Gout is a painful medical condition in which the joints are inflammed due to deposition of uric acid in the joints as well as the surrounding tissues and tendons. The uric acid levels may increase in the body due to its excess production, excess consumption or less excretion. The recent years have seen an increase in the number of gout cases.
The Close Link Between Gout & Your Diet
Did you know poor dietary habits account for a major percentage of gout cases Dietary reasons which cause gout include excess consumption of meat, seafood, alcoholic beverages and fructose drinks.
You must be wondering what causes gout if we heavily consume the aforementioned foods and beverages in our diets? Well, as aforementioned, gout occurs when there is a dense depositon of uric acid on area near our joints. This excess uric acid is produced in our body because of the chemicals called purines. Purines are inherently found in all body's cells and in most of the foods that we consume in our daily lives. They're necessary chemcials and are a part of the chemical structure of our genes. When we consume foods very high in purine like organ meat, purine content in our body increases. Also, purines metabolize or break down into uric acid. If their content is high, more uric acid is produced leading to gout.
As we've seen, a diet high in purine causes gout. So, it means that a control on diet can go a long way in the prevention and maintenance of gout. Let us take a look at the foods that can be consumed and foods that should be avoided when you are suffering from gout.
The diet for gout is aimed at reducing the intake of purines. The food items that are low in purines (0-50mg/ 100g) are Eggs, nuts and peanut butter, low-fat and fat-free cheeses and ice cream, breads and cereals (low fiber, white flour, or refined grain), pasta and macaroni, rice, soda, coffee and tea, gelatin, skim milk, cream-style soups made with low-fat milk, soups made without meat extract or broth, fruits and juices, cake and cookies, fats and oils in small amounts, sugar, syrup (without fructose), and other sweets in small amounts. These items can be consumed without raising any health-alarms.
Apart from these you can also eat pineapple, carrots, potato (cooked with skin), lettuce, onion, radishes, apple, pear, rhubarb, tomato, cottage cheese, yogurt, cucumber, brie and edam cheese and cherries.
Foods You can Eat in Moderation
There are some food items that have moderate amounts of purines (50-150mg/ 100g). They can be consumed to an extent, but consult a dietician for your specific case. These include small portions of meal, poultry and fishes like beef, lamb, pork, veal, eel, crab, shrimps, rabbit, venison, pheasant, chicken, turkey, trout and whitebait. Dried beans, legumes, soya, peas, lentils, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, cauliflower, green peas, oats and oatmeal, wheat germ and bran, whole grain breads and cereals can also be consumed within limits.
Foods You Must Avoid
The foods mentioned below have a very high purine content (150-1,000mg/ 100g). Hence, these should be abstained from, at all costs. These include anchovies, roe (fish eggs), fish such as herring and mackerel, sardines, scallops and mussels, game meats like goose, duck, and partridge, organ meats like brains, heart, kidney, liver, sweetbreads, meat extracts like oxo, broth, bouillon and consommé, gravy, baker’s and brewer’s yeast supplements and yeast extract like marmite.
Alcohol, especially beer and spirits, should not be consumed because they not only accelerate the uric acid build-up, but also prevent its removal through kidney.
Drink plenty of water and liquids (3-4 litres) as it helps to flush out excess purines from the system.
Limit the intake of fats in all forms. Do not eat deep-fried foods and high-calorie desserts.
Maintain your weight. The extra weight puts pressure on the weight-bearing joints of the body like hips, knees, ankles and feet. If you are overweight, a balanced diet and regular exercise for gradual decrease in weight is the best option. Do not go on crash diets or low-carb diets as they trigger uric acid production and gout-pain. Please consult a doctor before making any changes in your diet.
If you follow the dietary regulations religiously, you will notice a marked decrease in the severity of pain and sudden flare-ups. A balanced diet helps to not only maintain the purine levels in the blood but also to decrease it. Also, since it is a healthy diet with not severe restrictions, there are no side effects.
Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: September 16, 2012