Why do certain foods cause painful gout symptoms? Our bodies produce uric acid as it digests some types of foods and excess uric acid can accumulate in our joints as crystals. Healthy individuals can usually filter out much of the extra uric acid; however, for those who have underlying health conditions or elderly adults whose body processes have slowed down, uric acid builds up.
What Foods to Avoid
Many of the foods you want to avoid are meats and seafood. Meats such as chicken, pork, beef, or lamb are usually okay in moderation; however, if you find they cause symptoms you will want to avoid them altogether. Salmon, as part of a gout diet, is also usually tolerated well in moderation.
- Yeast:beer, nutritional yeast, large amounts of bread, others
- Game meats: venison, veal, bison, others
- Organ meats: liver, tongue, tripe, others
- Fish: including sardines and anchovies
- Other seafood: shellfish, roe, others
- Sugary drinks: sodas, fruit juice, others
- Sugar substances: honey, nectar, high-fructose corn syrup, others
What Food to Eat
Now that you know what foods to avoid, how do you know what foods are safe to eat? Your gout diet should include plenty of the foods on this list as they produce no or very little uric acid when digested.
- Fruits and vegetables: all fruits and vegetables are fine and cherries could even help prevent attacks of gout as it lowers uric acid levels
- Whole grains: oats, barley, brown rice, others
- Dairy: low-fat dairy products provide many benefits as part of a gout diet
- Legumes: beans and lentils are great proteins as are soybeans and tofu
- Nuts: nuts and seeds like almonds and sunflower seeds
- Drinks: coffee and tea
- Oils: when cooking, stick to plant-based oils like olive oil or canola oil
Going Beyond a Gout Diet
There are lifestyle changes you can make besides following a gout diet that can help relieve or prevent your symptoms. Making these changes isn’t only beneficial for gout but better health overall.
- Vitamin C (may help reduce uric acid levels)
- Drink enough water
- Lose weight
- Regular exercise
- Limit drinking and smoking
Your doctor may have additional guidance on managing your gout. To meet with one of our rheumatology specialists at Rheumatology Care of North Houston, call (832) 532-9779 today to schedule your appointment. We understand gout and will work to help minimize your symptoms.