Gout is a form of arthritis that can be very painful. It is caused by the accumulation of crystallized uric acid in and around a joint. Uric acid is formed when the body breaks down purine – a chemical that is found in certain foods and naturally in the body. This acid is normally excreted in the form of urine but when it is produced in excessive amounts, it converts into crystals. Paying attention to your diet can help lower the levels of uric acid in the body and manage the pain.
Foods to eat
Patients suffering from gout should eat low-purine foods or foods that contain less than 100mg of purines per 100grams. This includes:
Fruits are usually safe to eat for patients suffering from gout. Among all fruits, cherries are especially good as they lower uric acid levels and inflammation.
All vegetables including potatoes, mushrooms, peas, eggplants, and green leafy vegetables have low purine levels.
- Legumes including beans, lentils, tofu and soybeans
- All types of nuts and seeds.
- Whole grains such as brown rice, oats, and barley
- Low-fat dairy products
- Beverages such as tea, coffee, and green tea.
- Herbs and spices
- Plant-based oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, and flax oil.
You should follow a diet that helps you lose weight. Losing excess weight can reduce the intensity and frequency of gout attacks. This is because fat increases the risk of insulin resistance. This increases the concentration of sugar in the blood and promotes high levels of uric acid. That said, crash diets are not advisable as rapid weight loss can also increase the chances of a gout attack.
You should also drink plenty of water as staying hydrated helps the body remove excess uric acid by flushing it out in the form of urine.
Foods that can be eaten in moderation
Apart from game meat, organ meat and certain types of fish and seafood, most meats can be eaten in moderation. This includes chicken, lamb, pork, beef, and fresh and canned salmon. Ideally, you should eat no more than 115-170 grams of meat a few times a week. These foods contain a moderate amount of purine and eating too much of them may trigger a gout attack.
Foods to avoid
If you have frequent attacks of gout, you must avoid foods with a high purine level. This includes foods that have more than 150-200mg of purine per 100grams. These are:
- All types of organ meats such as kidneys, liver, brain, and sweetbreads
- Game meats such as veal, pheasant, and venison
- Fish such as trout, herring, tuna, mackerel, sardines, haddock and anchovies
- Other types of seafood such as scallops, shrimp, crab and roe
- Sweetened beverages such as packaged fruit juices and flavored sodas
- Processed foods with added sugars such as honey, high-fructose corn syrup, and agave nectar
- Food with yeast or yeast supplements
- Refined carbohydrates such as cakes, white bread, and cookies
- Alcohol including beer and wines