Uric acid diet is commonly prescribed for the treatment of gout. As we all know, presence of surplus uric acid in blood, triggers gout, a condition that causes inflammation of joints, leading to severe pain. Uric acid that naturally occurs in our body is the result of metabolism of two substances; proteins and purines. In most cases, the condition specifically targets the big toe, but it can also affect the knees, wrists and hands. In order to combat gout, it is essential to considerably minimize protein and purine intake, which is nothing but diet low in uric acid.
Foods to Avoid
Uric acid diet, better known as gout treatment diet involves exclusion of certain foods, that are known to worsen the gout problem. Staying away from such foods, can reduce joint inflammation and help get rid of gout. Avoiding foods that raise uric acid levels in blood, is a simple way to ease pain naturally. Foods that should be avoided are explained below:
Alcohol, if consumed even in small quantities, can contribute to worsening of gout. This is because analysis of any alcoholic beverage (beer, wine, etc.), has shown that these drinks contain high levels of purine, thus increasing uric acid content in the body. So a person drinking alcohol, during this joint inflammation condition is indirectly 'hitting an ax on his own leg', as it can aggravate the joint pain.
Foods Containing Refined Carbohydrates
Foods made from white flour such as white bread, muffins, biscuits, sweet bread and snacks like potato chips are all high in refined carbohydrates and more importantly these processed foodstuffs have high purine content.
Protein Rich Foods
High protein foods being rich in purines, should not be included in uric acid diet. Poultry products that include chicken are some of the foods that come under the list of protein rich foods.
Red meat and even organ meats (brain, kidneys and liver) are often regarded as the worst enemy of people suffering from gout. The reason is simple: The purine content in these foods is very high and so their consumption is bound to aggravate gout symptoms. So, make sure you are at arm's length from lamb, pork and beef.
Fish touted as a healthy food, however has no place in this diet. Any type of fish be it herring, sardines, mackerel, halibut, cod, salmon or tuna are laden with purines. If you thought that except fish, gout sufferers can include other types of seafood in the diet, then you are wrong. Popular sea foods such as scallops, lobster and shrimp should also be avoided as they contain an excessive amount of purines.
Certain vegetables have high levels of purines and chief amongst them are mushrooms, green peas and lentils. So, people with gout arthritis need to abstain from eating these vegetables.
Foods High in Sugar
People who think that drinking soft drinks is one of the ways of getting rid of uric acid through urine, are completely wrong. This is because soft drinks contain high amounts of sugar, and recent studies suggest that people consuming sweetened carbonated soft drinks have a very high probability of suffering from gout attacks. Sweetened fruit juice, high sugary foods such as cakes, donuts, cookies and pastries, as well as fructose rich fruits (oranges) can worsen the pre-existing joint pain.
Foods to Eat
Foods that reduce uric acid levels in the body, need to be consumed on a daily basis. Indulging in low purine foods, will help in controlling this condition. These foods form an integral part of low uric acid diet.
High Potassium Foods
A diet high in potassium is another effective way to ease discomfort associated with gout. Studies show that sufficient potassium intake can boost uric acid excretion. One of the best sources of potassium are bananas and tomatoes. Tomatoes increases the pH value of blood, thereby making it (blood) more alkaline. This in turn encourages the elimination of uric acid.
Whole Grain Foods
Whole grain foods are high in complex carbohydrates that can contribute immensely in reducing uric acid levels from the body. Talking about whole grain products and one simply cannot forget to mention about whole wheat bread, brown rice and oatmeal. Include these foodstuffs in the diet to control gout symptoms effectively.
Gout sufferers should be very careful in choosing dairy products. Low fat cheese and yogurt as well as skimmed milk are some dairy products that can help combat gout.
Cherries contain high amounts of vitamin C and potassium, which help in reducing uric acid levels in the body. Anthocyanins, a natural flavonoid, is found in high quantities in cherries which bear anti-inflammatory properties and thus help in reducing pain and swelling. Drinking cherry juice can also help in relieving pain. Taking vitamin C supplements (after consulting a doctor) may also help to reduce gout pain.
To encourage elimination of uric acid, drinking plenty of water is crucial. Increasing water intake will help the body to flush off excess uric acid through urine. This is one of the best home remedies that can work wonders to decrease gout symptoms.
Uric Acid Diet Guidelines
On the whole, one should focus more on eating vegetables and fruits, rather than meat. Have meat products sparingly and stay away from salted nuts, junk and fried food. In fact, following a vegetarian diet can go a long way in managing gout successfully. Although beverages like coffee and tea have low purine levels, they are highly acidic. Gout sufferers are advised to ditch beverages and foodstuffs that raise blood acidity.
Along with the recommended diet, one should ensure that body weight does not increase. Losing excess pounds and maintaining a healthy weight is necessary to manage gout pain. Studies show that being overweight increases joint related problems. Exercise, such as walking, can help to improve flexibility in joints as well as reduce weight.