Gout Diet: Eating Well with Gout
Gout or “gouty arthritis” is a very painful form of inflammatory arthritis. 5 percent of arthritis cases are due to gout. The symptoms are sudden very bad redness, heat to the area, severe pain, and swelling. It commonly occurs first in the large toe and spreads to other joints.
Gout is caused by a few different factors; the most prominent three are genetics, diet and lifestyle choices. If you have a parent with gout chances are you are predisposed to it. Eating a diet high in purines or if you are overweight or drink excessive alcohol can put you at risk for gout. When you eat excess purines, uric acid crystals form in the blood and are deposited in the joints, soft tissues and tendons. Some uric acid is normal, but people with gout have a hard time breaking it down. Here are some of the causes of too much uric acid:
- Too much natural uric acid produced by our own bodies
- The inability of our kidneys to break down excess uric acid
- Excessive intake of high purine foods
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) there are four stages of gout. The stages are as follows:
- Asymptomatic gout – This is when uric acid begins to elevate in the blood and there may be little or no symptoms at this stage. Usually, people do not require any treatment at this time.
- Acute Stage – The uric acid is high enough at this stage that it begins to form crystals and deposit them in the joints. The symptoms of pain become very intense, the affected areas become extremely inflamed, red and swollen. These early attacks get better with or without treatment in 3-10 days.
- Intermediate gout – This is the time in between attacks and sufferers have little or no symptoms and have complete use of the joints.
- Chronic gout – This is the stage of gout where disabilities occur. Joints are now beginning to suffer permanent damage. At this stage, the kidneys may even be affected.
Gout Treatment Options
When symptoms of gout appear, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible. If proper treatment is not obtained the symptoms of gout will progress quickly to the chronic stage of gout and permanent damage will occur. There are medication and lifestyle changes that will help control the disease. Those diagnosed with gout should:
- Eat only minimal amounts of high purine foods
- Keep weight at a healthy level or lose weight (No Crash Diets)
- Take in plenty of fluids, especially water
- Keep alcohol use to a minimum or none at all. Avoid beer as it is high in purines.
Gout Food Guidelines
It is important to know what you should eat with gout, as well as, what not to eat with gout. The American Medical Association has the following dietary recommendations for gout sufferers:
- Eat a diet that is high in complex carbohydrates (High fiber whole grains, vegetables and fruits)
- Eat a diet that is low in protein (15% of your calories should come from lean meats, poultry and soy products)
- Keep your intake of fat to no more than 30% of your daily calories, 10% from animal fats
Gout Recommended Foods
- Plenty of fresh fruits to include: cherries, blueberries and strawberries
- Vegetables to include: Celery, Kale, Cabbage, Parsley and green-leafy vegetables and tomatoes
- Pineapple is especially good as it is high in bromelain (a natural anti-inflammatory)
- Vitamin C containing foods (oranges, citrus, bell peppers, red cabbage and potatoes)
- Complex Carbohydrates (breads, cereal, rice and pasta)
- Soy Protein (Tofu, soy alternative meat products, soy burgers)
- Get a good amount of essential fatty acids (Salmon, nuts, flaxseed, tuna, seeds)
- Plenty of fruit juices, purified water, carbonated beverages, coffee and tea
- Cocoa products and chocolate
- Dairy products, make sure they are low-fat
Foods that can be enjoyed in moderation due to higher purine content are:
- Poultry (chicken and turkey)
- Kidney and Lima beans
- Whole grain breads and cereals
These foods are higher in purine because they are higher in protein. People need some purine in their
Diet so purine should never be completely eliminated.
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