Gout is a painful inflammation, a type of arthritis, affecting one or more joints. It occurs due to increased volume and accumulation of uric acid crystals in the blood, which accumulate around the joints. The most common symptoms of gout are sudden attacks of severe pain in the joints (primarily in the big toe and knee), with swelling and redness of the affected joints.


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Uric acid is a normal byproduct of purine degradation and other substances in the body. When a cell releases its waste products, including uric acid, they are transferred to the blood by the kidneys and eliminated in the form of urine. However, when the body produces too much uric acid, or when it is difficult to eliminate it through the kidneys, it may come to increased levels of uric acid in the body or hyperuricemia. If this condition persists long enough, crystals of uric acid begin to settle around the joints, causing gout.

Hyperuricemia is associated with additional health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Since the accumulation of uric acid in the body is the main cause of gout, it’s necessary to reduce the intake of foods that lead to a formation of even higher uric acid levels.

Gout: What’s Allowed To Eat, And What Should We Avoid

Did you know that gout is often called a disease of kings? Well, it’s precisely that, since it usually develops as a consequence of obesity, over-consumption of meat and/or alcohol. In fact, if we eat foods that are rich in purines, we increase the risk of developing this disease. Purines are aromatic organic compounds. Simply put, they are present in almost every food we eat. But, some foods are particularly rich in purines. And, these are the foods that we want to eliminate from our diet, if we suffer from gout, or if we want to prevent it. Why? In our metabolism, purines convert into uric acid, which is the main cause of this painful inflammation.

Foods that have a high content of purines are primarily offal, oily fish (sardines, anchovies), seafood (shrimp, mussels), canned fish, meat products, meat extracts, bouillons, alcohol, and yeast. During an acute attack of gout, you should completely omit these foods from your diet.

An acute gout attack it characterized by severe pain in the joints, where the uric acid crystals have accumulated. It can last from 3 to 5 days, during which time it’s recommendable to consume liquids in large quantities, primarily plain water, lemon or freshly squeezed fruit juice. Alcohol should not be consumed at all. Otherwise, it’ll additionally stimulate the excretion of water from the body, causing higher concentrations of uric acid in the remaining body fluid. Also, alcohol reduces the excretion of uric acid in the urine.

What’s Not Allowed

Foods that can interfere during an acute attack of this painful inflammation and worsen the situation even more are:

  • Grains and cereals, yeast and fried dough, fresh pastries and bread
  • Offal (kidneys, liver)
  • Beans, cauliflower, spinach and chard, canned vegetables
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Almost all types of meat, oily fish (rich in purines)
  • Black pepper, mustard
  • Cakes with cream
  • Alcohol (beer)
What’s Allowed

Foods, favorable to eat at all times, are:

  • Toast, rice bread, stale bread, corn and wheat grits
  • All root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, kohlrabi, beets), zucchini, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans
  • Fruits and fresh fruit juices
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Cooked white fish, eggs, low-fat fish soup
  • Olive oil
  • Vitamin C

After an acute gout attack, it’s allowed to consume all food categories, with a focus on reducing the intake of alcohol, offal, processed meats and oily fish. On every second or third day, you can eat meat. Preferable are beef, turkey, chicken or venison. Don’t forget fruits. Studies show that cherries, blueberries, and other forest fruits can help in calming the gout attacks. Avocado and pineapple also show some interesting effects against the formation of uric acid.

In general, it is necessary to reduce your food intake by about 500 calories of your normal energy intake. Also, have at least three meals a day. It is necessary to avoid any sudden and restrictive diets. Even though it takes a little sacrifice at the beginning to control gout, with time, after you regulate the levels of uric acid, you’ll be able to find a very balanced and satisfying diet for yourself. Perhaps, the principles of the Mediterranean diet are best suiting. But, since we’re all different, we have to try for ourselves and individually adapt each and every diet!

Reference:
Gout diet: What’s allowed, what’s not
Diet and Gout: Purines in Food – What to Eat and What to Avoid