Gout is a painful form of arthritis that occurs when high levels of uric acid in the blood cause crystals to form and accumulate in and around a joint.
Uric acid is produced when the body breaks down a chemical called purine. Purine occurs naturally in your body, but it’s also found in certain foods. Uric acid is eliminated from the body in urine.
A gout diet may help decrease uric acid levels in the blood. A gout diet isn’t a cure. But it may lower the risk of recurring gout attacks and slow the progression of joint damage.
People with gout who follow a gout diet generally still need medication to manage pain and to lower levels of uric acid.
How Does Food Affect Gout?
If you have gout, certain foods may trigger an attack by raising your uric acid levels.
Trigger foods are commonly high in purines, a substance found naturally in foods. When you digest purines, your body makes uric acid as a waste product
Foods that commonly trigger gout attacks include organ meats, red meats, seafood, alcohol and beer. They contain a moderate-to-high amount of purines.
What Foods Should You Eat?
Although a gout-friendly diet eliminates many foods, there are still plenty of low-purine foods you can enjoy.
Here are some low-purine foods that are generally safe for people with gout:
- All fruits are generally fine for gout. Cherries may even help prevent attacks by lowering uric acid levels and reducing inflammation.
- All vegetables are fine, including potatoes, peas, mushrooms, eggplants and dark green leafy vegetables.
- All legumes are fine, including lentils, beans, soybeans and tofu.
- All nuts and seeds.
- These include oats, brown rice and barley.
- All dairy is safe, but low-fat dairy appears to be especially beneficial.
- Coffee, tea and green tea.
- All herbs and spices.
- Including canola, coconut, olive and flax oils.
Following a gout diet can help limit uric acid production and increase its elimination. A gout diet isn’t likely to lower the uric acid concentration in your blood enough to treat your gout without medication. But it may help decrease the number of attacks and limit their severity.
Following a gout diet, along with limiting calories and getting regular exercise, can also improve your overall health by helping you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.