Dietary Steps for Managing Gout

More than eight million people in the United States struggle with gout — an inflammatory form of arthritis — with men outpacing women three to one. The prevalence of gout has been on the rise in recent decades and many medical experts point toward the rising incidence of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes as likely contributors.

At Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, our experienced team of podiatrists believes that one of the most important keys to preventing gout is education — namely nutritional counseling. Our team routinely helps patients manage this painful condition. Here’s what we recommend when it comes to diet.

Gout at a glance

Gout is an inflammatory and chronic form of arthritis that tends to affect the large joint in your big toe, though it can affect other joints, especially as the disease progresses. The primary driver of gout is an excess of uric acid in your body, which leads to the creation of sharp, crystal-like structures in your joint that cause considerable pain.

Gout typically presents itself as flare-ups, which usually come on suddenly and last for several days to several weeks. With each flare-up, your joints can gradually sustain irreparable damage, which is why preventing a flare-up in the first place is essential. And one of the best ways to do this is through your diet.

Foods to avoid when you have gout

To better understand how gout is tied to your diet, let’s take a closer look at the precipitating cause of a flare-up — uric acid. Your body naturally produces this substance to break down purines, which are found in your body, as well as in many of the foods we eat. 

Under normal circumstances, once the uric acid has completed its task, it dissolves in your blood, and then your kidneys expel what’s left through your urine. Gout can occur if your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys fail to expel the acid properly, leaving it to build up in your joints.

So, getting back to the role of uric acid — breaking down purines — it makes sense to reduce the amount of purines you have in your system as the first line of defense against gout.

The primary culprits when it comes to purine-rich foods include:

Another culprit is sugary drinks that contain high levels of glucose. Medical researchers believe that glucose raises uric levels in your body, so you’d do well to steer clear of sweetened beverages altogether if you struggle with gout.

Best foods for when you have gout

If you have gout, we recommend that you fill up on healthy fruits and vegetables, which contain low levels of purines and high levels of valuable vitamins and nutrients. Cherries, in particular, can work to actively lower the levels of uric acid in your body and reduce inflammation. 

For the most part, dairy products, whole grains, and eggs are also gout-safe foods.

The bottom line is that your diet can play a significant role when it comes to gout and making a few nutritional tweaks can go a long way toward avoiding an attack.

If you’d like to learn more about managing gout through your diet, please contact one of our locations in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Gallatin, Waverly, Smyrna, Murfreesboro, or Lebanon, Tennessee.

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Best Exercises to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis

If you’re met in the morning by searing pain in your feet as you take your first steps, you might have plantar fasciitis. While painful, this condition can be greatly improved by doing a few exercises at home. Read on to learn more.

Is Bursitis Behind Your Foot Pain?

At any given time, over 40% of Americans experience foot pain. One of the many reasons why foot pain develops is bursitis. Here’s a look at how inflammation in your tiny bursa sacs can have a hobbling effect.

Recognizing the Early Signs of Neuropathy

Millions of people are affected by neuropathy, largely due to diabetes. When caught early, there’s much we can do to halt and even reverse the nerve damage, which is why knowing the early signs of neuropathy is important.

HPV and Foot Warts: What's the Connection?

If you’ve developed warts on your feet, the problem stems from a viral infection, namely the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Here’s a look at HPV and how it can lead to troublesome, and sometimes painful, skin growths.

Safe Athletics: How to Prevent Ankle Injuries

There are few sports or activities that don’t involve your ankles, which makes them highly susceptible to injury. Here are a few tips for preventing ankle injuries so that you can maintain your active lifestyle.