If you’ve ever had a gout attack, you know how painful they can be. While anyone can develop gout, you’re more likely to develop it if you have a family history of gout or kidney problems that reduce your ability to excrete uric acid. When that uric acid builds up in your joints (hyperuricemia), the painful attacks are triggered.
Most attacks occur without warning and are treated with anti-inflammatory medication, but it’s just as important to treat the underlying causes through dietary management. Because uric acid is a byproduct of the breakdown of purines — found in many foods — controlling your purine intake is the primary dietary strategy.
The team at Francine Rhinehart DPM wants to help you manage your gout to prevent those painful attacks. Keep reading to learn their tips for the best dietary approach to managing gout.
If you’re used to eating mostly processed foods, overhaul your diet with fresh and frozen, minimally-processed, nutritious foods. Eating a majority of plant-based foods as opposed to animal protein will help you manage gout symptoms, and the boost in nutrients will bring more balance to your diet and promote overall well-being. You don’t have to cut out meat entirely, but you should cut back.
The following foods should form the foundation of your diet:
Certain kinds of seafood tend to promote gout attacks, so be smart about which seafoods you choose to eat. Fish and other seafood provide crucial nutrients like omega-3 fats, but some types of seafood are much higher in purines than others. The goal is to select lower-purine seafood and limit your intake to the serving range your provider recommends.
High-purine seafoods include:
Lower-purine options include:
The amount of alcohol you drink is a major risk factor for gout. Frequently indulging in alcohol, especially beer and hard liquor, significantly increases the chance that you’ll have a gout attack. This happens because alcohol can interfere with your body’s ability to get rid of uric acid, so when the acid builds up, the attack occurs.
If you drink, do so in moderation. Moderate wine consumption (up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men) has not been linked to gout risk, so try sticking with wine.
This is a general guideline, so the amount you can safely have without provoking an attack may vary. Your provider will assess your individual circumstances and make appropriate recommendations.
Sugar-sweetened drinks like soda and fruit juice are another component of your diet that spell bad news for managing gout. Even having as little as one soft drink each day dramatically raises your chance of having a gout attack. Sugary drinks are actually just as bad for your gout as hard liquor and beer, so if your gout is flaring up, you should cut them.
Your best bet is to incorporate healthier beverages like herbal tea and fruit-infused water.
Organ meats are a concentrated source of certain nutrients and a delicacy in many culinary circles, but they also contain some of the highest purine levels of all foods, so you should avoid them completely. Common organ meats include:
This is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce gout attacks: drink water. It dilutes uric acid and helps your body flush it out. On the flip side, when the amount of water in your body decreases, uric acid levels in the blood rise and become more concentrated. Drinking more than eight glasses of water each day cuts your risk of gout attacks by nearly half.
Other factors besides diet (such as losing weight) can help keep your gout from flaring up as well. If you need a professional’s advice, Dr. Rhinehart offers comprehensive gout management that includes medication and lifestyle changes to help you live well with gout. Call or book online to schedule an initial appointment, and we’ll help reduce your pain as soon as possible!