If you have gout, you know how painful it can be. Odds are, you’re stumbling around during a gout flareup because the condition probably affects your big toe. Such a little digit does a big job of helping you move and balance yourself. Often, when your toe hurts, you can be pretty significantly disabled.
Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when your body either makes too much uric acid or can’t get rid of it. Sometimes the foods you eat can influence whether your gout flares up. You don’t want to make things harder for your body, so it pays to know what to eat and what to avoid.
This holiday season, treat your big toe—and the rest of your body—right. Make sure to pass on high-purine foods and instead pile your plate with foods that may reduce the likelihood of a gout attack.
Foods to Avoid
Yes, foods can absolutely trigger gout. It’s all in the purines. What are purines? They’re essential molecules that are made by cells and found in food. They’re used to build DNA. But, they can also cause an increase in uric acid production, which is what causes gout.
High-purine foods include:
Meat—Red meat, such as beef and lamb, is especially high in purines, but so is pork. Limit your weekly consumption of these meats.
Organ meats—Purines are mainly produced in the liver and excreted by the kidneys, so eating these products can increase your uric acid levels.
Seafood—Seafood often has high levels of purine, but Mayo Clinic notes that the benefits of eating seafood generally outweigh the risk of gout attacks. Still, you might want to avoid anchovies, shellfish and sardines.
Alcohol—When you drink alcoholic beverages, your kidneys have to filter out the alcohol and get rid of it in urine. Guess what they’re not filtering when they’re doing that? That’s right; uric acid.
What to Eat Instead
For the most part, a diet that helps with your gout will be one that’s healthy in general. That means consuming whole grains, fiber, lean protein, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables. However, some foods may decrease the risk of gout, such as:
Cherries—Cherries and cherry juice have a lot going for them when it comes to controlling gout. Cherries are packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and may even lower uric acid levels. In a study of 633 people with gout, two days of eating cherries was associated with a 35 percent lower chance to have a gout attack.
Dairy—Dairy has been used to combat gout for 400 years, according to a review of studies. Dairy products, especially low-fat or skim milk, can reduce the amount or uric acid in the bloodstream, and they have anti-inflammatory effects that can help as well.
Vitamin C—Found in cherries and other fruits, vitamin C can lower uric acid levels. A review of 13 studies that had data from 556 people found a significant reduction of gout. The average dose of vitamin C was 500 mg per day.
Knowing what to eat and what to avoid may help you avoid gout attacks, but it is not a guarantee. If lifestyle changes haven’t helped your gout, Essex Union Podiatry can help. Request an appointment with one of our podiatrists today. We’ll go through your options, which include prescription anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids, and come up with a treatment plan that works for you and your life.