Gout is a painful and complex type of arthritis that is associated with severe attacks in the joints, most often the area around the base of the big toe. It also is characterized by tenderness, redness, and swelling in the affected area. Symptoms of a gout attack often come on suddenly and without warning and many people describe it as feeling as if their big toe is on fire.
What Can Be Done About Gout?
The best way to avoid gout is to stay away from triggers that lead to flare-ups. This is especially true if you have a history of the condition. One often overlooked aspect is the food you eat. This is related to gout because the condition is at its most basic makeup an excess and buildup of uric acid, which can be closely related to your diet. Therefore, monitoring what you put into your body via your diet can be an effective, natural way to reduce flare-ups of gout.
Common Foods That Can Trigger Gout
Avoid these food to reduce gout symptoms and flare-ups:
- Purines: In general, foods high in purines are also high in protein and therefore advantageous. However, the following foods can be bad if you struggle with gout. This is because purines turn to uric acid once in the body, which of course increases your risk of gout. Many recommend gout suffers stay away from meat and cheese altogether because of their correlation with uric acid.
- Oily fish
- Red meat
- Organ meat
- Alcohol: Hate to be a party pooper, but consuming alcohol can also increase the risk of gout. According to a study completed in 2014, beer, in particular, was shown to increase the risk of flare-ups. If you can’t give up alcohol completely, opt for other forms and be sure to combine the consumption of alcohol with drinking plenty of water.
- Fructose: In the body, fructose is converted to glucose after it is consumed as a way to produce energy. This process creates uric acid as a by-product. When uric acid levels increase to elevated levels, nitric oxide is produced. This is all works together to increase fat, lower blood pressure and increase a person’s risk of gout flare-ups. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you can’t eat fruit, which also includes fructose as this is the naturally occurring fructose and doesn’t come with the negative elements of the fructose that is added into food and drinks artificially. One study found the correlation so strongly linked between the consumption of sugary drinks and gout that women who drank even one such drink a day were found 74% more likely than women who drank less than one such drink a month to develop gout. Men who consumed two to three such drinks daily were 2 ½ times more likely to experience gout flare-ups.
Drinking Enough Water
This one isn’t really something you are consuming but something you aren’t. Aim to consume at least 2 liters of water daily to help excrete uric acid and reduce your risk of gout.
If you avoid the foods listed above, you will at least reduce your risk of a gout occurrence. At Red Mountain Footcare, our podiatrist is happy to help you treat this painful condition and offer additional suggestions on reducing flare-ups. Give us a call today or schedule a podiatry appointment online.