Five Foods to Help Avoid Gout Attacks

Prevent or relieve gout pain with your diet.

Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG

Gout is an extremely painful condition that generally involves one joint. The most common joint affected is that of the big toe. Gout tends to run in families. Ninety five percent of sufferers are men.

Gout is a type of arthritis characterized by a buildup of uric acid. It was traditionally thought of as a “rich man’s disease”. The perception of gout as a rich man’s disease probably developed as gout was most often diagnosed in wealthy overweight men. They were people who could afford fat laden rich diets that included prime cuts and organ meats which were popular in the past.

Here are some foods that can prevent gout flare ups:

Cherries are the most important food that gout sufferers can eat. Cherries have been eaten since people were cave dwellers, so they have a long history of safety. Cherries are very alkaline which neutralizes uric acid, hence preventing build up of the crystals which create the pain of gout. In addition, cherries are rich in iron. Cherries aid liver function and bowel elimination. They improve the health of the endocrine system.

Celery seed is used by herbalists to relieve arthritic pain. Gout is a type of arthritis. You can make a tea from the seeds or just eat celery.

Blueberries, like all berries, are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that reduce inflammation. They are low in calories and high in vitamin A. In addition to preventing gout attacks, blueberries improve the health of the pancreas and the eyes.

Strawberries contain the potent anti-inflammatory vitamin C. They are alkaline and have mild diuretic actions. Proper urinary elimination helps the body rid itself of excess uric acid. Strawberries may lower blood pressure and provide healthy potassium. They contain salicylates. Salicylates are the active pain relieving compounds found in aspirin.

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain. It is used to decrease arthritic pain.

All of the above foods are low in calories and high in fiber. Those characteristics help with weight maintenance. Weight control is important for gout sufferers.

In addition to including healthy fruits and vegetables, foods rich in purines need to be minimized. Limit meats and fish. Organ meats should be eliminated. Eating herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines have been reported to precipitate gout flare-ups. Avoid alcohol, coffee and tea. Yeast and foods high in refined carbohydrates can lead to an attack. Limit foods such as dried beans and peas. With dietary modifications, you may never have to experience the agony of another gout flare-up.

Gout pain is often effectively relieved with colchicine, a prescription medication made from the autumn crocus. While effective, colchicine may produce serious side effects. Many people can not tolerate a high enough dose of the medication for maximum pain relief.

For most people who suffer from gout, dietary interventions are the safest, most effective preventative measures that they can employ to manage this agonizing condition. 

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