Uric acid is produced when the body breaks down a chemical called purine. Purine occurs naturally in your body, but it’s also found in certain foods. Uric acid is eliminated from the body in urine.

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. It affects more men than women. Women are more prone to it post menopause.

Other risk factors and conditions for developing gout include- diabetes, insulin resistance, congestive heart failure, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, high BP,Kidney disease and the medications taken for it, because they increase uric acid levels. Poor sleep, sleep apnea also increases the risk for gout.

A diet is designed to help you:

  • Achieve a healthy weight and good eating habits
  • Avoid some, but not all, foods with purines
  • Include some foods that can control uric acid levels

A good rule of thumb is to eat moderate portions of healthy foods.

Diet details

The general principles of a gout diet follow typical healthy-diet recommendations:

  • Weight loss. Being overweight increases the risk of developing gout, and losing weight lowers the risk of gout. Research suggests that reducing the number of calories and losing weight — even without a purine-restricted diet — lower uric acid levels and reduce the number of gout attacks. Losing weight also lessens the overall stress on joints.
  • Complex carbs. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which provide complex carbohydrates. Avoid foods and beverages with high-fructose corn syrup, and limit consumption of naturally sweet fruit juices.
  • Water. Stay well-hydrated by drinking water. Have 2-3 litres water daily.
  • Fats. Cut back on saturated fats from red meat, fatty poultry and high-fat dairy products.
  • Proteins. Focus on lean meat and poultry, low-fat dairy and lentils as sources of protein. Cut down on soy and pulses
  1. Avoid Organ and glandular meats. Avoid meats such as liver, kidney and sweetbreads, which have high purine levels and contribute to high blood levels of uric acid.
  2. Avoid Red meat. Limit serving sizes of beef, lamb and pork.
  3. Avoid Seafood. Some types of seafood — such as anchovies, shellfish, sardines and tuna — are higher in purines than are other types. But the overall health benefits of eating fish may outweigh the risks for people with gout. Moderate portions of fish can be part of a gout diet.
  4. High-purine vegetables. As good as vegetables are in general, some are high in purines, including asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, peas, and mushrooms. However, high-purine vegetables don’t seem to aggravate gout the same way that high-purine animal-based foods do. But its best to eat small amounts. Some dried beans, particularly fava and chana, are high in purines, and you may find you need to avoid them.
  5. Alcohol. Beer and distilled liquors are associated with an increased risk of gout and recurring attacks. Moderate consumption of wine doesn’t appear to increase the risk of gout attacks. Avoid alcohol during gout attacks, and limit alcohol, especially beer, between attacks.
  6. Sugary foods and beverages. Limit or avoid sugar-sweetened foods such as sweetened cereals, bakery goods and candies. Limit consumption of naturally sweet fruit juices.
  7. Vitamin C. Vitamin C may help lower uric acid levels. Have lemon, orange- citrus foods in your daily diet.
  8. Coffee. Some research suggests that drinking coffee in moderation, especially regular caffeinated coffee, may be associated with a reduced risk of gout. Drinking coffee may not be appropriate if you have other medical conditions. Talk to your doctor about how much coffee is right for you.
  9. Cherries. There is some evidence that eating cherries is associated with a reduced risk of gout attacks.

Diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle changes can help improve gout and other illnesses caused by high uric acid levels.

Exercise also helps to control weight and blood sugars- thereby control excess uric acid.

  • Deepa Kamath
  • Health Coach, Senior Dietician- Navitae


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