Foods That Help Lower Uric Acid Levels for Gout Relief
Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when high levels of uric acid in the blood cause uric acid crystals to accumulate around soft tissues and joints. If you live with gout, you may know that eating fewer foods rich in purine (including alcohol and some meats and seafood) can help you avoid a flare. So can eating a diet rich in other compounds. HealthCentral compiled a list of foods that can help you avoid the progression of this painful inflammatory condition.
While eating an abundance of protein-rich meats and seafood has been associated with an increased risk of gout, consumption of dairy products is correlated with a decreased risk of developing gout. Low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of protein to substitute for meats and seafood (which are high in purine and can increase your risk for a gout flare).
We know that proper hydration is good for many reasons. If you are living with gout, drinking enough water (a minimum of 10-12 eight ounce glasses of water each day) is essential to help your body get rid of excess uric acid in your blood. As uric acid levels rise, the risk of a gout flare increases significantly.
All fruits are low in purine and can therefore be consumed in any amount if you are trying to keep your uric acid levels low. Research has shown that cherries, in particular, help to lower uric acid levels in the blood, reducing the risk of a gout flare. Try fresh cherries for dessert; frozen cherries in a smoothie, or even cherry juice.
Most vegetables are low in purine and can be eaten without restriction in if you have gout. The exceptions are asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, and green peas, which contain moderate levels of purine. If you do consume these vegetables, limit them to no more than ½ cup per day.
A diet rich in whole grains, including whole grain breads, cereals, rice, and pasta, has been associated with a lower risk of gout. Researchers discovered that people who followed the DASH (dietary approaches to stopping hypertension) diet, which is rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, had a lower risk of developing gout.
Consuming heart-healthy oils such as flaxseed oil and olive oil can reduce inflammation. Talk to your health care provider about the benefits of taking fish oil supplements. Research has shown that fish oil supplements, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can reduce arthritis pain and inflammation.
Reducing your overall caloric intake and incorporating cardiovascular exercise into your daily routine can dramatically reduce your risk for developing gout. Carrying excess body weight makes your body less efficient at removing uric acid from your blood, which leads to gout flares.
The bottom line
Gout is a painful inflammatory condition that affects primarily middle-aged men. While some risk factors (such as heredity, gender, and age) are impossible to change, there are many lifestyle changes that you can make to dramatically reduce your risk for developing gout and decrease your risk for frequent flares.
The bottom line (continued)
Maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and avoiding foods high in purine are the best things you can do to manage your condition. Talk with your health care provider or registered dietitian if you need advice on how to make positive dietary changes to improve your health overall.