A gout is a form of arthritis that mainly affects the joints in the feet, mostly the big toe. It could also affect other joints in the body. It is an acutely painful condition, and causes sharp stinging and burning sensations, in the affected area.
What causes gout?
Body metabolism produces many waste products, among them is uric acid. It is usually flushed out of your body through urine. However, when the level of uric acid rises, it becomes difficult for the body to flush it out.
Excess uric acid can lead to the formation of urate crystals, which can accumulate in the joints and cause inflammation.
Gout and Purines
Purines are chemical compounds that are present in the body, as well as in most foods. They are building blocks for DNA, and also perform many vital functions in the body. However, when purines are broken down, they produce uric acid. So, most traditional anti-gout diets focus on low-purine or no purine foods. If you have gout, you should eliminate or limit many foods that contain high levels of purine. Recent research has shown that not all purine-rich foods need to be avoided. Many vegetables high in purine can help reduce gout attacks. This is because these foods contain other beneficial nutrients that offset the effect, reduce the formation of urate crystals, and help reduce inflammation.
When you’re creating plans for an anti-gout diet, you have to focus on—foods to avoid and the foods to include. Besides this, you should also focus on other factors like keeping your weight under control and keeping your body hydrated.
- Watch your weight
Being overweight causes many problems. It can increase fluid retention, increased uric acid levels and increased chances of gout attacks.
Excess weight also puts stress on your joints, increasing joint pain. Reduction in weight also results in reduced levels of uric acid in the body.
- Drink a lot of water
Water keeps the body hydrated and helps to flush out toxins. A study conducted in 2009 showed that each glass of water consumed on the previous day, resulted in decreased levels of risk for a gout attack the next day. You can consult with your doctor on the ideal amount of water you should drink each day. It depends on many factors like your medical condition and how physically active you are.
- Increase complex carb levels in your diet
Avoid sugary foods like cakes and candies. Eat foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are rich in starch and fiber. Fiber-rich foods aid in digestion, clearing out waste and toxins from the system.
- Reduce alcohol consumption
Alcohol is one of the worst foods for a person with gout. Consuming more than two drinks a day can trigger gout attacks according to certain studies.
This is because alcohol interferes with the pH balance in the blood, and causes uric acid to crystallize.
- Meats and dairy products to avoid
Reduce organ meats, beef and pork, shellfish, and fatty fish like tuna and sardines from your diet. All these have high levels of purines, which increase uric acid levels in the body. You should also cut back on sugary foods and high-fat dairy products.
- Fruits and vegetables
Vegetables, even those with high purine content, can be included in an anti-gout diet. Studies have shown that the beneficial nutrients in vegetables like—spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, peas, and mushrooms counter the effects of the purine. Recent research studies on animals suggest that fruits and vegetables might be beneficial in other ways too. They can encourage gut microorganisms to produce more Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) which can help control inflammation.
- Cherries and berries
Dark berries and cherries contain an anti-inflammatory plant pigment, which reduces joint swelling. Many studies have shown the benefit of including cherries in an anti-gout diet. A study presented at the European League Against Rheumatism in 2010, revealed that consumption of a tablespoon of cherry juice concentrate twice daily, for at least four months showed positive results. Those who followed this regime experienced more than a 50% reduction in gout attacks.
Do you love your morning cup of joe? Research studies have found that coffee consumption can reduce the frequency of gout attacks.
Consult with your doctor to find if this will work for you. Some medical conditions might make it necessary to avoid coffee.
Anti-gout foods can be appetizing
If you are concerned that you might end up eating tasteless food, don’t worry. There are many suggested menus and delicious recipes for anti-gout food on the web. Do your research, and you can find recipes for chicken, duck and other meats, that will not have an adverse impact on your condition. You can also find interesting and scrumptious vegetarian recipes, for instance—spicy curried vegetables and delicious spaghetti. Spices have very low purine content, so you can add them to your dishes without the fear of sparking a gout attack. Spaghetti and soybeans are good choices to have a filling meal without meat.
You can create a good anti-gout diet for yourself without compromising taste and flavor. Just take time to do a little research on the Internet. Cook up some interesting meals that you never thought of before, and stay free of pain and discomfort.