WHAT IT IS: Gout is a painful type of arthritis associated with a buildup of urate crystals, which deposit in and around joints and are then “swallowed” by white blood cells, which release inflammatory, painful chemicals.
YOU ARE AT INCREASED RISK IF YOU
• are obese
• are sedentary
• are an African American man or a postmenopausal woman
• drink a lot of alcohol
• have been exposed to lead
• have hyperlipidemia, kidney disease, diabetes, leukemia,
arteriosclerosis, or enzyme defects
• have a disease that interferes with uric acid excretion, including untreated high blood pressure
• have had a sudden or serious illness or injury
• take cyclosporine, diuretics, or aspirin
FOODS TO INCREASE
• Oranges and other citrus fruits. They have a high vitamin C content and are rich in dietary fiber, both of which have been shown to aid in the prevention and management of gout.
• Water. It dilutes increased urates.
• Coffee. Women who drink ten cups of coffee a week, and men who drink even one per day, caffeinated or decaf, have a decrease in serum uric acid level and a significantly lower risk of developing gout.
• Nuts, eggs, cheese, highly refined pastas, breads and grains, chocolate, and ice cream. These foods are low in a compound called purine, which raises uric acid in the blood.
• Low-fat dairy products. They are associated with a decreased risk of gout and have been shown to decrease the level of uric acid in the blood by 0.21 milligrams per deciliter, which can make a difference.
In a twelve-year study, men who ate the most dairy were at a 44 percent reduced risk of gout compared with those who ate little or none. Even just one serving of milk a day or one serving of yogurt every other day reduces the serum uric acid level.
• Wine. One daily glass of wine seems to protect against gout, possibly
because of its polyphenols.
FOODS TO AVOID
• Beer and hard liquor. A twelve-ounce glass of beer a day raises your risk of gout by half; a shot of hard alcohol daily raises it by 15 percent.
• Iron-rich foods. Many meats and seafood, and some fortified cereals, are rich in iron. When patients with gouty arthritis were brought to near-anemic levels of iron deficiency, the frequency of their attacks lessened, and the attacks were also less severe when they did occur.
• Meat and seafood. Over a twelve-year study, it was found that men who ate the most meat were at a 41 percent increased risk of gout compared with those who ate the least, and those who ate the most
seafood were at a 51 percent increased risk compared with those who ate the least. Limit meat, fish, seafood, poultry, and tofu to eight ounces a day. Tofu has been found to be the safest protein source, since it doesn’t raise uric acid levels as high as the other sources.
• Purine-rich foods. These include poultry, fish, shellfish, anchovies, gravies, sweetbreads, bouillon, cauliflower, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, mushrooms, navy beans, steel-cut oats, bran, peas, spinach, asparagus, and tripe. They all raise levels of uric acid in the blood.
TOP CHEFMD-APPROVED RECIPES
• Butternut Barley Risotto with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds
• Walnut-Scented Dessert Pancakes with Bananas and Agave Nectar
WATER-COOLER FACT: Bing cherries may help protect you from gout by reducing the levels of urate in the blood.