Dietary Tips for Gout
Experience with gout could be terrifying - the typical onset symptoms include sudden attacks of severe pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints, such as toes, ankles or knees. Some patients may even describe gout attacks as “burning joints”. Fortunately gout is manageable and preventable through medications and healthy lifestyle choices. This article will briefly explain what is gout and focus on the dietary changes to better manage the disease.
out is a form of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints. Uric acid is a metabolic product of purine nucleotides - a substance found naturally in our body tissues and in many foods. In general, we get rid of the majority of uric acid (about 70%) by our kidneys through urinary excretion. However, some people may produce too much uric acid due to genetic defects, while some people’s kidneys are unable to eliminate uric acid efficiently . In these cases, uric acid may build up in blood and form crystals in the joints, causing inflammation and the above-mentioned symptoms.
Although the first gout attack usually resolves in 1 to 2 weeks, many patients experience a second attack within 2 years. If gout is poorly managed, subsequent attacks would involve more joints and occur more frequently, and may cause permanent joint damage or even deformity in some serious cases. See the following figure to understand the progression from high uric acid accumulation in the bloodstream to gout.
In order to alleviate the risk of developing gout and/or recurrence of gout attacks, the following lifestyle modifications are recommended:
Apart from these particular foods or nutrients, studies show that a diet plan called the DASH diet may have protective effects against gout. The DASH diet features a dietary pattern with plenty of vegetables and fruits, moderate amount of low-fat dairy products, as well as whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts, but limiting portions of red meat, sweets and sugary drinks. Consult a registered dietitian for more information and individualized dietary advice.