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Finding a Diet to Fight Gout

Aug 17, 2007
Gout is a condition that affects millions of Americans and as yet, there is no single cure. It can be treated, however but may occur from time to time, depending on the individual's exposure to risk factors. One of these factors affecting gout is diet.

As in most conditions, diet plays a major role in the regulation of body functions and in promoting healing. A gout diet mainly promotes the reduction of purine intake and decreasing the production of uric acid in the body. A diet designed to manage gout goes hand-in-hand with other treatments that a patient may be using to alleviate the symptoms.

The link with obesity
A study in 1986 and a follow-up study in 1998 indicates that compared to those who were overweight, men who lost at least 10 lbs. had a nearly 40% chance of lowering the risk of gout. People who are considered obese are nearly 5 times more likely to develop gout than does with average weight and people with hypertension are twice as likely of developing it.

Losing weight and maintaining it within recommended range will also help ease the burden from the joints.

Preventing a gout attack may be as simple as drinking 8 glasses of water everyday. Water aids in flushing toxins out of the body and keeping the kidneys in top condition. With enough fluid intake, the body can excrete uric acid better through urine and prevent the formation of uric acid crystals.

Fruit juices
On top of the water intake, fresh fruit juices can also help combat the increase in uric acid levels.

Eat your fruits and vegetables
While some vegetables like dried beans and peas are not recommended for gout sufferers, there are others that can help improve a patient's condition. These are vegetables that are rich in flavonoids including apigenin like thyme, peppermint and parsley. Fruits like cherries, blueberries and blackberries may also help.

Go easy on the purine
Foods rich in purine include red meats - pork, beef, lamb and venison. Organ meats like liver, kidneys and tripe are also high in purine. Seafoods like mackerel, herring and anchovies and shellfish like mussels and oysters can also trigger an attack or aggravate the condition.

If purine-rich foods cannot be avoided (it is also present in poultry), best keep it to a low minimum - not more than 6 oz. per day. As an alternative, tofu may be a better choice, since soybeans is a good source of protein and does not contain purine.

Go for the good fats
Fatty acids found in fish like salmon, for example, have anti-inflammatory properties. The same benefit can also be found in nuts, flax oil and olive oil.

Drink moderately
If you can, it's better to avoid alcohol and beer altogether. Alcohol is a prime promoter of purine metabolism and can induce the body to produce more uric acid. It also will block the body's ability to excrete these harmful substances. However, there's some good news. Wine has not been linked to gout and may be consumed in moderate amounts without increasing the risk.

Too much sweets and junk
A diet high in simple carbohydrates and fructose or table sugar may also cause gout, along with the salts and additives found in junk food. If you have the condition, best eliminate these from your diet. A decrease in intake will also help you reduce weight.

Take supplements
Maintaining a diet that is low on purine has its drawback. It may deprive the body of precious vitamins and minerals that are otherwise present in purine-rich foods. Vitamins like E and B complex help the body regulate its functions and are essential in fighting gout. In this case, taking supplements may be necessary.

B-complex vitamins and folic acid must be taken in divided doses daily to help neutralize uric acid. Vitamin E may be taken in low doses initially and increased gradually to help supplement the diet. In the first stages of a gout attack, taking a high dose of Vitamin C may also help.

Other supplements worth looking into are magnesium citrate to relieve spasms, L-glutamine and L-glycine to reduce acids, L-methionine to detoxify high-purine level foods and fish oil to bring down the swelling.

Gout patients don't need to suffer for the rest of their lives because of gout. It will continue to exist, true, but it can be controlled as long as a sensible diet is followed. Remember that we are what we eat and while genetics can play a role in some individuals, what we do to ourselves ultimately determines our overall health.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for http://gout.topicgiant.com where you can learn more about gout as well as how to relieve symptoms of gout.
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