Diet & Gout
Gout is a type of arthritis that results from uric acid crystals in the connective tissue or joint spaces between the two bones. It tends to affect men more than women and can be pretty debilitating. The use of a low purine diet has been found to reduce gout flares and new research continues to support this. Plant-based foods high in purines, such as spinach, lentils and nuts do not seem to induce a gout flair like animal-based foods high in purines. Limiting foods that increase inflammation may also be beneficial. Below are some tips on what to eat (or avoid) to prevent gout.
- Fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, which have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Go for berries of all kinds, bananas, cherries and other fruits. Load up on asparagus, broccoli and bell peppers. Use light of low fat dressing on salads and do not drown vegetables in butter or margarine.
- Fatty fish at least twice per week. Though some fish is high in purines, fatty fish contain omega-3-fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. Choose salmon, tuna and mackerel and grill, bake, broil or stir fry.
- 3 servings of low fat dairy products/day. Calcium in dairy foods helps rid the body of uric acid. Choose skim or 1% milk, fat free or low fat yogurt when available. Limit full fat cheeses (cheddar, Colby, Provolone, Swiss, etc) due to saturated fat content.
- Whole grain breads and cereals. These are higher in fiber, which has been associated with weight loss. Losing weight can prevent and improve gout. Chose whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, oatmeal, etc.
- Nuts. Nuts are high in mono and polyunsaturated fat, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts also lower LDL (“lousy” cholesterol). Eat 1 Tbsp. 3-4 times per week in place of chips or other snacks.
- Organ meats. In addition to being very high in cholesterol and saturated fat, liver, kidney, and other organ meats are high in purines, which have been found to precipitate a gout flair when consumed over a 2-day period, a recent study suggests.
- Beer. Yeast and alcohol in beer raise levels of uric acid in the blood and can precipitate a gout attack. Limit alcohol to 1 drink/day if possible. Obviously avoid alcohol during a gout attack or if you have a history of alcohol abuse.
- Seafood. Shrimp, lobster, crab and other seafood are higher in purines and more likely to cause a gout attack than fish.
- Red meat. Red meat also contains more purines than poultry or fish and should be limited to 1-2 servings/week in those with gout. In addition, beef is higher in saturated fat and iron, which increase the risk for colon cancer and heart disease. Skip that burger!
- Fried and fast food. These are high in trans fat, which is highly inflammatory. Use non-stick cooking spray when cooking and limit use of margarine, butter and vegetable oil. Choose ligh tub margarine over stick margarine.