Gout was popularly known as the king’s disease in the times of yore, for its prevalence among the rich classes who consumed expensive high-purine foods like alcohol and meat, not easily affordable to the poor. Today, these foods are common in the American diet and portions need to be watched closely in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
This is to especially prevent diseases like gout, provided you are already at risk due to other factors such as age, bad dietary habits, alcoholism, obesity, medications containing salicylate and lead exposure, among several other pre-exising conditions.
Gout, a form of arthritis, is precipitated by uric acid produced after the breakdown of chemical compounds called purines, found excessively in protein-rich foods like poultry and meat. Joints flare up when uric acid does not pass through the kidneys as it should, but instead gets absorbed into the bloodstream and hardens into sharps crystals around the joints. It is usually extracted with needles for testing and diagnosis.
While non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAD) are the first-line treatment advised by doctors, there are a few dietary changes that need to be simultaneously implemented to prevent recurrent gout attacks. Some of the key diet-related tips are suggested below.
Uric is acid is not only produced by proteins, it can be a product of excessive sugar consumption, too. Added sugars in sugary drinks and packaged foods result in the rise of blood sugar levels, which in turn increases the production of uric acid, according to Healthline.
Over a period of 12 years from 1986 to 1998, as many as 46,393 white male health professionals gave up information regarding their intake of carbonated beverages through a validated food frequency questionnaire. None of the participants suffered from gout before. The frequency of consumption was documented on a yearly, monthly, weekly and daily basis.
The results showed 755 newly diagnosed cases of gout from the entire sample of medical practitioners who participated in the study. “The risk of gout incidents was 85 [percent] higher among men who consumed two or more servings of sugar sweetened soft drinks daily compared with those who consumed less than one serving monthly,” the study said.
Tip: Lose weight gained by added sugars as fat cells make more uric acid than muscle cells. Drinking water can help further flush out the uric acid from the kidneys before it builds up in the body. Refined packaged foods and fiber rich smoothies are healthier alternatives. Limiting consumption of natural fruit juices is also advised.
Gout, a form of arthritis, is a condition where the joints flare up, due to the build up of uric acid in the body. handarmdoc, CC BY 2.0
Certain alcoholic beverages like beer and whisky are high in purines. Drinking alcohol makes one dehydrated, and this promotes the production of more uric acid since the kidneys first excrete waste formed by alcohol in the blood. The kidneys then end up neglecting the excretion of uric acid, among other wastes that are bad for health.
In an internet-based study of 734 participants, researchers interviewed men with a mean age of 54 who had at least one recurrent gout attack during the one year remission period. They studied whether alcohol was consumed 24 hours prior to the second gout attack. They also studied the consumption of moderate levels of alcohol in a short span of time for people following a high-purine diet. Moderate alcohol consumption increased the risk of gout by 48 percent, the study said.
The researchers did not single out any type of alcohol. “Consuming wine, beer, or liquor, was each associated with an increased risk of gout attack,” the study said.
Tip: The U.S. dietary guidelines recommend one alcoholic drink for women, and two drinks for men on an average every day. Avoid beer, whiskey and distilled liquors because they are high in purines, but as the above study mentions all types of alcohol can promote the growth of uric acid.
Check for other diseases, supplements and medication
Insulin produces uric acid in the body. Kidney disease, psoriasis, thyroid conditions and cancer are also diseases that can lead to high uric acid production in the body.
Tip: Balance insulin levels. Aspirin, diuretics, immune-suppressing drugs and vitamin B supplements can lead to uric acid buildup, so it is best to keep the doctor informed of all predisposed factors.
Eat meat, fish and certain vegetables in moderation
Meats such as veal, venison, duck, beef, lamb, pork, turkey, and organs like livers and kidneys should be avoided, for they are high in purines. Fish such as tuna, sardines, trout, haddock, cod fish, herring, anchovies and shellfish are also high in purines, so this contradicts the belief that fish is the healthier alternate to meat. This is not the case when it comes being cautionary of uric acid.
Surprisingly, vegetables can also be high in purines. Some of them include mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, dried beans and green peas.
Tip: Consume fish in moderation, but do not shun it completely since it has other health benefits to offer. Eat more lean meat and poultry. Since red meat is also high in saturated fat, it is best to eat this sparingly. Fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C such as oranges, pineapples, strawberries, avocados, bell pepper and tomatoes, among others, are healthier replacements.