Gout is the most painful type of arthritis, which was earlier known as the 'rich man's disease'. However, this type of arthritis can be easily identified, and hence, can be prevented and treated effectively. Gout is an outcome of very high level of uric acid in the blood. Having a high level of uric acid in the blood does not mean that you will necessarily fall prey to gout. Normally, the body gets rid of the uric acid through biological metabolism of purines. Now you must be wondering what are purines, and how do they enter our body.
What Are Purines?
Purines are vital components of the genetic materials present in plants and animals. They are the nucleoside bases present in the DNA, RNA, energy molecules like ATP, GTP, and coenzyme A. They enter the body through the food we eat, and are used up in structuring our genes. A lot of protein-rich foods are also rich in purines. Foods rich in purines include mushrooms, yeast, organ meat, legumes, etc.
Under normal conditions, the purines in the body are metabolized into uric acid, which is a waste material removed by the kidneys. Gout is a condition in which the uric acid crystals get deposited within the joints, especially the base of the big toe. This deposition causes severe pain as well as stiffness in the joints. Gout can be easily prevented with a few changes in your diet. A low purine diet helps to alleviate the pain caused by gout.
Low Purine Diet and Gout
Adopting a low purine diet is beneficial for preventing gout attacks which involve symptoms, like swelling, redness and severe joint pain. It helps to prevent the damage caused by gout attacks. It is said that, even surgical treatment cannot cure such damage. People find a low purine diet the safest way to fight gout.
Purines are present in almost all food items that are considered healthy. This is one reason why people find it hard to adopt a low purine diet. In their effort to avoid purines, people sometimes deprive themselves of essential nutrition. Therefore, it is essential to gain some knowledge about those foods that are low in purines.
According to the American Dietician Association (ADA) foods containing more than 150mg of purines per 100g are considered purine-rich foods, and should be avoided. Here is a list of low purine foods for gout.
Fruits: Cherries are said to be the best to fight gout. This is because, they contain compounds known as anthocyanins, which help to reduce the level of uric acid in the blood. All types of fresh cherries (sweet or sour) can be eaten raw, or can be cooked as per your choice. You can also have cherry concentrates or cherry extracts, if you can't find the raw ones. Apart from cherries, bananas and fresh fruit juices also help in relieving the symptoms of gout.
Vegetables: All green leafy vegetables prove helpful for preventing gout attacks. Your diet should include cabbages, peas, beans, celery, parsley, potatoes, bell peppers, and spinach. Avoid having too much of a single vegetable or fruit.
Dairy Products: Always look for fat free or low fat dairy products, like skim milk, and low fat cheese. Try having baked foods instead of the fried ones.
Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates include rice, bread, pasta, cereals, whole grain, etc. These foods can be consumed if you are suffering from gout attacks. A diet that is deficient in carbohydrates may increase the risk of diseases, like gout.
Beverages: Fruit juices, soups (especially cream style), coffee and tea, etc., can be consumed in moderate amounts. Avoid intake of alcoholic beverages, as they can worsen gout attacks. Drinking lots of water can prove beneficial as it helps to flush out uric acid from the body.
So you must include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with adequate fluids, preferably water or fruit juice, in your regular diet. This will keep you healthy and prevent gout attacks to a certain extent. Consult your nutritionist before making any drastic changes in your diet. Dietary changes will prove beneficial for gout, but don't forget to consult your doctor and take the necessary medication.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.