Gout was once known as a “rich man’s disease” back in the day. This was because the poor ate a lot of expensive food. Gout can be more common than you might think, thanks to the availability of many different kinds of food.
Gout is a form of arthritis that causes severe pain, swelling, and inflammation in the joints. Nearly half of all cases affect the big toes. It also affects the wrists, knees, heels, and fingers.
Uric acid, which is a byproduct of the digestion of certain foods, is easily eliminated from healthy bodies when it passes through the kidneys to become urine. If the kidneys are unable to process uric acids efficiently, or if the blood level is high, uric crystals can build up in the joints, which causes pain, swelling, inflammation, and other symptoms. Gout attacks occur when the body cannot efficiently break down the acids and uric acid levels are too high. These attacks are most common at night and last for 3-10 days.
Gout: Foods to avoid
Consuming foods high in purines (more than 150-200mg per 100g) can increase your uric acid level. These include:
- Organ meats liver, kidney, brain
- Red meats and game meats such as veal, venison and other red meats
- Seafood Crab, shrimp, and roe
- Fishes trout, mackerel and herring. Tuna, sardines and anchovies.
- Beer and alcohol
- Sugary drinks fruit juices and carbonated drinks
- Honey, agave nectar, and high-fructose syrup are all examples of added sugar
- Yeasts: nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast and other yeast supplements
Meats like chicken, beef, pork, and lamb, as well as fish, should be consumed in moderation because they contain moderate amounts of purines (between 100 and 200mg per 100g). Gout attacks can be triggered by eating too many of these meats. Salmon can be enjoyed in moderation because it has lower purines than other fish.
Gout sufferers can eat low-purine foods (less than 100mg per 100g) which are generally safe.
Cherry fruits may be a good option to reduce inflammation and prevent attacks.
Vegetables with high levels of purine, such as spinach and asparagus, don’t increase the chance of gout attack or gout symptoms.
- Whole grains
- Dairy products, particularly low-fat dairy
- Green tea, green tea and coffee
- Spices and herbs
- Canola, coconut oil, olive, and flax are all plant-based oils
Festive feasting that is Gout-Friendly
It is normal to eat, drink and be merry during Singapore’s festive seasons. It can be difficult for those suffering from gout to avoid food and drinks that could trigger an attack. These are some tips to help you stay healthy and happy.
Keep in mind that festive foods and drinks can be high in purines. They are usually made with lots red meat, seafood, and wine. Drink plenty of fluids and water to flush out the uric acids in your body. Be sure to let your host know that you have gout so that they don’t pressure you into eating or drinking anything that might cause an attack.
Limit the intake of purines in chicken, turkey, and salmon, and eat more vegetables and fruits.
Purines can be found in alcohol, and it can also impact the rate at which uric acids are removed from your body. This can cause an increase in blood uric acid. Spirits contain the least amount of purines, while beer has the most. Be aware that alcohol can cause your uric acids levels to rise. You can limit your alcohol intake to one glass per alcoholic beverage.
Everything should be taken in moderation. It may seem like a day of joy and feasting is worth it, but will it be worth the next week of pain?
Whole-grain unsweetened cereal made with skim or low fat milk
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- 60g roast chicken breast
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- Stir-fry vegetables
- Caffeine-free beverage
- Afternoon snack
- 1 cup fresh cherries
Roasted salmon (90g).
- Vegetables roasted or steam
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup pasta with olive and lemon pepper
- Yogurt with low fat
- A few almonds or walnuts
What can you do more?
Your doctor/dietitian may recommend that you lose weight if you are overweight. Being overweight can lead to insulin resistance which promotes high levels of uric acid. Increased exercise frequency can help you lose weight and keep your uric acids low. It is important to hydrate properly, as urinating can remove excess uric acids from your blood. Remember to drink more water when you exercise to compensate for any loss of water from sweating. Gout attacks can be triggered by alcohol consumption.
A dietitian will recommend a diet that is gout-friendly. This can reduce the symptoms of the condition and can also slow down the progression. You can also take medications to lower your uric acid level. Talk to an orthopaedic expert to learn how to manage your condition.