Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can
affect anyone. It's symptoms include a sudden, severe attacks of pain,
swelling, and inflammation, redness and tenderness in the joints, often the
joint at the base of the big toe, along with limited range of motion.
Gout used to be known as a ‘rich man’s disease’ back in the day because it stemmed from having a diet full of food that only the rich could afford. With different types of food made more accessible to all these days, gout can affect more people than you think.
Gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate in your joint, causing the inflammation and intense pain of a gout attack. Urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood.
Our body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines — substances that are found naturally in our body or in some foods we eat, such as steak, organ meats and seafood. Other foods also promote higher levels of uric acid, such as alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks that are sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose).
Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood and passes through the kidneys into our urine. But sometimes either our body produces too much uric acid, or our kidneys excrete too little of it. When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needlelike urate crystals in a joint or their surrounding tissue that cause pain, inflammation and swelling.
The main factors that increase the uric acid levels in the body include diet, obesity, family history of gout, age and sex (more men than women get gout. They usually develop it between ages of 30 and 50, while women generally develop it after menopause), certain medications and medical conditions such as untreated hypertension, diabetes, heart and kidney disease and metabolic syndrome, and as a result of a recent surgery or trauma.
attacks commonly happen at night and can last between 3 – 10 days.
Food to avoid if you have gout
Food high in purines (containing more than 150 – 200mg of purines per 100 grams) may raise your uric acid levels. These include:u
*** Besides the meats and fish mentioned above, meats such as chicken, beef, pork and lamb should be eaten in small to moderate amount as they contain a moderate amount of purines (between 100 – 200mg per 100 grams). Consuming too much of these meats may trigger a gout attack.
Food that’s suitable for gout
Low purine food (containing less than 100mg of purines per 100 grams) that are generally safe for those who have gout include:
What else can you do to prevent further flare ups?
Gout and Festive season
Avoiding excessive eating and drinking as part of merry making during the festive seasons, especially for those with gout, may be a difficult task.
Remember that festive food and drinks are often high in purines, made with lots of seafood, red meat, wine and more. To help avoid an attack, here are a few tips to keep in mind so you can stay happy and healthy.
Sample of a gout-friendly menu:
Following a Gout-friendly diet detailed by a
dietitian can help alleviate its symptoms and although it is not a cure, it can
slow down the progression of joint damage. There are also medications that can
be taken to lower uric acid levels. Make sure that you consult a professional
health care provider to help you understand manage your condition.
Article contributed by Fariba Sabet-Sharghi, Dietitian at ParkwayHealth
1. Best Diet for Gout: What to Eat, What to Avoid. Retrieved on 22 November 2020 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-diet-for-gout#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4
2. What You Need to Know About Alcohol and Gout. Retrieved on 22 November 2020 from https://www.healthline.com/health/gout-and-wine#gout-alcohol