In case you don’t know, gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by the painful swelling of joints, most commonly the big toe. In simple terms, gout is caused by a build-up of a crystalline substance, called uric acid, a product of protein metabolism. In addition to the localized pain, a gout sufferer may experience chills and fever as the body tries to deal with the inflammation.
Why it hurts
Uric acid is produced as a normal consequence of protein metabolism that is usually excreted by the kidneys. In the case of gout, either due to a hereditary pre-disposition, lifestyle, or both, these sharp-edged crystals are deposited in the joints, tendons, kidneys and other soft tissues, causing pain.
Men get it more than women. Gout is twice as common in men than in women and the incidence seems to be on the rise, along with so many diet and lifestyle-related disorders. The most common sufferer is male, above 40 years of age and overweight.
Think of taking a prickly burr and wedging into the soft tissues of your body, and you will get an idea of why gout is so painful. If left untreated, these crystals can form larger clumps around the joints that can be debilitating.
Health experts disagree
It is important to note that not all health experts seem to agree on which foods are okay for gout sufferers to eat and which are not, but most will tell you that a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables with a minimum of meat, seafood and processed foods will help, especially if you also be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush waste products from your system.
Having said that, here is a list of gout foods that may help you if you are at risk or actually suffer from this painful disorder:
Green leafy vegetables
Here is a list of foods to limit or avoid if you suffer from gout:
-Meat, particularly organ meats, turkey and bacon
Besides consuming gout foods, here are some general guidelines to prevent and treat gout:
-Maintain a healthy weight, since obesity is correlated with high levels of uric acid in the blood.
-Drink plenty of water to prevent the crystals from forming as well as helping your body wash out excess uric acid via the kidneys.
-Cut back on alcohol consumption, particularly beer and hard liquor, since consuming these beverages is associated with an increased risk of gout.
-Eat a healthy diet with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, with smaller amounts of lean proteins and healthy fats.
-Drink pure cherry juice, or eat a 1/2 pound of cherries a day. This has long been considered a folk remedy for healing gout, and it really seems to work.
-Limit or avoid foods with refined carbs and added sugar, since a correlation has been shown between eating sugary foods, particularly soft drinks, and the incidence of gout.
-Skip greasy, fatty foods, which are hard on the liver and the digestive system, and will make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
Of course, you should consult with a health care professional if you think you have gout. Once you have a diagnosis, changing your diet can help alleviate the misery and be part of a plan to avoid future attacks of this painful condition.
It makes sense that a healthy diet contributes to a healthy body. This is never truer than in the case of gout. Even if you have a hereditary predisposition, you don’t have to succumb to the debilitating pain of gout.
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Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided with the understanding that the author and publisher are not providing medical or nutritional counseling, and that it in no way replaces consultation with a health care professional.