Gout: Foods to Include and Foods to Avoid
The holistic management of gout can be effective.
by Adele Schenoy, M.D., Madeleine Beckman MA, MFA, and
Historically, gout was known as “the disease of kings”. It was believed to be due to overindulgence – in food and alcohol. Today gout, which affects more men than
women, is known to be a form of both acute and chronic arthritis. It’s characterized by excess uric acid in the blood, resulting in painful, swollen joint(s). At times, the condition can be debilitating, and, in severe cases, gout can lead to permanent joint damage.
You’re not Henry VIII
Henry VIII, who suffered from gout, probably would have rejected lifestyle changes to his indulgent diet even if it helped relieve his painful, swollen joints, but recent findings indicate strong connections between improved lifestyle and reduction in gout flare-ups. For instance, by limiting purine-rich foods (ie, red meat and shellfish), alcohol, and sugar-laden beverages, patients can reduce their uric acid levels and help manage their gout. It doesn’t stop there: losing weight, daily exercise, and stress-reduction exercises also are effective. This will not stop gout from occurring but will decrease the number of flares and more likely the duration of the attacks.
In place of red meat and other uric acid-producing foods and beverages, experts recommend that affected people follow a diet of whole grains, some dairy, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and fruits. Patients with gout who consumed cherries over 2 days in are cent study had a 35% lower risk of experiencing gout attacks than did those who did not eat the fruit. In addition, coffee consumption seems to lower blood levels of urate, a salt of uric acid. Thus, including cherries, cherry juice, or cherry extract in the diet and drinking moderate levels of coffee may help to lower urate levels and help patients to better manage their gout symptoms.
Role of Patient and Practitioner
It is vital for both the patient and practitioner to understand how gout can present, have the condition diagnosed correctly, and then work together to promote urate-lowering holistic strategies.
Patients with gout should avoid:
Certain varieties of fish (eg, sardines, anchovies, scallops)
Certain varieties of meat (eg, venison, turkey, bacon, and organ meats like liver)
Processed foods (eg, chips)
Refined carbohydrates (eg, white bread)
Alcohol (more than two drinks each day)
A sedentary lifestyle
Patients with gout should consume:
Omega-rich, cold-water fish (eg, tuna)
Eggs (in moderation)
Legumes (in moderation)
Cherries, tart cherry juice, or cherry extract
Coffee (in moderation)
Gout Patients should be encouraged to:
Exercise and practice stress-reducing activities like meditation
Maintain good hydration
Apply ice, not heat, to joints affected by gout
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