Gout Diet: Foods to Avoid
Gout is an extremely painful form of arthritis. Most people who have gout experience intense attacks, usually at night, where one or more of their joints start hurting. Most commonly, joints of the lower body such as the knees and ankles are affected, with the joints of the big toe being the most likely to show early symptoms. In between these attacks, most people go into remission and are completely asymptomatic. Then another attack occurs. If left untreated, gout can lead to increasingly severe and frequent attacks. Gout is caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. Uric acid is a byproduct of the metabolism of purines. Purines are compounds found in many of the foods we eat, especially animal products. The human body also produces its own supply of purines. When purines are broken down, uric acid is one of the by-products produced. Usually, any surfeit of uric acid is removed by the kidneys. However, some people's bodies produce so much purine, and consequently uric acid, that the kidneys can't keep up. The same thing can happen in people who eat excessive amounts of foods rich in purines. Finally, some people's kidneys are not working as they should, and so are incapable of filtering all the uric acid out of the blood. Any one of these three conditions can result in gout.
Gout and Diet
The ideal diet for gout should consist mainly of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetable. Anything low in purines . Protein should only comprise about fifteen percent of the diet of anyone with gout, and no more than ten percent of the total caloric intake should come from animal fats. In the end, the foods that predispose a person to develop gout are the same as emerge as risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Foods to Avoid
Red meat increases your chances of developing gout by forty percent. Seafood is even worse, with a fifty percent increase in incidence rates. It is best to eat these meats sparingly. If you choose to eat them, eat them infrequently and make sure you're only eating small portions. Alcohol has also been linked to gout. Alcohol can quickly raise uric acid levels in the blood and set off an attack of gout. It is best to avoid alcohol entirely. If you do have alcohol, make sure to drink plenty of water with it. Water helps flush excess uric acid out of your system, and it is a good idea to drink plenty of water if you have gout, even if you don't drink alcohol.
Maintaining Proper Nutrition
When eating a gout-friendly diet it is important to make sure that you are still getting all your essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The biggest risk is that you cut too much protein. Remember though, there are plenty of foods other than beef and fish that contain healthy protein. Low fat dairy product is great for people with gout. They reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of attacks. Getting most of your protein from dairy can also help keep you from developing gout if you have not already done so. If you miss the texture of meat, take a page from the vegetarian cookbook. Tofu and tempeh, both made from soy, have plenty of protein and can be used in many different dishes with great success. Seitan, made from wheat gluten, is another meatless protein alternative that is very versatile.