Nutrition and Eating

The Best Diet for Gout

Gout, which is a form of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in blood and causes inflammation, affects more than 8.3 million people in the United States.

What’s the reason? “People are getting bigger and they’re eating too much of the wrong thing,” says Robert Hiltz MD, a rheumatologist at Group Health.

If you’re prone to gout attacks, Dr. Hiltz says eating the right foods can stave off attacks or, at the very least, help manage flare-ups.

Tip #1: Cut Back on Seafood

Certain seafood items like shrimp, crab legs, lobster, oysters, shellfish and scallops are rich in purine, which the body breaks down into uric acid.

Tip #2: Limit Meat Intake

While adopting a vegetarian diet may not be feasible for everyone, eating a diet rich in vegetables, grains and less meat can be very beneficial, especially for those who experience severe gout attacks. However, avoid vegetables like asparagus, cauliflower, spinach and mushrooms, because they are higher in purine than other types. 

White meat, like chicken, is generally better to eat than red meats and turkey. “But, any kind of meat should be consumed in moderation.” Dr. Hiltz warns.

Tip #3: Steer Clear of Alcohol

Alcohol, especially beer, increases the risk of having a gout attack because it changes the PH balance in the kidneys, causes dehydration, and decreases the body's ability to metabolize uric acid.

Tip #4: Avoid Sugary Drinks

Drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, especially non-diet soft drinks and fruit juices, stimulate the production of uric acid.

On the other hand, some studies show that milk and unsweetened juices made from dark cherries have a favorable effect on metabolizing uric acid and controlling the inflammation associated with gout.

Tags Nutrition and Eating