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Take Control of Your Gout with these 6 Dietary Adjustments

Man suffering from gout in the big toeIf you have gout, then you already know about how painful and debilitating this condition can be. Most people develop gouty symptoms in the joints of their feet– particularly at the base of their big toe. The pain and inflammation is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood stream. The acid starts to crystallize into thousands of microscopic shards that jab into the tissues of the afflicted joint.

This acute form of arthritis is characterized by:

  • Inflammation or swelling
  • Excruciating pain
  • Redness
  • Heat around the affected joints

There are a number of treatments available for these excruciatingly painful gout attacks. Patients are often prescribed medications like:

  • Pain killers
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Colchicines
  • Steroids

These can help mitigate some of the pain and debilitation from gout, but it’s not the most effective management method for this condition. Gout clinical studies have shown us that a person’s lifestyle choices (mainly dietary habits) have a large impact on their gout symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with gout, then I’m sure you have read an article or two on what foods can spark a flare up. This isn’t what we are going to be looking at today, although you should check out our previous post on foods to avoid later. This post is going to show you 6 dietary tips that you can use to take control of your gout.

1) Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

The research clearly shows that alcohol can exacerbate gouty symptoms. The substance further prohibits the elimination of uric acid from the body. If you want to take control of your condition, then take steps to limit your alcohol intake. Beer should be avoided altogether as it makes the body rapidly produce more purine and uric acid.

2) Avoid Sugar When Possible

If you’ve seen this infographic, then you know that eliminating sugar from your diet poses quite a challenge. Still it’s important for people with gout to avoid consuming fructose– the single carbohydrate known to increase uric acid levels. This often means saying no to things like:

  • Soda
  • Ice cream
  • Shakes
  • Even juices

A diet that is high in sugar also tends to put people at risk for obesity and diabetes. Gout patients can still eat fresh fruits, since they contain a healthy assortment of essential nutrients in addition to natural sugars.

3) Limit Your Intake of Fat

People develop gout when their bodies don’t possess the ability to process uric acid efficiently. Eating a lot of high-fat content foods can slow this process down even more. There are a number of great steps you can take here. Foods with more saturated fats can be slowly replaced by low or non-fat dairy products as well as plant proteins. This should also help people maintain healthier body weights which will further reduce symptoms.

4) Stay Well-Hydrated

The experts will tell you that staying hydrated is essential for gout. Fluids help remove excess uric acid and other toxins from the body. Studies have shown that drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day can help with:

  • Long-term weight management
  • Detoxifying the body
  • Overall good health

5) Eating Less Meat Overall

Animal protein is one of the most purine-rich sources of food in the average human diet. This should actually be one of the first steps taken after being diagnosed with gout. The most important items to avoid include:

  • Shellfish
  • Fish
  • Organ meats

Gout patients need to eliminate these foods when possible as they will intensify their inflammation and pain.

6) Eat Healthy

The great news is that you can gain a significant level of control over this arthritic condition simply by following a traditional healthy diet with plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. This will help boost your immune system and overall joint health, giving the body better tools to fight off gout attacks naturally.

There are several vegetables that are actually rich in purine, so these should probably be avoided too. These include:

  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Beans

Compared to the excruciating pain of a condition left unmanaged, many of these dietary tips should prove to be fairly painless to implement. There is still no cure for gout, so be sure to monitor your overall diet regularly and make adjustments when necessary.

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