Gout Recommended Diet
by Andrea Lott
Gout, a form of arthritis caused by uric acid buildup in the body, attacks joints and creates pain and swelling for a short time. Gout can be prevented and treated in part by diet. Medication treats the gout primarily, eliminating the need for drastic diet changes, but following a low-protein diet during a gout episode can decrease the duration and severity of symptoms.
The breakdown of purines in your blood creates uric acid. Purines occur naturally in the body and in high levels in some foods. During a gout attack, avoiding foods high in purines can work with medication to resolve the symptoms. Modify your diet on an ongoing basis to help avoid future gout attacks.
Organ meats such as kidney, brain and liver contain high levels of purines. Do not eat organ meats, especially during gout attacks. Eliminate anchovies, herring and mackerel since they contain a lot of purines as well. All meats and fish contain some purines, so eat smaller portions, no more than five or six ounces per day, during a gout attack. Cut back on meat consistently to help avoid a future gout attack.
Do not drink alcohol during a gout episode. Alcohol prevents the body's proper elimination of uric acid. Drink alcohol only rarely between gout attacks, and cut back on the amount you drink. Avoid sugary soft drinks which increase a person's risk for gout. Do increase the amount of water you drink to aid the body in the elimination of uric acid.
Do not eat fatty or rich foods like fried foods or heavy salad dressings. Eat plenty of high-fiber carbohydrates, but avoid cauliflower, asparagus, legumes and spinach. Choose brown rice, noodles, carrots and other root vegetables, tomatoes, yogurt, cucumbers and fruits. Eat small portions throughout the day rather than large meals.
Being overweight puts a person at greater risk for developing gout and puts stress on the joints. Ask a doctor about eating a lower-calorie diet to help you lose weight if necessary. Undertake a weight-loss plan that includes a variety of healthy foods in moderation, including fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain carbohydrates, instead of an extremely low-carbohydrate diet. Patients with a tendency toward gout should avoid any diet plan disproportionately high in protein. Do not fast or go without eating for long periods of time to lose weight. Skipping meals increases the levels of uric acid in the blood. Exercise moderately between gout attacks.