Gout (gouty arthritis) is a condition caused by a buildup of the salts of uric acid – a normal byproduct of the diet-in the joints. The big toe joint and the ankle is commonly the affected areas, possibly because it is subject to so much pressure in walking; attacks of gouty arthritis are extremely painful, perhaps more so than any other form of arthritis. Men are much more likely to be afflicted than women. Research suggests that diet heavy in red meat, rich sauces, shellfish, and brandy is popularly associated with gout. However, other protein compounds in foods such as lentils and beans may play a role.
The main symptom of gout is waking up in the middle of the night with an acute throbbing pain in the big toe, which is swollen. Usually only one of the big toes is affected. The pain lasts for around three or four hours and will then subside and usually not return for a few months. It can be controlled by prescribed medications. The application of ice or cooling lotions will help during an acute phase. This condition is quickly treated with injections and oral medication that can give immediate pain relief.
Gout is a form of arthritis usually occurring in the cooler extremities of the body, like feet or toes. It results from excessive uric acid in the bloodstream which leaves needle-like crystal deposits in the joints causing redness, swelling and extreme pain.
Normally the uric acid dissolves in the blood stream but there is a problem if:
- there is an increase in uric acid production;
- the kidneys are not functioning sufficiently to eliminate uric acid;
- there is an increased consumption of foods containing purines. Purine is a chemical found in certain foods that forms uric acid when broken down in the body.
Gout Diet and Nutrition
As Gout seems to be more prevalent in overweight people it is important to maintain a healthy body weight. Also extra fluid can help flush uric acid crystals out, but alcohol should be avoided. As well as prescribed medications it can be helpful to follow a low purine diet, avoiding foods that are high in purine and eating low purine foods moderately.
Foods to Avoid
High Purine Foods – Avoid
- Organ meat (brains, kidney, liver, sweetbreads)
- Game meats
- Meat extracts
Medium Purine Foods – Eat in Moderation
- Fresh and saltwater fish
- Meat soups and broth
- Wheat germ
- Whole-grain breads and cereals
Low Purine Foods – No Restriction
- Breads and cereals (low-fiber, white flour, or refined grain types)
- Peanut butter
- Vegetables not high in purines
- Soups – cream style or vegetable without meat extract
- Fruit juices
- Soft drinks
- Low fat cheeses.
Gout Diet – Foods That May Help
Some people have found cherry juice or strawberries helpful. Some chemicals contained in dark berries may help reduce the inflammation and lower the uric acid.
Oily fish like salmon, or fatty acids in flax seed or olive oil or nuts may reduce inflammation too.
It has been suggested that using tofu (from soybeans) instead of meat could also be helpful.
Some have found relief with OPC3 antioxidant supplement.
A balanced diet for gout sufferers includes foods that are high in complex carbohydrates, low in protein and low in fat.