A gout attack, as any sufferer knows, is one of the most painful experiences that most of us are likely to encounter from a medical condition. Unfortunately if you encounter one gout attack then you are likely to experience another too unless you take steps to try and prevent it. This was supported in a recent study in which gout was shown to reoccur in over 70% of patients. Meanwhile in a survey of 100 gout sufferers it was found that the average number of attacks was three in a year. Fortunately, by understanding the essentials regarding how an attack occurs and what the contributory factors are, it is possible to largely avoid these reoccurrences and to save yourself unnecessary agony.
Gout is actually a form of arthritis (there are actually over 100 different types of arthritis, many with different causes) but unlike, for example, osteoarthritis it can be prevented. Here the main problem that causes the condition is the excessive amount of uric acid produced in the body. Normally our bodies will later eliminate this acid by processing it, but when the build up gets too high it will instead enter the blood stream and then crystallising into sharp and hard deposits that collect around your joints and cause a lot pain and stiffness. Our bodies create this uric acid naturally, but the precise amount we produce depends on various factors including our lifestyles and diets. Specifically it is related to amount of protein we consume in our diet and it is the process of this protein being broken down into amino acids by enzymes that results in the by-product of uric acid. As such there are various changes we can make to our diet which will prevent us from developing gout attacks or at least help the condition. Some of these include:
1. Berries – (e.g. cherries, blueberries, strawberries etc). These are a great natural uric acid neutraliser and will counter the PH value of the acid. At the same time they are high in both vitamin C and magnesium which aid the digestive system thereby leaving less uric acid as a by-product of the protein break down.
2. Fruits and Vegetables – Of course you can also find vitamin C in a lot of other fruits and vegetables such as apples and oranges. Alternatively vitamin C and/or magnesium can be taken as a dietary supplement, though this will miss out on some of the other positive benefits of eating fruit. Fruits are also anti-inflammatory which will lessen the joint pain and also prevent the joints from eroding which would potentially cause more permanent and untreatable forms of arthritis such as osteoarthritis.
3. Water – Drinking water will help with a large number of problems in the body and is one of the single most important parts of our diet. Drinking water helps gout because it ‘flushes’ the system of toxins and waste including excess uric acid in your system.
4. Garlic – Garlic is a ‘super food’ that has a number of advantages and is also considered one of the number one foods for lowering cholesterol. Not only is garlic a great source of vitamins and minerals, as well as an excellent source of fibre, but the sulphur it contains is also an important way to regulate uric acid levels. Alternatively you can eat onions which have a less pungent smell, or a garlic supplement that comes in pill form.
5. Eat More Fats and Oils – It is a big misconception that fats and oils are inherently ‘bad’ for you, and they actually serve many important roles in the body. Among these is there importance in helping with ‘protein synthesis’ which makes the body more efficient at using protein for its amino acids (which to us means a decreased likelihood of gout attack). Essential fatty acids include omega 3 and 6 among others, and can again be taken as dietary supplements. Alternatively they can be found in fish such as tuna and salmon, nuts, flaxseed and other sources.
6. Eat More Fibre – Fibre, like water, will help to flush your system of by-products and waste products in your blood stream. There are many sources of fibre you can use from nuts, to cereals, to wheat to citrus fruits. Alternatively they can again be found as supplements.
7. Eat Less Protein – Obviously if uric acid is caused by the body breaking down protein, then overdosing on protein is a sure way to cause a gout attack. If you eat a more than average amount of protein then this is something you might want to address. Of course our bodies do need amino acids however so it is important not to leave them out completely. Taking amino acids as a supplement then can help you get those vital building blocks without producing any unwanted uric acid.
By making all of these changes then you should drastically limit your chances of having a gout attack. If you want a quicker and easier solution meanwhile then a supplements stack of: amino acids, omega 3 fatty acid, multivitamins, garlic tablets and fibre should help you to recover. If you only make one change to your diet, it should be to drink more water.