Aching joints and loss of mobility are features of most types of arthritis, but gout in particular is known for causing a sudden onset of excruciating pain. Once known as “the disease of kings”, instances of gout appear to be rising in the US and other high income countries. If you’ve already experienced gout or you’re concerned about developing the condition, lifestyle modifications and a gout diet plan can prevent attacks.
What causes gout?
The underlying cause of gout is an excess of uric acid. A normal body waste product, uric acid is usually filtered out by the kidneys. But too much uric acid in the bloodstream may lead to urate crystals forming in and around joints, which causes a painful gout attack.
Gout is most common in the joint where the big toe meets the foot, but also frequently occurs in the ankles, knees, and elbows. Aside from being extremely painful, joints affected by gout usually appear red and swollen. Eating certain types of food can contribute to higher levels of uric acid, but it’s a common misconception that diet alone is responsible for the condition.
Who does gout typically affect?
Many things, including genetics, play a factor in determining who has gout. The following conditions are linked to increased chances of developing gout:
Healthy kidneys work to remove uric acid from the blood, but kidney disease can compromise this function.
Being overweight or obese tends to slow the kidneys’ process of filtering uric acid from the bloodstream.
High blood pressure
Both high blood pressure and the diuretic pills some people take to control the condition are linked to gout. If you have high blood pressure and a history of gout attacks, your doctor will likely prescribe you something other than diuretics.
Men are much more likely to develop gout, but instances among women are more common after menopause.
Gout Diet Plan: Foods to Avoid
- Foods that contain purine compounds (particularly meat and seafood) are converted to uric acid by your body, which can increase instances of gout.
- Organ meats like liver, kidney and tripe tend to be very high in purines.
- Seafood including sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel and anchovies contain a moderate to high amount of purines.
People with higher alcohol intakes are at a greater risk of developing gout, and this is particularly true for beer drinkers. Switching to red wine and keeping your alcohol intake light to moderate should help to limit gout flares.
3. Sweetened Drinks
Drinks like soda and juice that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup can promote uric acid production.
Best Foods for Gout Diet Plan
People who eat more dairy, especially low-fat products, tend to have lower levels of uric acid.
2. Vitamin C
Higher vitamin C intakes may protect against gout. Eating more foods like broccoli, bell pepper, orange and kale is an easy way to up your daily dose of vitamin C.
Studies have found that daily intake of cherries or cherry extract is associated with a reduced instance of gout attacks.
Drinking more water appears to decrease instance of gout flares. One study where participants recorded water consumption and gout symptoms found that drinking more than 8 glasses a day reduced the likelihood of gout attack by 48%.
Feel free to have an Americano between your 8 glasses of water. Everyone’s favorite caffeine fix is also associated with lower risks of developing gout.
Even though some vegetables are high in purines, they don’t appear to have the same effect as animal sources of purines. Replacing foods like processed carbohydrates with vegetables is a good way to promote healthy weight loss, which can help to lower uric acid levels.
Other Ways to Prevent Gout Attacks
Since being overweight or obese is a risk factor for higher levels of uric acid in the blood, eating healthy and exercising are some of the best ways to reduce gout symptoms.
- Strenuous physical activity can actually trigger a gout flare. Work gradually and remember to stay hydrated when you’re starting a new exercise regimen.
- Weight training supports your joints by preventing bone loss and building strength in your muscles. Aim to slowly increase weight over time, and take care not to hyperextend your joints.
- Injury can cause a gout attack, so choose exercises that aren’t likely to stress the areas where you typically experience gout. People who get gout in their feet may choose swimming over running, while a gout-prone elbow may be better suited to cycling instead of playing tennis.
- Rest your joints during a gout flare. Exercise or stress will increase pain and healing time, and has no effect on breaking up uric acid crystals in joints.
- Try stretching and range of motion exercises to reduce stiffness and improve joint flexibility.
- Aim for healthy, gradual weight loss to help improve your gout symptoms. Crash dieting can lead to dehydration, a potential gout trigger. If you’re interested in trying a fasting diet, proceed gradually and drink plenty of water during fast periods.
Save on Gout Medication
Limiting your intake of triggering foods and taking steps towards healthy weight loss can reduce the frequency and severity of gout attacks. But most people with the condition still rely on some kind of prescription medication. With lower prices on drugs like Colcrys and Uloric, RxConnected.com is your source for affordable gout relief. Click here to search for your medications, and place an order online at your convenience.
DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.