Preventing and Reducing Gout

Preventing and Reducing Gout

Imagine a terrible, jabbing pain in your big toe that feels like you're being pricked with a needle - it's difficult to walk, it's swollen, it's hot and inflammed. I bet you never imagined this type of pain could be linked to diet.

Actually, the foods you eat play a huge role in this condition. Called gout, this is a common type of arthritis triggered when there is too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a by-product of purine metabolism. Purines are found in our very own cells and in some of the foods we eat. During cellular breakdown and digestion, uric acid is released and filtered through our kidneys. It's not uncommon for those with weak kidneys to experience frequent gout attacks. Over time it will accumulate in the blood and tissues and eventually crystalize and jab its way into the joints, kidney, tendons, and other organs.

But why the big toe? This specific type of acid crystalizes at low temperatures, which explains why more than 90 percent of gout attacks affect cooler extremities like the feet, especially the big toe.

How to Prevent or Reduce Gout Attacks

Go to the source and remove foods rich in purines. Interestingly enough, these are most notably high protein foods. Here are some foods noted for containing these compounds.

Table adapted from www.whfoods.com.

Now, before you go eliminate ALL purines from your diet, know research has shown that plant purines are far safer than meat and fish purines in terms of gout risk. In addition, purines are not fundamentally harmful substances. They act as antioxidants to help protect cells from oxidative damage. It's only when levels become elevated or the body’s ability to metabolize purines properly is impaired that they become problematic.

Reduce Inflammation and Nourish Your Body

As an arthritic condition, gout produces internal heat and inflammation. Therefore, in addition to the above foods, it's also important to decrease consumption of inflammatory foods and increase consumption of the fire-tamers!

Fructose, processed foods, salt, sugar, dairy products, carbonated drinks, and preserved foods increase risk of flare-ups, while foods such as cucumber, beetroot, celery, carrot, green apple, lemon, lime, orange, guava, tart cherries, berries, kale, turmeric, and ginger are cooling and soothing for gout sufferers.

Click here for a list of delicious symtom-reducing NutriBlast recipes!

Registered Dietitian


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