Gout is one of the more common types of arthritis and mostly affects people over the age of 40, mostly men. One cause of this painful condition is a result of purine-rich foods in the diet consumed over a long period of time.
Uric Acid and Gout
Purines are natural substances found in most foods. They breakdown in the body to form uric acid. Uric acid in the body serves as an antioxidant to help protect the linings of blood vessels from damage. The kidneys filter the uric acid and send it to the bladder to be eventually discharged from the body as urine.
For some reasons, high levels of uric acid can be formed in the body and the kidneys cannot eliminate the uric acid adequately. High levels of uric acid over time can lead to the formation of hard, needle-like crystals in the joints called uric acid crystals. The accumulation of these crystals in the joints is the cause of joint pain in gout.
Gout is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to relieve the joint pain and reduce the inflammation. However, long term use and overdose of such drugs can have negative side effects. At the same time, a change in diet is necessary to prevent help prevent future gout attacks. A gout diet would also help to prevent uric acid crystals from forming in the joints which lead to inflammation.
Gout Diet Foods
The objective of a gout diet is to reduce the intake of foods that are high in purines. With regards to liquids, reduce intake of alcohol. Foods which are particularly high in purines are anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerels, scallops, yeast, gravies and organ meat such as kidneys, livers and sweet breads.
Other foods which are moderately high in purines are mutton, beef, pork, chicken, tuna, salmon, mushrooms, spinach, cauliflower, asparagus, mussels and eggs.
Foods which are low in purines are coffee, tea, fruits, fruit juices, skimmed milk, rice, nuts and peanut butter. Generally, a gout diet should be low in fat, low in protein (meat) and high in complex carbohydrates such as grains, beans, sweet potatoes, corn, barley and brown rice.
Using tofu instead of meat may be a better alternative source of protein. Note that some foods such as strawberries and cherry juice are reported to help relieve the symptoms of gout arthritis. Besides gout diet foods, light exercises such as walking, light running and swimming would also help to increase joint mobility. The addition of gout supplements in diet would also help to alleviate the symptoms of gout.
“Glucosamine produced in the body provides natural building blocks for growth, repair and maintenance of cartilage. Like chondroitin, glucosamine may lubricate joints, help cartilage retain water and prevent its breakdown. Trial results are mixed, but overall, glucosamine appears to reduce pain and improve function in OA. Research also suggests glucosamine may slow joint damage.”