Gout is a painful form of arthritis that occurs when high levels of uric acid in the blood cause crystals to form and accumulate in and around a joint. Typically, uric acid is formed when the body breaks down a chemical called purine, which occurs naturally in the human body. Additionally, it is also available in certain foods. Excess uric acid is usually eliminated from the body through urine, but gout patients face problems in eliminating the excess uric acid.
Various researches have established that adherence to a diet can decrease the uric acid levels in the blood, but it should be noted that following a diet is not a cure for gout. It can only help in lowering the risk of recurrence of gout attacks and slow the progression of joint damage. In addition to following a diet, one will need to rely on prescribed medication to manage pain and keep the uric acid levels under control.
1. Importance and benefits of a diet for gout
A diet for gout patients is specifically designed to meet the following goals:
2. Influence of food on gout
If one is suffering from gout, certain foods are likely to trigger an attack by raising the uric acid levels. These trigger foods are the ones that are naturally rich in purine. For healthy people, this is not a major concern as their body can remove the excess uric acid from their body. However, the people suffering from gout face problems in the removal process, which leads to excess uric in their body. This means the consumption of food rich in purine leads to the accumulation of excess uric acid in their body, and this accumulation slowly leads to a gout attack.
Fortunately, if one restricts high-purine foods in their diet along with appropriate medication, gout attacks can be prevented. Various foods like organ meat, red meat, seafood, alcohol, and beer are known to trigger a gout attack. These foods usually contain moderate to a higher amount of purine, but it has been observed by a series of researches that high-purine vegetables do not trigger gout attacks. Instead, high-fructose and sugar-sweetened beverages can increase the risk of gout and gout attacks, even though they are not purine-rich. Experts say they may raise uric acid levels by accelerating several cellular processes. On the other hand, low-fat dairy products, soy products, and vitamin C supplements help in the prevention of gout attacks by reducing uric acid levels.
Foods can either raise or lower uric acid levels in the body, depending on their purine content. Adherence to a diet suitable for gout, along with making certain changes in lifestyle like maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, staying hydrated, and reducing the consumption of alcohol can help one in preventing a gout attack.