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Uric Acid, Gout and Food


Uric Acid

Uric acid is a waste product which is found in the blood. It is created when the body breaks down important chemical called purines. Most of the uric acid usually dissolves in the blood, passes through the kidneys and leaves the body in the form of urine. When there is too much uric acid present in the body, a condition called hyperuricemia will occur. Hyperuricemia can cause the formation of crystal-like formations that can over time settle down in the joints and cause gout, a form of arthritis that can be extremely painful. These crystals can also settle in the kidneys and form kidney stones. Therefore, it is important to spot the disease as early as possible and start with the treatment options available. Below are some of the symptoms that you should be aware of.


Symptoms

When this condition hits your body, it shows up through some telltale signs and symptoms, these symptoms may include –


1. Severe pain in the joints

2. Joint stiffness

3. Difficulty in performing joint movements

4. Redness and swelling

5. Misshapen joints


High uric acid is a serious health condition which is mainly triggered by foods and drinks which contain a high amount of purines, such as seafood (salmon, shrimp, lobster and sardines), red meat (goat meat, pork, etc), organ meats (liver, gizzard etc), Food and drinks consisting of high fructose corn syrup, and alcohol (beer, and other non-alcoholic beer).


One of the things that may help you manage your gout is to reduce the amount of purines you eat. Keep in mind that while what you eat can affect how much uric acid your body produces, the effects are small compared to medication. No specific eating plan will completely prevent flare-ups, but a good gout diet will help you:

  • Reach healthy weight

  • Set and stick to good eating habits

  • Limit foods with purines

  • Add foods that can help control uric acid levels

Drinks To Manage High Uric Acid


Green Tea

Who doesn't know the benefits of green tea? This elixir is famous for several health benefits, including managing high uric acid in the body. According to the studies, drinking a moderate amount of green tea regularly can help in lowering uric acid levels in the blood. The antioxidants present in green tea help in fighting inflammation associated with gout.


Low-Fat Milk or Skimmed Milk

Drinking a glass of skimmed milk or low-fat milk can effectively reduce the amount of uric acid present in your blood. Therefore, skimmed milk or low-fat milk (you can also have yoghurt made with these milk options) is a great rink for those who are fighting GOUT.


Lemon Water

Start your day with a glass of lemon water and see the magic when you are suffering from gout or high uric acid. All you need to do is squeeze a fresh lemon into a glass of water and consume it. Lemon water is rich in vitamin C which helps in neutralizing the uric acid levels in the body. Even fruits rich in Vitamin C like oranges can do wonders, but always have them in moderation.


Herbal Tea

A glass of herbal tea such as chamomile, lavender, green, and hibiscus not only helps your body to intake more fluid but also helps in managing gout problems. As experts say, increasing fluid consumption is essential to counterattack gout symptoms.


Coffee

Another highly recommended drink is coffee. Yes, you heard it right, drinking coffee can help you in managing symptoms of high uric acid. Experts suggest people suffering from gout can consume coffee made with skimmed milk or low-fat milk (without sugar). Consult your doctor before deciding on the number of cups you can drink, however, it shouldn't be more than 2 cups in a day.


NOTE: The above-mentioned drinks are suggestions to control high uric acid, do not take them as a medical cure. Also, consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.


Best Foods for a Gout Diet


You’ll want to go for low-purine options like:

  • Low-fat and nondairy fat products, such as yogurt and skim milk

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Nuts, peanut butter, and grains

  • Fat and Oil

  • Potatoes, rice, bread and pasta

  • Eggs (in moderation)

  • Meats like fish (fresh water), chicken, and red meat are fine in moderation (around 4 to 150gm per day).

  • Vegetables: You may see veggies like spinach and asparagus on the high-purine list, but studies show they don’t raise your risk of gout or gout attacks.

DO’s


It’s a good idea to drink lots of fluids -- 8 to 16 cups a day. At least half of what you drink should be water. Vitamin C (think orange juice) also can help lower uric acid, but studies also show that the high fructose in orange juice may boost uric acid levels, so drink it in moderation. Caffeinated coffee can cut uric acid, too, as long as you don’t overdo it.


Don’ts

Stay away from sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice. You also may need to limit or avoid alcohol as well. Talk with your doctor to find out what’s right for you.

While a healthy diet can help control how much uric acid is in your system, you may still need medicine to prevent future attacks. Talk with your doctor about all your treatment options.


Gout Triggers


Once got gout flare, you really don’t want another. To avoid them, it’s important to figure out the things that set off your symptoms. Here’s a list of the usual suspects which causes gout flare.



Foods

Some foods can raise the level of uric acid in your body, and that’s what causes gout. If you can limit them, you could head off another flare.


Red meat and seafood. Meat (especially organ meats like liver and sweetbreads) and seafood (like fish and shellfish) can be high in chemicals called purines. When your body breaks them down, your level of uric acid goes up.

Instead, go for protein from low-fat dairy products, like skim milk, cheese, and yogurt. You can also eat more beans, soy, and other plant-based forms of protein.


Sweetened drinks. Sodas and juices flavored with fruit sugars, like high-fructose corn syrup, can trigger gout flares.

For a sweet substitute, switch to flavored water or diet soda, which won’t raise your odds of an attack. In general, make sure to drink a lot of fluids. Aim for at least eight glasses a day, with at least half being water.


Alcohol. Liquor and especially beer can make you more likely to have gout. You don’t have to give up on cocktail hour forever, but your best bet is to limit how much you drink. Your doctor can help you figure out how much is OK.


Being overweight. When you slim down, you can protect yourself from another flare.

Fasting or crash diets. If you lose weight too quickly or fast, you could raise your chances of an attack.


High blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, and heart disease. These health conditions make you more likely to have gout, especially if you don’t get treatment. Work with your doctor to keep them under control.


Injuries or surgery. When your body is stressed or sick, you’re more likely to have a flare. Of course, you can’t always avoid this trigger. But if you need to have an operation, make sure your doctor knows you’ve had gout in the past.


Keep Track of Your Triggers


Gout triggers differ from person to person. Some people can eat a steak or drink an occasional beer with no problems. Others can’t tolerate a bite or a sip without a flare. So you need to learn what your triggers are.


Keep a diary of what you eat for a while. That way, you can go back and see whether you can link flares with specific foods. Then you’ll know what you really need to avoid.


Along with avoiding triggers, here are other things you can do to stay healthy and prevent flares:

  • See your doctor regularly. You may need to adjust your dose of gout medication over time.

  • Always have medicine on hand for flares. The faster you take it, the sooner you can control the symptoms.

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and plant proteins (like beans and nuts). Cut down on processed foods (like white bread, cakes, and candy).

  • Get regular exercise.


Anurag has expertise in Weight Management, Nutrition, Onco Nutrition, Behavioral Therapies, Stress, Depression & Anxiety Management, PCOD/ PCOS Treatment, Diabetes Reversal and Lipid Management, also certified for Nutrition needs during and after Cancer treatment. Currently associated with Lifeplus Hospital, Indiranagar and Cogent Care Clinic, Whitefield, Bengaluru. Let's connect

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