Goodbye to Gout

  • 1 Oct 2010
  • Reading time 11 mins
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Gout is actually a form of arthritis, sometimes called gouty arthritis. The cause of gout is thought to be a build-up of uric acid, a substance in the blood that should be excreted from the body via the kidneys.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from the painful symptoms of gout, you will probably be prescribed NSAIDs (in the absence of kidney or digestive problems) or another form of drug to lower urate levels. Other measures include a low purine diet, weight loss in the case of obesity and lowering alcohol intake.

Reduce intake of purines and protein

Certain foods are rich in naturally occurring substances called purines, which are metabolised into uric acid. Purines are not bad for you as such – in fact they are essential, but excessive consumption is associated with increased risk for gout. The same is true with excessive consumption of protein. The most concentrated sources of purines are red meat, organ meat and oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, and herring), as well as lentils, peas and beans.

The table below shows you the richest foods:

Food SourcePurine Content
Anchovies 411
Sardines (tinned) 399
Herrings (tinned) 378
Sardines (fresh) 345
Pork liver 289
Salmon 250
Mackerel (tinned) 246
Chicken liver 243
Blackeye beans 230
Lentils 222

If you are actively suffering from gout, it is best to limit your intake of these until the gout has gone away. Your ability to tolerate purine-rich foods, in moderation, will probably return once you are following a low GL diet.

Cut back on alcohol

The more alcohol you drink, the greater becomes your risk. Port and also red wines have been associated with gout for many years, however, a more recent study finds that beer is worse. Published in The Lancet, this study involved 50,000 men and found that while drinking alcohol is linked with an increased risk of developing gout, the consumption of beer had the strongest association, followed by spirits, then wine.1

Also, make sure you drink plenty of water which helps to flush out excess uric acid and improve kidney clearance. Exercise also helps.

Avoid high-fructose drinks ......
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