At Healthmark a continuous theme that we promote for our patients is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A better lifestyle means regular amounts of exercise, rest, and a healthy, moderate diet. So what does diet have to do with gout? A part of what increases the likelihood and severity of gout is one’s diet. Foods high in purines promote the formation of uric acid crystals around important joints thus increasing the painful symptoms of arthritic gout.
Purines are a natural organic compound found in the human body that provide structure for our genes. Many of these nutrients come from plants and animals that we might ingest. There are certain foods that naturally contain higher, more concentrated amounts of purines.
It should be understood that purines are not necessarily bad for us. We need purines in our diet and in many ways, they’re impossible to avoid. Among the list presented here, there are some very healthy vegetables and other foods that are good for the body and should not be avoided.
Most people can breakdown purines naturally without any trouble. Some people who have diabetes or issues with their metabolism and breaking down certain organic nutrients may find it more difficult to breakdown purines naturally. Excessive eating and lack of exercise can increase the negative effects of purines and uric acid buildup in the joints of the body.
Steps to Lowering the Effects of Purines
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol, especially beer, can result in acute gout attacks.
- Eat food. Starving oneself can cause the body’s chemistry to change in places like the stomach and blood, and can have adverse effects on the body if it needs to start breaking down its own proteins in place of food and calories.
- Avoid binge eating. Eat each bite slowly and allow the stomach to fill up slowly. This will allow the body to tell the brain that it’s full in good time without becoming gorged with too much food.
- Pump Water. Drinking water regularly is a healthy practice that will help so much more than just issues concerning gout. Hydration is key for a healthy body. Try to drink at least six glasses of water each day.
- Dairy foods actually appear to lower the risk of gout, but should be consumed in moderation, of course.
- Work towards maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight if you find yourself on the heavier side of the scale.
Foods that are high in purine content include:
- Calf tongue
- Chicken soup
- Kidney beans
- Lima beans
A Gout Diet?
Officially speaking, there is no such thing as a strict gout diet. Understanding one’s diet is important for understanding what foods the body will ingest. Knowing how to balance your diet among different healthy foods is key to controlling the severity and frequency of gout flare-ups due to purines. Keeping a list of meals to prepare regularly is a good first step on top of eating homemade meals and diverse amounts of food on a regular basis.