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This was a recent question by a visitor to the site in response to a column about how great legumes are for you. The issue is that legumes can provoke a flare-up of painful arthritis in those who suffer with gout. This is the consequence of higher amounts of purine molecules found in beans, peas and peanuts.
Along with amino acids 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.
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. Many foods other than legumes contain purine molecules, however. The 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.
Eating healthy is about so much more for many people than just eating a low-fat diet. As with other important health conditions, information about gout is being added this week to the Special Diet Resources section.
Available on the Dr. Gourmet site today is a quick and easy guide for those with gout to print for reference. in the last few months every Dr. Gourmet recipe has been labeled for lactose intolerance and sodium content as well as for warfarin (Coumadin®) users. During April every recipe will also be labeled with information about how safe that dish is for gout.
Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!
March 27, 20006
Last updated: 03/27/06