no-gout-about-it

No Gout About It: Decreasing Flare-Ups Through Diet

Did you know diet can impact the frequency of gout flare-ups? In combination with medical treatment and a healthy lifestyle, a research-backed meal plan can support your joint health. We’re serving up the foods to avoid and the foods to enjoy so you can lower your number of flare-ups.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a painful condition that occurs when your body has an excess of uric acid that crystallizes in your joints. It happens suddenly and usually only affects one joint at a time, most commonly the joint in the big toe. When this happens, it’s called a flare-up.

Foods to Avoid

Your body creates uric acid when it digests foods that are high in purine, so naturally, you can decrease your risk of flare-ups by limiting your intake of certain purine-rich foods, including:

  • Organ meat, such as liver and sweetbreads
  • Game meat, like bison and venison
  • Shellfish, such as crab and shrimp
  • Beer, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic
  • Liquor, such as whiskey and tequila
  • Refined carbs, like white bread and baked goods
  • Salty foods, such as cheese and lunch meat

Some vegetables have high levels of purine as well. However, these don’t contribute to flare-ups of gout according to a study on the effects of different types of food on men published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Foods to Enjoy

It might seem like there are a lot of foods off limits, but don’t let that put a damper on your dining! There are plenty of foods low in purine that taste great and can help you feel great, such as:

  • Vegetables, like spinach and carrots
  • Fruits low in fructose, such as pineapple and strawberries
  • Nuts, including peanuts and walnuts
  • Seeds, like quinoa and chia seeds
  • Low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk and low-fat yogurt
  • Eggs

Finally, it’s always important to drink water, but it’s imperative during a flare-up. Increase your usual intake of water when you have a bout of gout to help your body get rid of purine. You can find recipes online, or you could even get creative and make your own dish!

Our Gout-Friendly Sample Menu

You can create a delicious meal out of foods with low levels of purine. Check out this sample menu for ideas!

  • Breakfast: Eggs (cooked any way) with a side of low-fat, no-sugar-added yogurt and fresh cherries
  • Lunch: Spinach salad loaded with fresh veggies and sprinkled with pine nuts and chickpeas
  • Snack: A handful of unsalted peanuts and a cup of green tea (hot or iced)
  • Dinner: Zucchini noodles topped with pesto and a side of roasted asparagus with a splash of fresh lemon juice

There are plenty of foods you can play around with to create a nutritious meal that will decrease your chance of a flare-up. Experiment to find your new favorite dish! When you first start shopping for low-purine foods, make a list of the best foods for gout so you can make the most of your trip to the grocery store.

If you have symptoms of gout, don’t hesitate to speak with your primary care physician at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group. While controlling your diet can help you decrease your risk of flare-ups, your best prevention method is sticking to a comprehensive treatment plan. Visit a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group rheumatologist to discover your joint care options.

 

Sources:
Heathline | Best Diet for Gout
Healthline | What Is Gout?
Arthritis Foundation | Gout Diet: Do's and Don'ts
New England Journal of Medicine | Purine-Rich Foods, Dairy and Protein Intake, and the Risk of Gout in Men