The Health Advocate

by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

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Got gout? You’re not alone. According to the ActiveBeat website, 1-2% of North Americans suffer from gout. While this is a condition that usually resolves itself without treatment, it is also chronic, meaning sufferers can experience many attacks per year.

What Is Gout?

Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood, which can then crystallize in the joints. Knowing which foods you should avoid -- and which are helpful -- is key to maintaining a gout-free lifestyle. Your physician can tell you if your symptoms are being caused by gout. Try the symptom checker at WebMD. To see if it sounds likely. If you don’t have a primary care provider, see if there’s a non-urgent care clinic in your community. Professionals, like those at Rural Health Services Consortium Inc., know how serious of a problem got can be. Take the time to educate yourself about it and your outcome will be better.

Foods to Avoid

It’s fairly easy to remember which foods might trigger gout. There are just a few guidelines to remember. Purine, a chemical compound found in certain types of meat and seafood (especially shellfish), is well-known for its gout-inducing propensities. Avoiding seafood such as salmon, haddock, tuna, anchovies, and shellfish will reduce your risk of attacks. Likewise beef and lamb also cause harm, and should therefore be consumed in moderation.

Meats and Diuretics

Speaking of beef, another quality that makes it riskier for gout sufferers is the fact that it’s high in fat. Rich sauces and fried foods should also be avoided. According to the Arthritis Foundation, adding extra pounds also raises uric acid levels, so anyone who is overweight is at higher risk for gout. Finally, diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol, when consumed excessively, are dehydrating, thereby making it harder to flush out excess uric acid in the blood. Fruit juices -- especially orange juice -- are to be avoided as well, due to their high acidity. When it comes to fruit, stick to eating it whole.

Gout-Friendly Foods

So what foods should you be eating instead? The answer is: Anything rich in antioxidants, such as sweet potatoes, fresh fruits and vegetables, and quinoa. You should also make low-fat dairy a regular part of your diet, as well as lean proteins like beans, lentils, and other legumes. Also be sure to drink plenty of water each day.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to keep gout attacks to a minimum. In fact, they’re useful for anyone looking to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

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