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Healing Kitchen

Gout

Certain dietary habits and foods may help to maintain healthy levels of uric acid and to ameliorate the symptoms of gout. Eating a nutritionally balanced diet and reducing saturated fat (found in animal foods) helps to prevent obesity and high cholesterol, which are both linked to gout.

Because foods rich in complex carbohydrates promote feelings of fullness, they can help to prevent overeating and are useful in maintaining a healthy weight. Furthermore, complex carbohydrate rich foods such as whole grains and starchy vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals, all of which promote health and well being. While weight control is recommended for the prevention of gout, note that people who are overweight should seek professional guidance in planning a weight-reduction program, because fasting or severe dieting can increase uric acid levels.

Studies indicate that unsaturated fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids) favorably affects cholesterol levels and possibly levels of uric acid. Unsaturated fats come mostly from plant sources and are liquid at room temperature. Avocados, fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, flaxseed, nuts and olive oil are excellent sources of unsaturated fat. In addition, essential fatty acids may help to ease the symptoms of gout because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Fatty fish, flaxseed, nuts, and seeds are rich in essential fatty acids.

Experts recommend that people with gout consume moderate amounts of protein each day and no more than 3-4 ounces of meat (about the size of a deck of playing cards) at each meal. A diet high in protein promotes the build-up of uric acid, which can lead to joint inflammation and pain. Eating purine rich foods—anchovies, organ meats and sardines—can also significantly increase levels of uric acid. Preliminary research suggests that individuals with gout may benefit from replacing meat-based protein with soy protein derived from tofu. If you are prone to gout, it’s also important to avoid alcohol, especially beer, because alcohol prevents the kidneys from removing purines.

In addition to consuming a low fat, nutritionally balanced diet, eating foods high in bromelain and vitamin C may be beneficial for people with gout. And eating celery and/or a half-pound of black cherries are two popular folk remedies promoted to reduce levels of uric acid and to decrease pain associated with gout.

Drinking plenty of water (8 glasses per day) helps to dilute and flush uric acid out of the body. Also, maintaining a healthy weight is key in preventing gout. Gradual weight loss is recommended for overweight individuals, as fasting and rapid weight loss can raise uric acid levels.

Mega-Recipes
We believe that it's possible to manage and/or improve certain conditions through what you eat. When we create "Mega-Recipes" for an ailment, we strive to include the maximum number of the nutrients that are shown to have benefit for that ailment. We also expect the Mega-Recipe to contain at least 25% of recommended intakes for those nutrients. See the list of recipes that have met our criteria for this ailment.

What You Should Eat & Why

bromelain
This pineapple enzyme may curb the synthesis of inflammatory substances in the body that can exacerbate the symptoms of gout.
Leading Food Sources of bromelain: Pineapple

complex carbohydrates
Compared with refined carbohydrates such as white bread and sugary foods, complex carbohydrates are useful for managing weight control (excess body weight is linked to a higher risk of gout). Foods high in complex carbohydates help to promote feelings of satiety (feeling full). Avoiding or limiting refined carbohydrates may help to maintain healthy levels of uric acid as well as triglycerides, which are often elevated in people suffering from gout. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates.
Leading Food Sources of complex carbohydrates: Broccoli, Potatoes, Pasta, wheat, Blackberries, Rice, brown, Squash, winter

vitamin C
This indispensable vitamin may help to promote the excretion of uric acid from the body.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin C: Cabbage, red, Strawberries, Kiwi fruit, Peppers, bell, red, Tangerines & other mandarins, Oranges, Potatoes

Date Published: 05/03/2005
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