Diet Can Help Manage Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by too much uric acid in the body.  An attack of gout can be extremely painful and causes sudden stiffness, warmth and swelling within a joint.  Much of this pain is caused by crystals that can form in the joints when uric acid levels get high.  If left untreated, crystals can form in other parts of the body, like the ears and kidneys (i.e. kidney stones).  Therefore, it is important to see a doctor even if the acute flair up goes away.

Nutrition can play an important role in treating and preventing gout attacks.  The following are some tips to help you manage your gout:

  • Drink plenty of fluids because they remove uric acid from the body.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages as they can raise the levels of uric acid in your blood.
  • Achieve a healthy body weight through a combination of diet and exercise.  Being overweight puts people at greater risk of developing gout.
  • Include some carbohydrates in your diet.  Being on a very low carbohydrate diet produces ketones in your bloodstream which can increase uric acid levels. 
  • Include low-fat dairy products in your diet to help prevent gout.
  • Vitamin C may also be able to help prevent and treat gout.  So, include foods that are a good source of this nutrient (i.e. citrus fruits, tomatoes, red peppers) and consider a vitamin C supplement.  
  • Avoid foods that are high in purines.

High-Purine Foods

  • anchovies
  • asparagus
  • beef kidneys
  • brains
  • dried beans and peas
  • game meats
  • gravy
  • herring
  • liver
  • mackerel
  • mushrooms
  • sardines
  • scallops
  • sweetbreads