Living with gout can be challenging and uncomfortable, affecting many aspects of your life.Discover the diets to combat gout and reclaim your quality of life. Take control of your health and manage gout effectively. Studies have shown that dietary choices influence an individual’s risk of developing or exacerbating gout symptoms. While making the right nutritional decisions can be difficult, avoiding certain diets and managing this condition to regain quality of life is essential.
In this blog post, we will discuss why certain foods are especially problematic for people with gout and guide you through helpful diet choices.
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What Is Gout?
Gout is one of the most common types of arthritis experienced today. It develops as a result of a condition called hyperuricemia, where uric acid crystals are abnormally accumulated in the joints. When this occurs, the crystal deposits inflame and irritate the joint tissues, resulting in pain and mobility difficulties.
In normal circumstances, uric acid is recycled through natural bodily processes. However, when levels become too high, excess uric acid crystals build up and form sharply shaped particles that cause intense discomfort.
Symptoms of gout include:
- Joint pain and tenderness
- Swelling around the joint area
- Redness of the skin around the joint
- Restricted movement in the affected area
Your doctor should be able to diagnose gout based on physical examination and lab tests.
Diets To Avoid if You Have Gout
If you or your general practitioner have determined you have gout, the first step to managing and reducing pain is knowing which foods to avoid.
High Purine Foods
Purines are a type of organic compound found in many high-protein foods. Overeating food containing purines can raise uric acid levels, increasing the likelihood of developing gout.
While plant-based foods containing purines are generally considered safe, animal-based protein sources should be limited or avoided. These include organ meats (such as liver and kidneys), seafood, red meat, and poultry. A study showed that individuals who consumed these foods might be at a higher risk of developing gout.
Research has found that a diet high in fructose can contribute to increased uric acid levels and lead to gout flare-ups.
It is important to limit your consumption of products such as soft drinks, sweetened juices, and processed snacks. Since these foods are often high in sugar and low in essential vitamins and minerals, replacing them with healthier alternatives is a great way to decrease your risk of gout flare-ups.
Refined carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, cakes, chips, pretzels, and other processed grains. These foods have been stripped of their fiber, vitamins, and minerals, leaving just the empty calories.
Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index (GI) can quickly raise blood sugar levels, which is correlated with a higher risk of gout. Further, eating too much of these foods can lead to weight gain and obesity, another risk factor for developing or exacerbating gout symptoms.
Examples of carbohydrates with a high GI include:
- White bread
- Refined cereals
- Refined snacks (such as cookies, cake, and chips)
Other carbohydrates have a low GI, such as whole grains and certain fruits and vegetables. These foods are better for long-term health; try including them in your diet if you have gout.
Alcohol consumption should be done in moderation, as overindulging can increase the likelihood of gout flare-ups. Uric acid is formed when a part of alcohol, known as purines, is broken down in the body. When there is too much uric acid buildup over time, this can cause the condition hyperuricemia and increase your chances of developing gout symptoms.
Individuals who have a history of gout should be especially careful when drinking alcohol, as this can further aggravate the condition.
Foods To Eat if You Have Gout
Fortunately, some foods can help in managing symptoms of gout. These include:
- Milk: Milk contains lactose, a sugar that helps reduce uric acid levels in the blood. Yogurt, cottage cheese, and other dairy products may also help.
- Fruits: Fruits are rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and pain associated with gout. Apples, oranges, cherries, grapes, and blueberries are all good sources of antioxidants.
- Vegetables: Certain vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and kale are all brimming with vital vitamins and minerals that can effectively reduce gout flare-ups.
- Fish: Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel can provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Eggs: Eggs contain protein and other essential nutrients, making them a healthy choice for those with gout.
- Whole grains: Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, and quinoa contain B vitamins which can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Everyone is affected differently by gout, and everyone’s dietary limitations can vary. While it may take some time to find what works best for you, avoiding high-purine foods, foods with excess fructose, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol should help you manage your symptoms better by reducing flare-ups.
It’s also important to have a comprehensive plan that involves diet modifications as well as prescription treatments if necessary. If you are seeking gout treatment in Las Vegas, contact us today to schedule a consultation. Our team can help you customize a treatment plan that can help reduce your gout symptoms and assist you in achieving an overall healthier lifestyle.