Gout is a type of arthritis, which usually affects only one or two joints in the body. The most characteristic joint in which gout develops is the big toe.
Gout is caused by deposits of urate crystals in the joints. Urate is one of the breakdown product of purines – compounds commonly found in certain foods.
Usually gouty inflammation of the joints only last for a few days, but it can be so excruciatingly painful that sufferers never forget an episode.
Unfortunately gout has habit of recurring, however, there are changes you can make to your diet to reduce the number or severity of your gout attacks.
Here are five dietary changes you can make to avoid flare-ups:
1. Lose some weight
If you are overweight or obese you are at an increased risk of developing gout. In this instance, you should try to reduce your weight gradually and steadily, using a healthy, balanced diet andexercise.
Gradual weight loss is key. Starvation or very-low-energy diets cause blood urate levels rise dramatically when body proteins are broken down due to starvation or very low energy intake and increase the risk of an acute gout attack.
People with gout should, therefore, also not use detoxification or purification diets as these may also precipitate a flare-up.
2. Reduce your alcohol intake
Cut down your alcohol intake drastically. Alcohol, particularly beer, is high in purines which is why indulging in alcohol can often trigger a gout attack.
If necessary avoid all alcohol or restrict drinking to less than two drinks a day. A harsh, but effective way of preventing gout.
3. Avoid gorging and high-purine foods
Avoid rich, heavy meals which contain lots of fat and purines – i.e. the typical Christmas dinner is an excellent example of a meal laden with fat and purines.
Avoid high-purine foods like liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, sardines, anchovies, fish roes (eggs and caviar) and meat extracts.
4. Drink more water
Drink six or more glasses of water throughout the day and a glass at night before going to bed to help the kidneys excrete urates.
5. Go easy on caffeinated drinks
Don’t overdo tea and coffee drinking and switch to rooibos tea if you find your joints start aching after a coffee/tea binge.
Moderation and abstinence from alcohol – those are the solutions to gout.