How to Apply Food Therapy to Treat Gout

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Gout - aching wrist

Gout is a form of arthritis that can cause immense pain and swelling in the joints. It is caused by the buildup of uric acid in the blood, which can lead to the formation of crystals in the joints. Although there are medications that can help to manage gout, nutritional therapy may also be beneficial.

A diet that is high in purines can increase the risk of developing gout, as purines are converted to uric acid in the body. Therefore, it is important to eat foods that are low in purines. These include most fruits and vegetables, as well as low-fat dairy products and lean meats. Incorporating these foods into your diet may help to reduce the symptoms of gout. In addition to following a healthy diet, it is also important to stay hydrated.

Gout treatment

Food therapy can be utilised to treat and prevent gout by nutritional therapists. The therapist typically aims to prescribe a nutrition plan, that aims to reduce the symptoms of gout attacks or prevent the occurrence of further attacks. This can be done through exclusion or limitations of foods that are high in purine and alcohol, adequate water intake and inclusion of anti-inflammatory foods. Diet modifications rely on inducing changes that aim to induce positive outcomes in the treatment of symptoms which lead to pain reduction and reduced occurrences of gout attacks. Such dietary modifications typically consist of simple nutritional advice that is to be adhered to by the patient.

Nutritional guidelines

Following guidelines can be implemented to successfully manage gout, its symptoms and reduce the number of flare-ups that decrease overall life quality(1,2,3):

  • Reducing or eliminating alcohol intake, especially beer
  • Taking care of adequate hydration by drinking a lot of water and other non-alcoholic beverages
  • Eating more low-fat or non-fat dairy products
  • Avoiding high purine foods or limiting their intake. Such foods include: organ meats, such as kidney, liver, sweetbreads etc., seafood and some types of fish such as sardines, anchovies and herring, hover it is to be noted that certain fish (e.g. salmon) might be an exception due to their omega-3 fatty acids content that has anti-inflammatory effects and positively affect general health and overall wellbeing
  • Limiting the intake of beef and other red meats due to their high purine content
  • Being cautious about some vegetables, such as asparagus, cauliflower, or mushrooms, however again it is to be noted, that the vegetable foods high in purine do not generally worsen the gout symptoms the same way that animal products do and on the other hand, they also bring certain health benefits, so their consumption in limited amounts is generally considered as safe
  • Limiting the intake of refined sugars, such as sweetened sugary drinks, especially those high in high
  • Losing the excess weight as being overweight is linked to increase production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and therefore might aggravate the symptoms of gout(4)

References:

  1. Healthline, Gout Treatment and Prevention, accessed on 15/05/21, available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/gout-treatments#traditional-treatments
  2. Beth W. Orenstein, What Not to Eat When You Have Gout, accessed on 15/05/21, available at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/gout-pictures/what-not-to-eat-when-you-have-gout.aspx
  3. MayoClinic, Gout diagnosis & treatment, accessed on 15/05/21, available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gout/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372903
  4. Felicia Stoler, Obesity and Inflammation: A Vicious Cycle, accessed on 15/05/21, available at: https://www.endocrineweb.com/obesity-inflammation-cycle

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