What Causes the Arthritis Known as Gout?

Along with amino acids that make up proteins and other molecules, purines are a source of nitrogen for your body. When they are processed, purines break down into uric acid so that the body can get rid of excess nitrogen. In some of us, uric acid is not processed properly, and the concentration of uric acid in the bloodstream is too high. When this happens, the molecule forms small crystals that deposit in joints, causing a painful arthritis known as gout.

As a result, foods that are high in purines can cause problems for people with gout. Limiting these ingredients is key to helping prevent a flare of the arthritis, but there are other measures that can help prevent gout as well.

Preventing Gout Symptoms - a Diet for Gout

One is to limit the intake of alcohol. We also know that people who are overweight are at higher risk for gout and weight loss is important in preventing gout flares. A low fat, heart healthy diet is valuable because high fat diets can increase the retention of uric acid.

Legumes such as peas, peanuts, beans and soy products contain moderate levels of purines. These ingredients can be included in the diet carefully, however. Many foods other than legumes contain purine molecules, and those foods more likely to provoke a flare of gout are most organ meats (kidneys, liver, sweetbreads), game meats (like venison), anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel and scallops.

Ask Dr. Gourmet

Dr. Harlan answers your questions about diet, arthritis and gout.

What can you eat if you have gout and diabetes and are on Coumadin (warfarin)?

My husband has gout, GERD, and is on Coumadin. What can I cook for him?

How many milligrams of potassium would be acceptable in a recipe if you are trying to bring your potassium levels down?

Would a vegetarian diet elevate my serum uric acid?

My husband has gout. What proteins can he eat?

How can diet help avoid kidney stones or gout?

Read More Ask Dr. Gourmet Questions

Handouts

To help prevent symptoms of gout, avoid foods that are high in purines. Here's a list of the purine content in foods.

Health and Nutrition Bites

Gout and Heart Disease
Remember back in Algebra class, when you learned that if A = B and B = C, then A = C? Well, medicine doesn't always work like math, with simple, straightforward lines of reasoning. Here's a good example...

Soft Drinks and Gout
Contrary to popular belief, gout is not a disease of the past. It actually is the most common inflammatory arthritis in men, and its prevalence has actually doubled in the past few decades. Those who suffer from gout are often told to limit their intake of purine and alcohol to help minimize attacks. However....

Gout? Drink Coffee!
High levels of uric acid in the blood are related to incidence of gout, which is the most common form of arthritis among adult males. Since coffee is one of the most commonly-consumed beverages in the world, does it have an effect on the incidence of gout?

 
 

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