About 8.3 million Americans suffer from gout, a form of arthritis resulting in painful and swollen joints. Dietary modifications, such as reducing purines in your diet, can help lower uric acid, and this can help prevent symptoms of gout from becoming worse. If you think you are suffering from gout, see a medical health professional. Dietary modifications are not a substitute for medical treatment.
Gout, Uric Acid and Purines
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis resulting from high levels of uric acid in the blood. The body makes uric acid from purines found in foods. Eating foods high in purines causes lots a build up or uric acid triggers or worsens gout symptoms. Lowering your levels of uric acid is a common method for treating gout. A study published in a 2012 issue of the “Annals of Rheumatic Disease” examined the relationship between people's diets and gout attacks. The researchers found that the more purine-rich foods people ate -- especially from animals -- the higher the risk of a gout attack.
Foods that are low in purines include vegetables such as salad greens, eggplant, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, celery, peppers, onions, squash, corn and potatoes.
Fruit, including bananas, apples, grapes, oranges, berries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, peaches and pears, is also low in purines.
Enriched breads, cereals, rice, noodles, pasta and potatoes are good choices.
Good sources of protein include low-fat milk, yogurt, eggs, peanut butter, nuts and cheese.
Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, coffee, tea or fruit juices, will also help dilute the uric acid.
Foods to Limit
Try to eat no more than one serving of high-purine foods each day. For example, don't eat more than 2/3 cup of oatmeal or more than 1/4 cup of wheat bran or germ. Some vegetables -- such as mushrooms, green peas, dried peas and beans, spinach, asparagus and cauliflower -- are high in purines.
Since many animal foods are especially high in purines, limit the amount of poultry, fish, shellfish, beef, lamb, pork and veal you eat to 4 to 6 ounces a day, depending on your doctor's or dietitian's instructions. A 3-ounce portion of meat is the size of a deck of cards. Limit dried peas, beans and lentils to no more than 1 cup cooked a day.
Baker’s and brewer’s yeast, gravies and meat sauces, stock-based soups and soups that are bouillon- and broth-based are also high in purines. Try to eliminate alcoholic beverages from your diet.
Some good breakfast ideas include enriched, ready-to-eat cereals with milk as well as fruit and eggs. Another idea is toast with peanut butter and a piece of fruit or yogurt mixed with nuts. Juice, coffee and water are good beverage choices.
Lunch could be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or grilled cheese sandwich, an apple and carrot sticks. You could also have a salad with hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
For dinner, try 3 ounces of meat such as chicken or fish with a side of rice or a slice of bread or a baked potato plus sliced cucumbers and onions with vinegar and olive oil dressing. You could also have meatless cheese lasagna with a side of vegetables, such as green beans, and garlic bread. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.