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Can a Plant-Based Diet Help My Gout Symptoms?

Can a Plant-Based Diet Help My Gout Symptoms?

If you’ve ever experienced a gout flare-up, you want to do everything in your power to prevent another one. Since one of the best steps toward that goal is to make a change in your diet that includes avoiding certain meats, you might be considering going the extra mile with a plant-based diet.

At Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, with 10 locations throughout Tennessee, our team of podiatrists applauds your willingness to get involved in your health and to make the adjustments necessary to avoid problems like gout. Dietary changes have long been suggested when it comes to managing this form of inflammatory arthritis, and a plant-based diet certainly qualifies as a dietary change!

But is a plant-based diet more beneficial for managing gout? Let’s take a look.

Gout and your diet

Gout occurs when high levels of uric acid build up in your system, a condition called hyperuricemia, which can lead to the formation of painful crystals in your joints (primarily your big toe joint).

Your body produces uric acid as a way to process purines in your system, which come from two sources:

  1. Endogenous purines — about two-thirds of the overall purines in your system are produced by your own body
  2. Exogenous purines — those purines that enter your body from outside sources, like food

In either case, your body metabolizes these purines by creating uric acid, 90% of which is reabsorbed into your body while the remaining 10% is dispelled through your waste.

While there’s little you can do to stop natural purine production, you can limit the amount of exogenous purines that you take in to avoid uric acid buildup.

Some of the biggest culprits when it comes to high purine content include:

Clearly, eliminating certain animal-based foods can help control your levels of uric acid.

Going plant-based

If you’re contemplating not only eliminating certain meats and seafood but going the full distance by only eating plant-based foods, the odds are good that you’ll lower your risk of a gout flare-up.

Keep in mind that many plants also contain exogenous purines, but their health benefits far outweigh the risk of gout. The levels of purines in plant-based foods can range from low to high, but the higher end includes foods like shitake mushrooms and nori seaweed.

Make sure that when converting to a plant-based diet to not offset all the good you do by turning to processed foods to help satisfy you. The switch from a traditional diet to a plant-based diet may lead to higher-than-normal hunger levels, though your body will adjust over time.

In the meantime, if you’re satisfying your hunger with foods that have high levels of fructose corn syrup and refined carbohydrates, you may be negating the health benefits of your new diet.

The bottom line is that a healthy plant-based diet can do wonders for preventing gout and improving your overall health, and we see no reason why you shouldn’t embark on this type of nutrition program.

If you have more questions about the relationship between diet and gout, please contact one of our offices in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Columbia, Pulaski, or Lebanon, Tennessee, to set up an appointment.

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