Any activities that increase energy demands on the body also increase metabolism of purines, which produces uric acid. Avoiding stress and staying healthy are important for the prevention of attacks.
Because uric acid levels are only mildly affected by diet, dietary therapy does not play a large role in the prevention of gout. Still, people who have had an attack of gout may benefit from reducing their intake of purine-rich foods, particularly if they eat unusually large quantities of such foods.
While meat and certain types of seafood and shellfish do produce high levels of purines in the blood, research has suggested that not all purine-rich foods are associated with gout. Eating a moderate amount of purine-rich vegetables (spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms, legumes) does not appear to increase the risk of gout.
Dairy products, especially low-fat products (low-fat yogurt and skim milk), may actually protect against gout. Researchers have also found that taking 500 mg a day of vitamin C significantly reduces uric acid levels. They are investigating whether vitamin C can be used to prevent or treat gout.
Foods to Limit or Avoid:
- Organ meats (liver, kidneys, and sweetbreads)
- Red meat (beef, pork, and lamb)
- Meat extracts (soup, broth, and gravies)
- Seafood (anchovies, sardines, herring, fish roe, canned tuna fish, shrimp, lobster, scallops, and mussels)
- Yeast products (beer and baked goods)
Maintain Healthy Weight
A supervised weight-loss program may be a very effective way to reduce uric acid levels in overweight patients. Crash dieting, on the other hand, is counterproductive because it can increase uric acid levels and may cause an acute attack.
Review Date: 01/04/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.