Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis caused by an increase in uric acid. When uric acid builds up, it creates small crystals that form around and inside your joints. When it flares up, it causes your joints to swell. If you have gout, then you know how painful it is to experience these attacks.
Taking gout medication can help reduce the pain and inflammation during a flare-up; it also minimizes the chances of getting a gout attack. However, relying on your medication alone isn’t enough to keep gout attacks at bay. You also have to switch to a healthier diet to properly control its symptoms.
Indeed, eating the wrong foods will make it more difficult for your medication to take effect. Eventually, your doctor may prescribe you to take larger dosages. Taking too much gout medication can cause discomfort since gout medication, like allopurinol, is known to cause side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and skin rashes.
To help decrease the amount of uric acid in your body, you need to avoid or limit eating foods that are high in purine. Here are some foods and beverages that people with gout should avoid to keep their uric acid levels in check:
Many types of seafood are high in purine. To lower the chances of gout flares, avoid eating the following:
If fish is your main source of protein, you can eat certain fish in moderation. Salmon, tuna, and tilapia have lower purine levels, so they’re safe to eat two to three times a week.
Beer and Other Alcoholic Drinks
If you’re an avid drinker and have gout, you need to stop drinking alcohol ASAP. Beverages like beer are high in purine, so consuming too much of it can cause your gout to flare up. Although not all spirits and liquors are high in purine, it’s still better to avoid alcohol altogether if you have gout. This is because alcohol can prevent your kidneys from flushing out uric acid, causing it to accumulate.
Foods that Are Sweet, Sugary, and High in Fructose Corn Syrup
Sweet drinks and snacks can trigger gout attacks because sugar breaks down into uric acid. The same can be said for foods that are high in fructose corn syrup. Avoid processed food, junk food, and fast food as much as possible, because these are known to have high sugar content. Other sweet foods and drinks you should remove from your diet include candies, cereal, ice cream, white and milk chocolate, as well as sweet juice drinks
When you have gout, you should also avoid offal or laman-loob. These can easily trigger a gout attack because they can rapidly increase uric acid levels. This means you should stay away from Filipino dishes that use organ meat as their main ingredient. Some of these foods include dinuguan, isaw, and papaitan.
Foods You Should Eat Instead
It can be challenging to remove foods and beverages that are high in purine from your diet. However, if you replace them with tasty and healthy alternatives, you’ll gain an appreciation for sticking to a low-purine diet. When creating a meal plan, you can cook dishes using the following food items as your main ingredients:
- Low-fat dairy products like skim milk and yogurt
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Lentils and beans
- Whole grains
Eggs, chicken, and red meat can be eaten in moderation. This way, you can ease into your low-purine diet because you won’t be drastically changing all the food you’ll eat. You should also drink more water to improve your kidney health, as well as aid your kidneys in excreting uric acid out of your body. If you need a jolt of energy, drink coffee instead of sugary, energy drinks. In fact, drinking a cup of coffee each day can lower your risk of getting a gout attack. This is because coffee can help reduce your uric acid levels by slowing down the body’s processing of purine.
Aside from eating healthy, you should also do some light exercise between flare-ups. Aside from helping you lose weight, increasing your physical activity can actually reduce the risk of gout attacks. This is because weight gain and obesity can increase your uric levels. Thus, staying at a healthy weight can prevent your uric acid from spiking. Of course, don’t exercise when your gout is flaring up as it’ll make your condition worse. Make sure to rest and treat your gout attack first before trying to exercise again.
Managing your gout can be stressful, but there are a lot of healthy lifestyle choices you can make to lower the risk of a gout flare-up. Eating foods that are low in purine is a great place to start. By switching to a healthier diet, you can control the symptoms of gout, as well as improve your overall health.