Whenever the topic of gout and food comes up, all you hear about are the foods you should stay away from. But what about the foods you should be eating? What kinds of foods can protect you from the ravages of gout?
Good Foods to Eat
Many foods can be very good to eat when you have gout. Several fruits, vegetables, and spices have anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce the pain associated with gout.
Eating fatty acids also soothes inflamed joints. While seafood can cause flare-ups of gout, the fatty acid omega 3, found in fatty fish, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Supplements are now widely available, and you may want to include one in your diet. Walnuts are also high in omega 3s while being low in purines, and should definitely be a part of a healthy gout diet.
Other foods contain compounds that help your body clear uric acid. Dark fruits and berries such as cherries, blueberries, and strawberries all contain chemical compounds that help the body rid itself of excess uric acid. Somewhat surprisingly, not all foods high in purine exacerbate gout or bring on acute attacks. In fact, they may help alleviate symptoms and protect against further attacks. These high-purine foods that you should be eating include peas, beans, spinach, cauliflower, asparagus, and mushrooms.
Foods to Avoid
Eating a diet high in red meat and seafood (both fish and shellfish) drastically increases your risk of developing gout. If you already have gout, these foods can trigger an acute attack. Eat them sparingly. Save them for special occasions and watch your portion size. Drinking alcohol can cause a sharp increase in uric acid. Be careful, and always drink in moderation.
How to Plan Your Diet
It can be difficult to plan a new diet around gout. But some basic rules of thumb will get you started on the right path. Whole grains should form the bulk of your caloric intake. Go with whole grain or multigrain bread and pasta, and switch white rice to brown. Fresh fruits and vegetables are important for everyone, including people with gout. They provide you with many of the essential nutrients your body needs to function properly.
When your body is healthier, problems with gout become more manageable. The protein in a gout diet should, ideally, come from sources other than meat. Tofu is a great alternative. Low fat dairy should also be a staple. Dairy is a good source of protein, while studies have shown it to have powerful gout-reducing benefits. In fact, eating plenty of dairy can cut your risk of developing gout in half. Finally, get most of your fat from non-animal sources. Olive oil is very healthy as a salad dressing or seasoning and is also fine for cooking.
Why You Should Take Gout Seriously
Making these changes can be hard, especially if you really enjoy your steak or tuna. But they are necessary. Many people have long periods of remission in between gout attacks. It's easy to forget or get lax about your diet. But untreated gout can cause permanent deformities in the joints. It can also cause kidney stones, and gout can also damage or destroy the kidneys. Take your gout seriously, and stick with your diet.