Gout is a form of arthritis associated with a rich diet and sedentary lifestyle. One way to prevent gout flare-ups is to make healthy lifestyle choices.
At the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey, our expert rheumatologists treat gout and all forms of arthritis. But they believe the best kind of treatment is prevention. With gout, that’s all in your hands.
Gout is a lifestyle-related form of arthritis that comes from eating a diet high in purines. Purines are substances found in rich foods, some of which would otherwise be considered healthy, such as:
Your body already produces purines and eliminates them by turning them into uric acid, which you then excrete. But when your diet’s too high in purines, the added purines overwhelm your system.
You produce so much uric acid from converting all that extra purine that you can’t excrete the acid. Instead, the uric acid collects in your joints, where it forms needle-like crystals.
That’s why, if you have gout, you may feel like you’re being stabbed in the toe with dozens of tiny needles. In essence, that’s exactly what’s happening.
The first way to minimize gout attacks may be the hardest: Avoid the foods highest in purines, such as red meats, shellfish, and organ meats, except as an occasional treat. Minimize ones that have moderate amounts of purines.
It’s always hard to make a major lifestyle adjustment that entails giving up something you love. Try, instead, to focus on eating more of the foods you enjoy that are lower in purines, such as:
Look into diets that already brim with healthy, delicious foods, such as the Mediterranean diet. Browsing through cookbooks, anticipating new flavors and dishes can take the sting out of eliminating some of your old, gout-causing favorites.
Don’t worry if you read that veggies like spinach and yams are high in purines. The purines in vegetables aren’t associated with gout attacks. The more veggies you can add to your diet, the better.
Another way to minimize gout flares is to stay hydrated enough so your body can flush away excess uric acid and dissolve any crystals that may be forming.
Drink plenty of water — whenever you feel thirsty — and replenish fluids after you work out. Avoid sugary beverages or those with high fructose corn syrup and choose:
Staying hydrated also reduces your chances of developing kidney stones. Stay away from alcohol, though — especially beer. Men who drink at least two beers a day are 200% more likely to have a gout attack, compared with non-beer drinkers.
By maintaining a diet that reduces gout attacks, you improve your overall health, too. In fact, you might find yourself easily shedding unwanted pounds and gaining energy as you cut back on purine-rich foods and eat more of the vegetables and lean proteins your cells need to stay strong.
If you’re suffering a flare of gout, contact us at the office nearest you — in Somerville, Flemington, or Monroe, New Jersey — for relief. You can also schedule a gout consultation to learn more about your disease and how to manage it through lifestyle choices, including diet.