meats: liver, tongue, tripe, others
- Fish: including sardines and anchovies
- Other seafood: shellfish, roe, others
- Sugary drinks: sodas, fruit juice, others
- Sugar substances: honey, nectar, high-fructose corn syrup, others
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Certain Meats And Seafood
Not all sources of purine are equal when managing gout, and research suggests certain purines can make gout worse.
“Studies show that hypoxanthine purines, found in meat and fish, have a stronger effect on on purine production compared to other types of purine,” says Nichole Dandrea MS, RDN, and author of The Fiber Effect: Stop Counting Calories and Start Counting Fiber For Better Health, referencing research in the BMJ.
Dr. Siaton recommends people with gout pass on red meats such as lamb, beef, and pork. Organ and glandular meats such as liver, tripe, and sweetbread have high purine content, too.
As for seafood, trout, haddock, codfish, anchovies, sardines, herring, mussels, and scallops are higher-purine options to avoid.
You might be able to tolerate moderately high-purine seafood such as crab, lobster, oysters, and shrimp. But make sure to limit consumption.
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.
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More Healthy Foods Tips From Lark
The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, or recommended treatments. All products and services featured are selected by our editors. Health.com may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Candy, sports drinks, some breakfast cereal, and some pasta sauces all contribute to dietary sugar from unhealthy carbs.
Things For Immediate Gout Pain Relief
Now lets take a look at what you can do to relieve yourself from gout. Usually, when you start taking medicine, it immediately works on your paint.
Still, if you are having pain and you want immediate relief from gout pain, then your doctor might suggest you use ice.
Usually, ice works on gout-affected joints where the pain isnt too bad. Ice is known to lower inflammation and soothe the ache. You can wrap ice in a thin towel and apply it to gout-affected joints for a few minutes.
You can repeat the procedure multiple times a day, but you should not use ice on your hands or feet if you have nerve problems from diabetes or any other medical condition. Ice can make everything worse in a Nerve Damaged person.
Apart from that, your doctor might suggest that you let your gout affect the rest as much as possible. You should also try to avoid as much heavy work as possible while you are under treatment for gout.
As you might be already aware, joints affected with gout dont have enough movement, so it will be best for you to rest as much as possible. It will enhance your recovery speed and give you instant relief from pain.
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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.
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.
Exercise And General Health
In addition to following the gout diet, your healthcare provider may recommend that you make other changes to help you live comfortably with gout. The recommendations may include physical activity.
Studies have shown that regular exercise can help to improve joint function and help you to maintain a healthy weight. However, strenuous exercise can do more harm than good and dehydration may raise the level of uric acid in serum and trigger gout.
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Are Bananas Good For Gout
Bananas are low in purines and high in vitamin C, which make them a good food to eat if you have gout. Changing your diet to include more low-purine foods, like bananas, can lower the amount of uric acid in your blood and reduce your risk of recurrent gout attacks.
People with gout, however, can have a moderate intake of lean meats such as chicken and turkey. A doctor may also recommend vitamin C supplements of 5001,000 milligrams a day. Eating right for your arthritis and your overall health begins with what you buy. Here are foods that you should you buy or skip for an arthritis-friendly diet. Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.
Home Remedies For Gout
Before we talk about home remedies for gout, let me tell you one thing. You might have to take medicine to lower all the symptoms of gout if you have already got it.
Generally, home remedies help you prevent gout or prevent a future attack if you have already been diagnosed and treated for the same.
First thing you can do as a home remedy is chosen healthier beverages. You should cut the alcohol as much as possible. Apart from that, you should also limit several other sweetened drinks.
At the same time, you can increase the intake of water and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is one of the biggest reasons people get gout.
The second thing your doctor might ask you is to make a few changes in your diet. Your doctor will ask you to avoid red meat and organ meats such as the liver. At the same time, you might have to leave several seafood items, including trout and tuna.
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How Long Does Gout Last
The duration of gout depends on the person. If that affected person goes to a doctor for treatment of gout, then it typically lasts a few days. On the other hand, if the affected person does not treat gout, then it might last for a couple of weeks and start having other units as well.
Usually, gout is not a serious condition, but if anyone leaves it untreated, then it can become a chronic situation, and the affected person will keep having gout attacks from time to time.
That is why we suggest everyone affected with gout go check your doctor as soon as possible. The treatment is not expensive, and it can also prevent future attacks.
Soft Drinks And Gout Risk
Several studies have found an increased gout risk from sugar-sweetened drinks. This link has been found in both men and women. One large study found that just one sugar-sweetened drink per day doubled a woman’s risk of developing gout compared with women who had less than one sugar-sweetened drink per month. “Studies show that sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices are associated with an increased incidence of gout attacks. Interestingly, these studies show that diet soda intake is not related to increased frequency of gout attacks,” says Sloane.
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