The Gout Diet and the Importance of Eating the Right Foods (3 of 6)
(calm music) – Let’s imagine it’s your birthday and it’s a tradition that you
and your family and friends share a delicious hearty meal together. Since this day only
comes around once a year, you figure you’ll splurge a little. You’ll eat at a nice seafood
restaurant overlooking the bay. You eat shrimp and tuna
and other fish and crab as well as drink a couple of beers.
At the end of the night, you feel good. Your stomach’s happy and full and this meal was the best
you’ve had in a while. Unfortunately, you may
have made a poor decision especially if you’re
prone to gout attacks. While you sleep that night, your body goes into overdrive
to digest a natural compound that’s found in your seafood platter. This compound is called purine. Certain foods such as
seafood, meats, and alcohol contain a high amount of purine and you just had a very high purine meal. Your body will work to break down purine and turn it into uric acid. It’s sent out of the
body through your urine. The problem arises when there’s an excess of uric acid in our system.
So where does all that extra uric acid go? It accumulates itself and crystallizes in
your joints which hurts. This is what we call a gout attack. So while you’re sleeping peacefully and dreaming of your next
crab cake or lobster roll, you are suddenly awakened
by incredible pain in your big toe. You can’t even bear to
have the sheet touching it. Before it was truly understood, gout was thought of as a
disease only wealthy people get. It was called the disease of kings since only wealthy people
could indulge in a lot of meat, seafood, and alcohol. Of course, a change in diet
is not a cure for gout. You still will need to
be on your medications prescribed to you by your doctor but it’s important to
note that a healthy diet may help decrease uric
acid levels in the blood, therefore, reducing the
chance of crystals forming in your joints.
Now that we understand a
little more about the effects of high levels of uric acid, let’s look at how diet
can help you take control. Your goal should be
getting to a healthy weight and maintaining a healthy diet. A gout diet is basically the same as any recommendations for
a balanced healthy diet. The key is to plan ahead
and make good choices.
Weight loss. If you’re overweight,
you increase the risk of developing gout. Losing weight will help lower your risk. Try to eat more complex carbohydrates rather than processed foods. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid foods such as
white bread, cake, candy, soda, and drinks with
high fructose corn syrup. Fats. Cut back on saturated fats from red meats, fatty poultry, and high-fat dairy products.
Water. Drink plenty of water. Increasing the amount of water you drink may help lower the number
of gout attacks you have. Drink eight to 16 cups of fluid a day and half of that should be water. Protein. Eat only four to six ounces of lean meat, fish, or poultry a day. You can get additional protein from low-fat or fat-free dairy
products, beans, and nuts. Lowfat dairy products
like yogurt and skim milk are linked to lower uric acid levels. Lowfat yogurt can be very satisfying as a mid-afternoon snack.
Vegetables. While some vegetables are high in purines, they do not raise the
risk of gout attacks. Your diet should contain lots
of fruits and vegetables. Try vegetables raw and cooked. There are a number of vegetables
that make a great snack while sweet potatoes cut in strips are crunchy and delicious. There are certain foods you should avoid. Stay away from meats
such as liver and kidney. They are high in purine. Red meat, lamb, and game meats should be limited to small
amounts on rare occasions. Stay away from oily
fish such as anchovies, herring, sardines, trout,
paddock, mackerel, and tuna. You should also avoid
shellfish like mussels, scallops, shrimp, lobster, and crab. Avoid all alcohol if you
have frequent gout attacks or your gout is not under control. Stay away from beer. Beer is known to put you at a
higher risk of gout attacks. Whiskey and other hard liquors
may be linked to gout attacks but not as much beer and
wine may be a better choice but you should discuss
this with your doctor. What might a day of
eating healthy look like? Breakfast. Try oatmeal with raisins and almonds and eight ounces of skim milk.
For lunch, a mixed green
salad with low-fat dressing and an apple. Dinner. Six ounces of boneless chicken breast, a baked sweet potato and cauliflower, and for dessert, mixed berries. In summary, there is good evidence that following a well-balanced healthy diet can decrease your risk of gout attacks. This diet will help you in limiting the number of purines and uric acid. Always keep in mind that a diet is not meant to take the
place of your medications. So the next time you pick
your hearty meal of choice no matter what the occasion, remember what is best for your body when it comes to preventing gout attacks.