What does gout have to do with diet?
Gout is very treatable via dietary changes, particularly if the build up of those painful crystals in the joints aren’t a result of liver, kidney or other metabolic problems. Gout is famously a disease of the rich because it can be caused by foods which were typically eaten by the richest families in Tudor times. These foods, however, can now be easily bought by anyone from most supermarkets.
The kinds of foods that can cause gout include: organ meats, such as heart, liver and kidneys, both red and white meat, alcohol (especially beer), pâté, fish pastes, fish, crustaceans and yeasts.
These are all sources of the ‘purines’ that lead to excess uric acid formation in the blood. Avoid eating or drinking any of these more than once a day and try to have every 3rd day entirely free of any of them.
Altering your diet so that you are eating foods low in purines, and avoiding those which aggravate the condition, will help to manage your gout symptoms.
Foods to eat
1. Deeply-coloured cherries and berries – the colourful flavonoids in these foods reduce the formation of crystals in joints. Cherries are especially beneficial.
2. Wholesome wholefoods, as the fibre in grains, pulses, root veg and beans improve insulin resistance, a known factor in gout attacks. Avoid the ‘white’ versions though.
3. Natural sweeteners such as stevia or xylitol. High fructose corn syrups and glucose-fructose syrups (eg: in fizzy drinks, breakfast cereals, spreads and sauces) destabilise blood sugar through insulin resistance.
4. Some low fat dairy foods, such as cottage cheese and skimmed milk, eggs, soya foods, nuts and beans are good sources of protein to help make up for the reduction in meat and fish products and are naturally low in purines.
5. Water! Dilute concentrations of uric acid and help the kidneys eliminate more from the body by consuming at least 2 litres a day of this latest wonder substance!
If you’re inclined to do what you can for yourself, do make these changes because by removing the sources of the uric acid, you’ll reduce the formation of the excruciating crystals in the joints.