Gout is a physical condition that occurs when the body accumulates too much uric acid. It is more common in men than women and more common in people between ages 30 and 60, characterized by swelling of the joints and pain. Uric acid is produced naturally by the body when it breaks down purines, but for one reason or another sometimes either the kidneys are unable to flush out the excess uric acid or the body produces too much of it to be removed. The uric acid then builds up in the joints, causes them to swell and gout is the end result. One helpful way to reduce the amount of uric acid within the body is to reduce the amount of purines that one consumes through their diet and this is why we’ve compiled a list of foods high in uric acid (or purines before they are broken down) so that you can avoid them and reduce the effects of gout.
Red meat is probably the most well known foods high in uric acid causing purines. Try to avoid beef, lamb, venison and mutton and instead replace them with white meats such as chicken or duck, which don’t contain as many purines but should be eaten only occasionally. Even better replacements are vegetarian alternatives such as Quorn or tofu. Avoid bacon at all costs if you are at high risk of gout as this meat contains the highest levels of purines.
Unfortunately for the alcohol lovers, drinks that contain yeast such as ale, beer and lager are foods high in uric acid causing purines too. This means little or no bread either. Try and replace bread in meals with other carbs such as rice or potatoes (preferably wholegrain as a low fat alternative) and replace yeast containing alcoholic beverages with non-yeast containing ones such as cider, cocktails or spirit mixes.
Another of the foods high in uric acid, seafood is somewhat harder to replace than red meat. Again, try to replace it with chicken or vegetarian tofu for a healthier and lower uric acid causing alternative.
One of the easiest ways to follow a diet that excludes eating foods high in uric acid causing purines is to plan your weekly meals before you do your weekly shop. Write it out like a rota and this way you can make sure you’re not tempted to buy beer, bacon, seafood or whatever else is likely to cause you gout. You’ll probably find that this system helps you to cut down on your weekly food expenditure too.
While changing your diet to suit one that is low in purines, this is not the only measure that someone suffering from gout should take. For instance, doing strenuous and repetitive exercise will only exacerbate the symptoms of gout and so this should be avoided. If you do develop particularly bad or sudden gout symptoms then you should also keep the joint cool (in water or with an ice pack) and keep it raised too. Above all, those who think they may have gout should discuss the condition with their doctor who may be able to prescribe non-intrusive and helpful medication.
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