Gout

At one time gout was considered a disease suffered by the rich who indulged in elaborate rich meals and engaged in limited physical activity.  Now we know that gout is an arthritic disease of the joints.  This disease can affect anyone regardless of their background or economic status.

An attack of gout can be very painful.  Often the intense pain is located in the big toe.

When there is a buildup of uric acid in the tissues around the joints sufferers experience an attack of gout.  Uric acid is the waste product from purines found in some foods.  When this waste is not sufficiently eliminated by the kidneys a problem can occur.  The waste product forms crystals which are deposited around the joints and tissues.  Another cause of gout may be your body itself producing excess uric acid.

When you are suffering an attack of gout it can help if you apply an ice pack to the inflamed joint.  The application of the ice can ease the suffering from gout and will help reduce the swelling.  Even holding the inflamed joint under cold running water can offer some relief.

When you are prone to attacks of gout it is important to make changes to your lifestyle and diet.  It is important that you get your weight to a normal level and that you incorporate some exercise into your daily routine.

Your diet is an important part of controlling your gout.  You want to avoid processed and sugary foods.  You especially want to avoid or limit foods with a high purine content.   These foods include organ meats, beef, pork, lamb and seafood such as mackerel, mussels, sardines, scallops and tuna.  Avoid fruit juices and soft drinks.  Beer, wine and liquor should be avoided or limited.  Yeasty beers encourage the body to produce uric acid.  During a gout attack all alcohol should be avoided.

Foods which are moderately high in purine include bacon, mutton, salmon, turkey, trout and haddock.  Even though these foods are moderate in purine the amount of animal protein consumed should be limited to 4-6 ounces per day.

Foods you want to include as part of your diet are beans and legumes and lentils which are good sources of plant-based protein.  Include whole grains such as oats, brown rice and barley as well as quinoa, sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables.

Some low-fat dairy in the diet works well for most people.  Some people find including low-fat dairy in their diet decreases their uric acid levels while others find low-fat dairy increases their gout symptoms.  You will need to decide whether low-fat dairy is right for your own eating plan.

Eating vegetables, even high purine vegetables, does not seem to trigger a gout attack.  Vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber and should be included in your diet.  They are not only good for you they can help you lose some weight if needed.

Before you make changes to your diet and exercise regime be sure to discuss these changes with your health care professional.

Lifestyle changes such as exercise and weight control may be just as important or more important that the foods you eat when trying to prevent attacks of gout.