The Proper Gout Diet
Gout is caused by inflammation of the joints due to high uric acid levels in the body. It causes severe joint pain and possibly severe disability during the initial flare up. When a gout attack occurs, the body produces too much uric acid, and this leads to uric acid crystal formation in the joints and soft tissue. Attacks can be very painful and reduce your activity levels dramatically.
Using a gout diet can help reduce uric acid levels in the body and reduce pain. It can also help keep your weight under control during periods of inactivity. Here are some helpful tips for dealing with a gout attack:
- Joint Rest – During a gout attack, rest the affected joints as much as possible, until the pain begins to get better, and at least for a full 24 hours after the pain subsides.
- Elevate – Keep the affected joints elevated above the heart as much as possible during the attack.
- NSAIDS – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve the initial pain and inflammation. Avoid aspirin as that can make the symptoms worse.
- Increase Fluids – Drink plenty of fluids to help reduce and flush out uric acid in the body.
To help reduce uric acid levels and relieve symptoms, try to remove offending things from your diet that can raise uric acid levels. Even after the initial attack subsides, you may still need to limit these foods to prevent it from coming back. Here is a list of diet tips for gout:
- Eat smaller amounts of fish, meat and poultry. Proteins that come from animals contain high levels of purines. Organ meats are the highest, but all meats have purines. Try to only eat 4 to 6 ounces of meat a day.
- Eat a low-fat diet. When you eat too many saturated fats, your body cannot flush uric acid from your body. Shoot for plant proteins like beans and fat-free dairy.
- Skip beer. Beer has a reputation for helping your body hold on to uric acid. A 5 ounce glass of wine daily is okay, but try to avoid any alcohol during a flare-up.
- Stay away from high fructose corn syrup. Stick to products that are 100% fruit juice and stay away from fructose. Fructose can actually cause uric acid levels to increase.
- Eat more whole grains. Refined carbohydrates can interfere with uric acid reduction in the body. Whole grains can help your body eliminate it. Try whole wheat bread and whole grain pasta or plain white.
A good healthy gout diet goes along with healthy lifestyle changes. Try these other helpful tips to complement your diet and heal faster:
- Keep your weight under control – Being overweight increases the risk for gout and the pain that goes along with it. Try to eat a healthy sensible diet and lose weight over a period of time.
- Discuss medications with your doctor – Make sure you clear any medications or remedies you use for gout with your physician.
- Get plenty of exercise – As long as you are not in a gout flare, get regular exercise to keep joints healthy and keep weight off. After a gout flare, look into a good regular walking or stretching program that is gentle on the joints.
The good news is gout isn’t life threatening. However, gout can reduce your activity levels and increase weight gain. Eating a healthy gout diet can reduce the overproduction of uric acid in the body and help flush out the excess.
Getting prompt treatment for gout along with a healthy diet and lifestyle changes, can help you heal faster and lower the incidence of flare-ups in the future!
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