Gout is an inflammatory arthritis disease that is caused due to excessive deposition of uric acid in our body. Gout causes sudden attacks of pain, especially during the night. This is especially caused due to the metabolism of purines which produces uric acid as a byproduct. Purine is present within our body cells as well as in some foods. The excess uric acid produced is generally excreted out, but in individuals that cannot excrete the uric acid or have high purine-containing diet, generally suffers from gout. The excess uric acid crystallizes within the body and deposited within joints, feet, tendons and the tissues around them which causes extreme pain.
Gout and Diet – What’s the interconnection?
Animal products like organ meat, seafood, alcohol cause a hike in blood uric acid level and should be avoided in case of patients with gout. But purine containing vegetables and fruits doesn’t cause this and hence are useful because they contain many essential nutrients. Other food items that are found to be extremely beneficial and healthy for gout are milk products which are low in fat content such as cottage cheese, home-made yogurt, etc, lean meats and eggs, whole grains, etc. But above everything else, the most important inclusion in the diet in case of gout should be plenty of water and Vitamin C intake.
1. Weight Loss
Losing excess weight helps in decreasing the weight on joints and feet. Studies have shown that weight loss even without purine restriction decreases gout attacks and vice versa.
2. Complex carbohydrates
Fruits and vegetables and whole grains contain complex carbohydrates that reduce weight gain and increased the metabolism of purines thereby less uric acid excretion.
Drinking adequate amount of water helps in flushing out excess uric acid through urine.
4. Less Fatty foods
Fats especially saturated ones from red meat, fatty poultry, and high-fat dairy products increase gout symptoms.
Healthy proteins like lean meat, poultry, and low-fat dairy products, lentils are good for health.
What’s Allowed, What’s Not in Gout Diet
Allowed in Gout Diet
1. Drink lots of water, at least 4 liters of it.
2. Coffee is a very healthy beverage.
3. Tart cherries or cherry juice are rich in anthocyanin which has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been found to reduce gout symptoms.
4. Vegetable proteins like beans, tofu, lentils and all green leafy vegetables like spinach and asparagus are to be consumed.
5. Studies have shown that taking Vitamin C at a daily dose of 500 mg reduces gout. Fruits like grapefruit, pineapples, strawberries, oranges are rich in Vitamin C, nutrients and are low in fructose and hence helpful.
6. Milk and low-fat dairy products like yogurt, skimmed milk, cottage cheese help to keep the body hydrated and helps excretion of uric acid and hence decreases gout.
7. Vegetable oils like olive, canola, coconut, sunflower and flax oil are healthy.
8. Nuts; legumes like beans, soya beans; and whole grains like oats, barley, brown rice, and eggs are to be eaten.
9. Green tea is rich in antioxidant and also reduces gout.
Not Allowed in Gout Diet
1. Drinking alcohol like beer and liquors is to be strictly avoided. Wine in moderation can be allowed. The body’s requirement to excrete alcohol exceeds that of uric acid, hence regular alcohol consumption leads to the accumulation of uric acid enhancing gout.
2. Sugary foods like desserts, cakes, agave nectar, corn syrup, sugar-containing cereals, candies, and cookies, etc are to be avoided.
3. Artificial beverages like sodas, colas, soft drinks contain high fructose value. Fructose breaks down in our body to release purine. Fructose is also found naturally in honey and certain high sugar fruits. Also, fruit juices contain high fructose. All these should be avoided to prevent gout.
4. Organ meats like liver, sweetbreads, tongue, etc are to be avoided. Also, red meat like beef, venison, pheasant and goat are all high in purine and shouldn’t be consumed.
5. Seafood like shrimp, squid, lobsters, scallops, crab, roe, oysters and mussels and certain sea fishes like tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, haddock, anchovies, and trout are high in uric acid. But the benefits of salmon and tuna fishes for the heart allow them to be consumed in moderation.
6. Yeasts like brewer’s yeast, nutritional ones, and other yeast supplements are also harmful to gout patients. Hence, yeast containing foods like pizza, white bread and buns are to be avoided.
Sample Gout Diet
Following are a menu for a simple gout diet.
1. A glass of orange juice.
2. Half cup quinoa or other cereal with Greek yogurt or skimmed milk.
3. Whole grain sugar-free cereals with skimmed milk.
4. White toast and jelly with 1 teaspoon of margarine.
6. Berries and fruits like a melon as a snack.
1. Roasted or baked potato with one teaspoon of margarine.
2.A vegetable salad with walnut and low-fat salad dressing like balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
3. Roasted salmon or trout.
4. Steamed or roasted green beans.
5. A bowl of assorted fruits.
6. A glass of 2 percent milk.
7. Low-fat yogurt.
1. Braised/ roasted or oven baked chicken breast without skin.
2. Whole grain pasta with bell peppers, olive oil, and one egg.
3. Half a cup of brown rice.
4. Half a cup of broccoli or other assorted veggies like asparagus, celery, zucchini, etc.
5. Herbal green tea.
Drinking loads of water and moderate exercise, regular health checkups in addition to all these are to be followed alongside. Abstaining from alcohol and taking Vitamin C supplements with a doctor’s prescription is also recommended.
All these will help to prevent the demonic pain of gout diseases and help the patients to live a healthy life.