There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, which is an umbrella term for diseases that cause joint pain and inflammation. While all forms of arthritis are uncomfortable, to say the least, gout can be one of the more painful during a flare-up, and you want to do everything in your power to avoid an attack.
To help, the team here at Western Orthopaedics devotes this month’s blog post to dietary tips that can help better control your gout. By staying one step ahead of gout through your diet, you can help prevent another painful episode.
Gout and your diet
The reason why gout is influenced by your diet is that it occurs when there’s a buildup of too much uric acid in your body, which is called hyperuricemia. Under normal circumstances, your body produces uric acid to process purines, which exist in your body and in some of the foods you eat. Your kidneys then filter and expel the uric acid.
If you have high levels of uric acid in your blood and your kidneys are unable to filter it all out, the excess can gather in and around your joints, where it forms sharp crystals. In most cases, gout affects your big toe, but it can also affect other joints, such as your knees and fingers.
When you have gout, the goal is to lower the levels of uric acid in your blood by lowering the amount of purines you introduce through foods and drinks.
Foods with high purine content
When it comes to purine-rich foods, the primary culprits are:
- Game meats like venison
- Organ meats like liver
- Veal and mutton
- Processed meats like bacon
- Seafood, such as fish and shellfish
- Alcohol, especially beer and hard liquor
Some foods and drinks, especially refined carbs and fructose-sweetened beverages, like soda and fruit juices, may also increase your chances for a gout attack, even though they don’t contain high levels of purines.
If you have a history of gout, we highly recommend that you steer clear of the foods mentioned above to avoid a flare-up.
Interestingly, vegetables that contain high levels of purines, such as cauliflower, spinach, and mushrooms, don’t raise the levels of uric acid in your blood to worrisome levels. White meats like chicken, turkey, and pork, contain moderate levels of purines, so moderation is appropriate.
On the other side of the dietary equation are foods that won’t increase your uric acid levels. These foods include low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, eggs, and soy products.
Drinking enough water to help flush out uric acid through your kidneys can keep your levels in check, too.
If you’d like to learn more about controlling gout through your diet, please contact one of our offices in Denver or Arvada, Colorado, to schedule a consultation.