Changing your diet to get in shape and achieve weight loss can sometimes produce unexpected side effects. One of these unforeseen complications is gout. Although food is not the lone culprit when it comes to the causes of gout, it is one of the most common triggers.
Usually, when you set a goal to lose weight or build muscle, you will make drastic modifications to your diet. You might start eating large amounts of red meat or lots of certain vegetables that contribute to gout without knowing about it.
If you’ve recently made such modifications to your diet only to be rewarded with severe pain in your joints from gout (it typically starts with the big toes), then diet is probably the cause.
To make that pain go away, start with looking at the foods you eat.
But first, it is important to understand the primary cause of gout, which is too much uric acid in your blood. Excess uric acid builds up as needle-like crystals in your joints. When this reaches a certain point – OUCH!
About two-thirds of the uric acid in your body is produced by normal bodily functions, so there is little you can do to change that. However, the other third is directly produced by foods you ingest.
So, when it comes to avoiding gout, or helping get rid of the condition, you must avoid foods that increase uric acid while at the same time choosing foods that help eliminate it from the body.
Foods To Eat On A Gout Diet
If you’ve currently dealing with gout, then water is going to be your new best friend. It is essential to drink large amounts of water to help your kidneys process out excess uric acid.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, dehydration is one of the triggers of gout. Without enough water in your body, your kidneys are unable to flush out excess uric acid.
In addition to drinking lots of water, here is a list of foods that are considered to safe to eat when you have gout:
- Potatoes (White & Sweet)
- Brown Rice
- Soy (Tofu)
- Bell Peppers
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
By eating foods on the approved list, you will effectively be eating a low-purine diet that is rich in anti-oxidants. For those people who must have their protein, medical sources suggest lean meats (like chicken), as well as low-fat or fat-free dairy products (like yogurt or skim milk).
Most fruits should be OK, but many nutrition-minded doctors suggest eating a low fructose diet to treat gout. Stick to the ones high in anti-oxidants (like blueberries and cherries).
For an additional anti-inflammatory effect, use ginger and turmeric as spices.
Foods To Avoid When You Have Gout
The main reason to avoid the foods listed below is that many of them are heavy in purines. Your body converts purines into uric acid, gout’s evil little accomplice.
So, unless you enjoy excruciating pain in your joints, it is best to avoid the following:
- Red Meats
- White Breads
Just as with any healthy diet, avoid most refined carbs and trans fats. This should be emphasized for a gout diet.
Eggs are generally considered low in purines, but if you overeat them, they could be a factor.
You may read of some studies that show purines from vegetables and beans don’t increase the risk of gout. However, anyone who has experienced the pain of gout will probably want to remove them anyways just to keep purine levels as low as possible. It is very easy to substitute other vegetables in their place, such as kale for spinach.
The condition of gout should diminish much more quickly if you avoid these foods completely. However, if you aren’t currently experiencing a gout attack, then only consume these foods in moderation.
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