Gout is not a disease.
It develops in some people who have high levels of uric acid in blood, for various reasons. Uric acid normally dissolves in the blood and gets excreted by the kidneys. If the body makes extra uric acid and when the kidneys cannot excrete enough, then the uric acid accumulates in the blood. This build-up slowly for several years and accumulates in the joints, bones and soft tissues that causes pain.
Purines are naturally formed in the body and found also in certain foods that we consume. Some foods have high levels of purines and some have moderate to low levels of purines. Excess uric acid is produced with increased intake of purine rich foods. Meat, seafood and beer are high in purines. Purine breaks down to uric acid, a waste product, when digested. Also, high consumption of fructose, a type of sugar, will lead to increased amount of uric acid levels in the blood and increases the insulin resistance, as well!
The amount of uric acid in the body depends on the balance between dietary intakes, its synthesis in the body and the rate of its excretion. So, a simple change to the type of foods consumed, can reduce the frequency and severity of the gout. The gout diet approach is focused parallely on limiting the body’s production of uric acid and increasing the elimination of the same.
Fasting will influence gout attack. Fasting causes dehydration, that raises uric acid levels in the blood, for there will not be sufficient amount of water in the body to flush out the uric acid through kidneys.
Animal proteins are rich in purine. Limit the high-purine foods, like organ meats, herring, anchovies, mackerel, fatty fish like – tuna, shrimp, lobster, scallops, and red meat like-pork, beef, lamb that are associated with increased production of uric acid, resulting in gout. Eggs are recommended, for it is low in purine. If your cholesterol level is higher, it is obvious that the eggs consumption should also be limited to 3-4 per week!
Over weight/obesity are highly linked to gout. Limit the saturated fat and high sugar foods. Sugary foods are high in calories that lead to overweight and gout. Saturated fats tend to lower the body’s ability to eliminate the uric acid! Choose low-fat milk and yogurt, for they are low in purine and help reduce the uric acid formation.
You can consume quinoa, barley, pasta, potatoes, refined-starchy foods like – rice, enriched-white- bread, for they are low in purine. At the same time should keep in mind that refined foods are high in calories, too! So, it is wise to have them along with fibrous vegetables to keep you full for a longer time. Whole grains are healthier than refined. But should be consumed occasionally for they contain moderate amounts of purine!
Vitamin C and dairy products help lower the uric acid levels. Enjoy fresh whole fruits & salads and Vegetable soup for snack time. Cherries are found to be good in reducing the uric acid level in blood. In addition flavonoids rich berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, pineapple, lemon & limes, help reduce the symptoms of gout. Raspberries help treating the gout pain! Strawberry-yogurt-smoothie, sounds great for a mid morning snack!
You can enjoy 3 servings of vegetables (raw and cooked), every day. Kailan, lettuce, radish, carrots, tomatoes, beetroot are low in purine levels . Avoid eating, vegetables like asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, more than twice a week, for they are high in purine. Cucumber-tomato-pineapple salad looks colorful and healthier for dinner.
Enjoy two tablespoons of nuts and seeds every day. Walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds and cashews are low in purine.
Avoid consuming beverages and drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Fructose increases the uric acid in the body. High fructose corn syrup can be found in unexpected foods like bread, yogurt, cereals and bars, sauces, and jams. So, read the food label before purchasing.
Alcohol interferes with the elimination of the uric acid. Beer, particulary is linked with high serum uric acid.
Keep hydrated, always. Drink plenty of water. Aim for 8-10 glasses of water everyday. Water helps to flush the uric acid from the body.
Having a balanced diet with a limitation of purine rich foods intake, help alleviate the gout symptoms and also prevent future attacks. Crash diet and rapid weight loss will actually trigger the uric acid formation and increase the risk of gout! If overweight, a gradual weight loss with healthy eating habits and regular physical activity will help maintain the weight and prevent the gout attack.
Strawberry yogurt smoothie
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup plain water
1 cup strawberries
Whirl up berries with yogurt for a creamy, refreshing snack!
1 cup cucumber
1 cup pineapple
1 cup tomato
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
1 tablespoon chopped mint
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix the cucumber-tomato-pineapple and dress them with a light & flavorful, mixed coriander-mint-lemon juice-pepper salad dressing.