Health Benefits Of Shellfish
There is no other way to say this. Shellfish is a stunning food with over 9 different benefits. For instance, they are rich in DHA and EPA . These are fatty acids. They have a wonderful effect on human brain development. They also reduce body inflammation.
Shellfish is loaded with Vitamins B3, B6, B12, and A. One cup will provide 8% of vitamin A needs for men and 10% for women per day. The food is also rich in dietary proteins and good, healthy cholesterol.
Shellfish will protect your heart as well. The link is believed to be fatty acids and you may know that people who consume plenty of fish, including shellfish have a much lower risk of developing heart disease.
There are all kinds of additional health-related benefits humans can get from shellfish. They are also delicious for most of you and they come as elegant and interesting food to consume. And now we move to shellfish and gout.
Purines The Root Cause Of Hyperuricemia
A purine is an organic compound usually found in the same foods that contain protein. To break down purines the liver must produce uric acid. When there is a large presence of purines, the liver tends to produce more uric acid than the kidneys can filter out of the body. Hyperuricemia is the condition when uric acid levels are above normal levels. The excess uric acid builds up at a joint and causes inflammation and pain, which are symptoms of gouty arthritis or gout.
Prawns V Shrimp: Whats The Difference
In North America, shrimp is used more commonly, while prawn refers to species that are larger or found in fresh water. Commonwealth countries and Ireland tend to use prawn more frequently.
Prawns and shrimp come from different branches of the crustacean family tree. Shrimp are members of the pleocyemata suborder, while prawns are part of the dendrobranchiata suborder. They have various differences in anatomy.
Prawns and shrimp reside in both fresh and salt water. However, the majority of shrimp are found in salt water while most prawns live in fresh water.
Prawns are typically larger than shrimp. However, there are exceptions to the rule large varieties of shrimp and small varieties of prawns. Therefore, its hard to differentiate between the two by size alone.
There are no documented differences between the nutritional profiles of prawns and shrimp. They both provide a good source of protein, healthy fats and many vitamins and minerals, yet are low in calories. ~more
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Avoid Sweets And Sodas
Unlike fruit with its natural sugar, artificial sugars are widely recognized as gout flare dangers. Consuming too many sugary sodas has been found to provoke attacks, but no association has been found with artificially sweetened sodas. Other foods loaded with high-fructose corn syrup can also bring on gout pain.
Other Risks Of Seafood Consumption
Seafood is a simply a dangerous food to eat for so many valid reasons and should be avoided at all costs. It is simply one of the dirtiest foods you can eat and can cause you so many different ailments. I mean the reason lobster is cooked while alive is due to the bacterial problem which takes place immediately upon their death needing to release astaxanthin for it to be safe for you to consume.
Shrimp is a scavenger that thrives off of eating the flesh of dead creatures, so if you like to eat shrimp be aware that you are eating feces as well. You like shellfish? Watch out cause you can be poisoned a bacterial or viral contamination. You must adequately cook it to make sure you dont get sick but is it really worth the risk? Poisoning can also come about from heat-stable toxins derived from the food that the shellfish have been eating. If you suffer from gout, just cross out any type of seafood, I hope to help you avoid any gout flares or triggers for an attack.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Gout
Gout flares start suddenly and can last days or weeks. These flares are followed by long periods of remissionweeks, months, or yearswithout symptoms before another flare begins. Gout usually occurs in only one joint at a time. It is often found in the big toe. Along with the big toe, joints that are commonly affected are the lesser toe joints, the ankle, and the knee.
Symptoms in the affected joint may include:
- Pain, usually intense
What Effect Do Your Weight And Diet Have
Some studies suggest that certain foods are linked to gout attacks. Gout attacks are apparently more common in people who have eaten a lot of meat, fish or seafood a few days before. That matches many people’s experiences. On the other hand, purine-rich plant-based foods such as peas, beans, lentils, spinach, mushrooms, oats, cauliflower and broccoli were found to have little to no effect on the risk of a gout attack. Overall, there hasnt been much good quality research into the link between certain foods and gout attacks.
Eating cherries is sometimes recommended to prevent gout attacks, but theres no scientific proof that it can help prevent gout.
Because not everybody has the same metabolism, its a good idea to try out for yourself what helps you and what doesnt and how much of different foods your body tolerates. Some people feel better after changing their diet, while others successfully lower their uric acid levels with medication and cope just fine without any changes to their diet.
Individual studies also suggest that losing weight can help if you’re very overweight. People with gout should be careful not to go without any food, though fasting can itself trigger a gout attack.
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Is Seafood Safe To Eat If You Have Gout
In this post we will closely examine if seafood like lobster, shrimp, crab, clams, oysters, mussels, scallops are a healthy choice for a gout diet. As always, lets talk a little history beforehand. In the 1800s lobster was known as poor mans food and during that time and before seafood was shunned upon and people were embarrassed to eat it.
Poor families, servants, children and prisoners usually ate seafood due to its high abundance and easy accessibility for those who lived on the eastern coast like the states of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The wealthier people were able to afford healthier meats like cattle and beef but seafood like lobster were seen by the poor as a cheap way to feed hungry mouths, they even had nicknames like Poor Mans Chicken and Scavengers of the Sea.
It is actually a scavenger because it lives on the bottom of the ocean and eats the waste, yes the poop of other animals even the pollutants that man dumps into the ocean, hence why lobster is also nicknamed the Cockroach of the Ocean. By the late 1800s the industry was thriving and seafood hit the mainstream where it was being served at the fanciest restaurants. Today lobster is one of the most expensive items on the menu and the perception is that seafood is high quality and nutritious food!
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 .
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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.
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.
What Can I Do On My Own To Prevent Gout Attacks
Gout is caused by high uric acid levels. If theres too much uric acid in our bodies, it can build up in joints and cause an acute gout attack. Some people manage to keep their levels of uric acid down by eating less meat, fish and seafood and drinking less alcohol.
Uric acid is released when substances called purines are broken down. Purines are mainly produced inside the body, but they are also found in many different types of foods that we eat. Fish, meat and seafood are especially rich in purines. People with gout are sometimes advised to stick to a strict low-purine diet. But its not clear exactly how effective that kind of diet is.
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What If Changing Your Diet Isnt Enough
Some people manage to get their uric acid levels under control by changing their diet. But many people will need to take medication. Most of the uric acid in your body is made inside your body, so changing your diet only has a limited effect. Treatment with medication is considered if the gout attacks are frequent or if you have complications like kidney stones or tophi.
Do I Need To Stop Drinking Alcohol With Gout
Yes, its a good idea to cut out alcohol. Alcohol molecules in your body tend to increase uric acid levels, so drinking can push you over the edge and into a flare-up. If youre newly diagnosed and start taking medication, try cutting out alcohol at first. Your doctor may allow you to add a small amount back into your diet over time as your uric acid levels come down. But even then, its best to avoid beer and liquor and stick to safer choices such as red wine, Dr. Burg says.
All myths aside, the best advice for people with gout is to eat fresh, unprocessed foods. Choose complex carbohydrates over refined carbs from packaged or processed foods. And always drink plenty of water because dehydration is a risk factor for an acute attack.
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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
The Link Between Obesity And Gout
It has been recognized for some time now that being overweight is a major contributor to high uric acid and gout.
Studies have shown that being overweight causes insulin resistance which hampers the kidneys in carrying out their duties. This then reduces uric acid excretion which, in turn, leads to high blood uric acid. Not only that, fat cells themselves contain proteins called leptins which can also affect the kidneys ability to excrete uric acid.
In addition, theres clearly more bodily tissue in an overweight person than in a healthy person, so theres more uric acid being produced during the metabolizing process. When you add this to increased insulin resistance, you can see why being overweight is recognized as a major factor in the onset of gout.
And this is backed up by several studies
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Are Prawns And Shrimps Safe For Gout Sufferers
As always when considering which foods can form part of a safe gout diet, we first have to look at their purine content:
Purines are a natural compound found in the cells of the human body and in the food we eat. Different foods have varying concentrations of purine.
During the bodys metabolic process, purines in our bodies and in the food we consume breakdown and produce uric acid as a byproduct.
High levels of uric acid in the blood a condition called hyperuricemia is the root cause of gout.
- More purines consumed: more uric acid produced and higher gout risk.
- Less purines consumed: less uric acid produced and lower gout risk.
In other words, gout sufferers need to manage their total purine intake from foods, which usually means completely avoiding high purine content foods, although foods with moderate amounts of purines may be consumed sparingly, whilst there is a load of low-purine food that is perfectly safe to eat.
So lets take a look at the purine content of prawns and shrimps
What Is The Evidence That Seafood Is To Be Avoided In A Gout Diet
The 12 year study completed by the American College of Rheumatology which observed 47,000 men over that period had provided these men with a questionnaire to record their daily food intake. Data from the study discovered that men who ate the most meat had 1.41 times the risk of developing gout then those men who ate the least amount of meat.
Likewise, men who ate seafood had a 1.51 times the risk of developing gout compared to those men who ate the least amount of seafood and seafood does increase your uric acid levels. Thats a 51% increased risk my fellow gout sufferer! Each additional weekly serving of seafood led to a 7% increased risk. On a side-note, the same study concluded that vegetables high in purines like peas, beans, cauliflower and spinach did not increase the risk of getting a gout attack. That is spot on, you can eat all the vegetables you like even the ones that are high on the purines scale but we will look at this more closely at a future post.
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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.
Or Dilute Your Favorite Cocktails
Another tip is to make a cocktail with your favorite spirit, such as vodka or rum, and dilute the drink with as much water or non-alcoholic mixer as possible. Create your own spritzer by adding extra club soda, seltzer, and/or lime juice to limit the dehydrating effects of the alcohol. Avoiding alcohol altogether, especially beer, is the best way to avoid a flare of your gout.
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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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What Role Do Purines Play
An estimated 70% of uric acid in the blood is made inside the body. This means that even by following a strict low-purine diet, it will only be possible to lower uric acid levels by 30% at the most. But not all foods are the same: Our bodies absorb purines differently from different foods, so it might not make sense to avoid all foods that contain purines especially if you already eat a balanced diet. There are no high-quality studies on the effectiveness of strict low-purine diets. Besides, they can be quite difficult to stick to.
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Dont Be Scared Of Beans Legumes Vegetables
The most inconsistent recommendations are for beans, legumes and certain vegetables. No source indicated to avoid these food groups. However, many state they are high risk like some seafood.
From this particular purine table, beans, lentils and peanuts have far less purines than the other food groups mentioned previously. Therefore, they are not as high-risk for gout. Keep in mind, cured or dried food, such as beans, will have a higher purine concentration per weight because of shrinkage.
Some sources caution eating asparagus, cauliflower, peas, chickpeas, spinach and broccoli because it contains more purines than most vegetables. However, the purine amounts for asparagus, spinach and broccoli are less than half of pork or beef. Lastly, a recent study concluded purine-rich vegetables are less of a risk than animal based purines.