Can Your Diet Increase Your Risk of Gout?

Can Your Diet Increase Your Risk of Gout?

Gout is a painful form of arthritis, usually affecting the joint in your big toe. It’s caused by a condition called hyperuricemia, which involves having too much uric acid in your body.  Although there are several risk factors for gout, quite a few of them are modifiable, including your diet. 

At Rheumatology Solutions, our team of expert providers treat many different types of arthritis, including gout. We can help you control your gout and avoid flares so that you can carry on with your life with less pain and discomfort. If you don’t have gout, but you worry about developing it, we can help you understand how to limit your risk. 

The cause of gout

Uric acid is a waste product that your body normally gets rid of by dissolving in the blood and passing through your kidneys. It comes from the breakdown of chemicals called purines, which are found in many foods and beverages. 

If the uric acid isn’t properly disposed of by your kidneys, it builds up in your blood, and you develop hyperuricemia. When you have hyperuricemia, crystals of uric acid form and can settle in your joints, causing gout. Gout happens most often in the joint of your big toe — the joint farthest from your heart. 

In addition to gout, hyperuricemia can lead to joint and tissue damage, kidney disease, and may even cause heart disease. There may also be a link between hyperuricemia and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and fatty liver disease. 

Risk factors for gout

Men have gout more often than women, and age is another important, and uncontrollable, risk factor. Others include: 

Finally, one of the biggest risk factors for gout is your diet. If you’re male, have a family history of gout, and you’re older, you may feel the deck is stacked in a way that will lead to gout. But, if you modify your diet and lifestyle, you may be able to avoid it. 

Why your diet matters

Purine comes from foods and beverages, so following a low purine diet can make a big difference in whether or not you develop gout, or if you already have it, whether or not you have flares. Such a diet may also help you lose any extra weight, which can lower your risk more. 

Generally speaking, a low purine diet is an overall healthy diet that is rich in nutrients and includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. 

Foods to avoid

Alcohol is high in purines, as are foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup. Other foods to avoid include: 

In some instances, it may be better to limit consumption of high-purine foods rather than completely omitting them. For example, the health benefits of seafood and spinach are difficult to deny, so including them in your diet could be beneficial. 

Foods to eat

A healthy diet includes a balance of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats, but that doesn’t necessarily help you know what to eat, does it? Here are a few of the foods that you should try to include in your diet: 

We can help you develop and refine an eating plan that suits your preferences and may help you avoid gout. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about your personal risk factors and what you can do. 

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