Gout is the build-up of uric acid crystals in the body, which leads to inflammation in the joints. It can attack the feet, knees, ankles, and especially the big toe. Gout episodes can last for months and those most at risk are adult men who are obese. When foods that are high in purine are consumed, its breakdown leads to the formation of uric acid in the body, leading to gout attacks.
Gout attacks can be painful. Avoiding certain foods that are high in purine reduces the chances of a gout attack. Some of the foods to avoid are:
Seafood contains a high level of purine, which can cause severe swelling to those who suffer from gout. As this purine metabolizes into uric acid, it can cause swelling immediately. Avoid all seafood. Foods like anchovies, sardines, herring, and tuna should be avoided. However, foods like shrimp, lobster, eel, and crab are considered to be a safe option for those suffering from gout. These can be consumed in moderation. Try them, and if they do not trigger attacks, eat them in smaller portions.
2. Fast and processed foods
These foods are loaded with adulterated sugars and infused with fats, trans-fats, and preservatives. You must avoid these like you would the plague. Most of the packaged and bottled foods and drinks are processed. Avoid them unless it is your only option. The preservative chemicals added to these foods are highly toxic and stress the kidneys and liver, which can result in a gout attack.
3. Sugary drinks
Carbonated drinks and those with high levels of fructose increase uric acid levels in the body. The seemingly healthy fruit and sports drinks that claim to be rich in vitamins and minerals are loaded with sugar. Avoid all these bottled drinks. Drink water to quench your thirst, instead of consuming packaged drinks. High fructose corn syrup is used in almost everything, including canned fruits and vegetables, so avoid such foods.
Alcohol is not recommended for those with gout. Beer is a strict no and should be avoided. It increases the levels of uric acid in the body and further prevents the flushing out of purine. Most doctors strictly forbid alcohol if you have gout. Grain liquors (like vodka and whiskey) have a higher purine content when compared to wine. In case you want to drink, consider wine instead of the other drinks in limited quantities.
5. Red meat
Purine content is high in red meat. Chicken or freshwater fish is a better alternative. Avoid turkey and substitute it with chicken or duck meat.
Liver is strictly forbidden if you are prone to gout attacks. It is better to avoid the consumption of kidneys in general. These organs increase the uric acid level and consuming them leads to gout attacks. Bacon, venison, and brain meat should be avoided too.
Asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, and spinach are higher in purines than other vegetables. There is no reason to completely avoid these foods. However, moderating your intake of these vegetables is essential. They are not as unhealthy as red meat but should be avoided as much as possible.
The extent of attacks and discomfort caused by some of these foods vary. For some, a limited consumption of these foods does not cause major problems. But for certain, even small quantities can cause major swelling. Be cautious when traveling and eating out. Understand the effects of consuming these foods and control your desires to be free of discomfort and pain from a gout attack.