If you’re suffering from the pain and discomfort of gout, foods containing high levels of purine—among them organ meats and certain seafood—should be avoided. But what about foods that are safe to eat and might even help improve your condition?
Gout is caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints and is one of the few forms of arthritis that can be affected by diet. Scientists estimate that 6 million adults report having had gout at some time in their lives, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
Gout patients should:
- Avoid beef, pork, lamb, and liver (and other organ meats) along with such seafood selections as herring, mackerel, mussels, sardines, tuna, and smelt.
- Proceed with caution when it comes to foods moderately high in purines, including bacon, turkey, mutton, salmon, trout, and haddock.
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Gout Foods: The Basics
According to the Arthritis Foundation, foods that are low in purine and that improve the excretion of uric acid from the body are ideal for patients suffering from gout. Fortunately for anyone dealing with gout, foods low in purine are fairly easy to introduce (and keep) in your diet.
Here are four choices that should play a main role in a gout diet:
- Low-fat dairy products: A higher level of low-fat dairy consumption has been linked to a decreased risk of gout attacks, according to a study published by The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found that patients who consumed one or more servings each day of low-fat milk or yogurt—which is high in protein but low in purine—had less uric acid in their blood than those who did not.
The Right Fluids
Drinking plenty of water every day has been proven to reduce the risk of gout attacks.
What about beverages? Again, eliminating or cutting back on fruit juices and sugary sodas will help reduce gout flare-ups. Instead, stick to the basics:
- Coffee and tea: According to a study conducted by Korean researchers, uric acid levels were significantly lowered when women drank four to six cups of coffee per day and when men drank one to three cups. At the same time, avoid bingeing on caffeine. Black and green teas, meanwhile, contain anti-inflammatory polyphenols, as do white teas.
On the Other Hand…
While your diet can have a significant impact on how your symptoms are managed, it’s important to remember to follow your doctor’s instructions when it comes to taking medications and engaging in physical activity. Simply changing your diet won’t completely manage the condition.
“Physicians all too often see patients who believe they can successfully manage their gout with diet alone,” according to N. Lawrence Edwards, M.D., rheumatologist and chairman of the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society. “But even with extremely rigid diet restrictions, most gout patients will only be able to lower their uric acid levels slightly—not nearly enough to achieve a healthy level to control flares and reduce risk for long-term damage.”
Originally published in 2016 and regularly updated.
This content was originally published here.