1. What is gout? What causes it?
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by a build up of needle-like uric acid crystals in the joints. Uric acid is a breakdown product of purines that is part of many foods we eat. The crystals in the joints cause severe pain, tenderness, redness and swelling. In prolonged cases, the crystals may damage the kidneys leading to kidney failure.
2. What foods are bad for gout?
As gout is caused by acid crystals, foods that are acidifying to our body will worsen the acidity. Acidifying foods include:
– all meats, fish, eggs and seafood
– highly processed foods and drinks
Purine-rich foods: alcoholic drinks (all types), shellfish and other seafood, organ meat (liver, brain, kidneys..).
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends gout patients limit vegetables containing oxalates. Up to 25% of gout patients develop kidney stones, and limiting high oxalate vegetables may help prevent kidney stones. Vegetables that contain oxalates include:
– sweet potatoes
– swiss chard
– beet greens
3. How to reverse and prevent gout?
– Gout being caused by acid crystals, an alkalizing diet will neutralise the acid
– Drinking plentiful water helps de-saturate the uric acid and prevent crystal formation
– Exercising improves circulation and speeds removal of uric acid
4. What foods are best for gout?
a. All fruits (including lemon, cherries, papaya, etc.)
b. Besides an alkalizing diet, foods high in fibre, folate, vit C:
– leafy greens (kailan, broccoli, caixin, xiao bai cai/bok choy, …)
– citrus fruits (orange, lemon, lime…)
– brown rice
– whole grain pasta
– amla (indian gooseberries)
c. Dr Michael Greger says that although there has been medical advice that gout patients should avoid plant-based purine-rich foods, such as beans, mushrooms and cauliflower, studies show that vegetable intake, regardless of purine level, may be protective because of the alkaline nature of plant foods (tofu and beans are low in purine and acceptable in small amounts)
d. University of Maryland Medical Center recommends
– avoiding alcohol
– drink plenty of water (clean, filtered water)
– limit processed and refined foods
– eating more foods high in antioxidants and fiber.
The information shared here is for educational purposes only.
These opinions are not given as medical advice and not intended to replace or conflict with your decisions or healthcare providers’ advice.
1. “Causes of Gout” Arthritis Foundation
2. Michael Greger “Preventing Gout Attacks with Diet” (Video), NutritionFacts.org
3. Michael Greger “Gout Treatment with a Cherry on Top” (Video), NutritionFacts.org
4. Michael Greger “Treating Gout with Cherry Juice” (Video), NutritionFacts.org
5. “Eating Tofu for Gout” Livestrong.com