Preventing Gout Is All about Diet

Labor Day, one of America’s favorite holidays for setting up the grill and enjoying a nice cook out (or cook-in), came and went last week. For the 9 million or so (and rising) Americans who suffer periodically from gout attacks, the temptation to enjoy a little too much of some traditional summer foods might have contributed to an unpleasant flare-up later on. We hope you aren’t one of them!

When it comes to preventing such attacks, proper diet for gout is crucial. The characteristic pain of this condition is caused by deposits of uric acid crystals building up in the joints, especially the big toe. Uric acid is a digestive byproduct of purines, which are found in many foods. Too many purines, then, can precipitate a painful attack.

 Build up of uric acid crystals in big toe joint

Your major offenders in this category tend to include meats and high-purine seafood, particularly game meats, organ meets (liver, kidneys, etc.) and fish like herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines. Simple carbohydrates such as sweets, sugar drinks, white bread, and anything flavored with high-fructose corn syrup are also problematic, as is beer (along with most alcoholic drinks, though the occasional glass of wine is fine).

A healthy diet for gout is built primarily on “safe” foods that are very low in purines. Generally this includes most green vegetables and tomatoes, fruits, nuts, peanut butter, and low-fat dairy. Choose breads and cereals only if they are made from whole grain. Drink lots of water, and opt for coffee or tea if you need a hot beverage or caffeine kick.

Middle-purine foods, like lean meats (or low-purine fish or poultry) can be eaten in moderation, but try to limit yourself to about 6 oz per day at maximum. Yogurt and low-fat dairy should be your go-to food groups if you need additional protein, though beans and lentils (also somewhat high in purines) can be enjoyed in moderation as well.

If you suffer from gout attacks, whether regularly or occasionally, you know how painful they can be. Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute can help you with medications, nutritional coaching, and other treatments and tips to help you address the pain and reduce your risk of future flare-ups. To set an appointment, contact us online or dial (512) 593-2949.

Posted on September 15, 2015 and filed under General.