Gout Patient Handout

Gout: Foods to Include and Foods to Avoid

General Medicine

Authors: Adele Schenoy, M.D., Madeleine Beckman, Rich Strongwater, M.D.

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 a diet of whole grains, some dairy, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and fruits. And, according to a recent study, patients with gout who consumed cherries over a 2-day period showed a 35% lower risk of gout attacks compared to those who did not eat the fruit. So, adding cherries, cherry juice, or cherry extract, as well as drinking moderate levels of coffee – both considered preventive measures to lower urate levels – patients can better manage their gout.

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