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▷ Gout diet plan: What to Eat, What to Avoid

Gout diet plan: What to Eat, What to Avoid

Gout is a type of arthritis, an inflammatory condition of the joints. It affects an estimated 8.3 million people in the US alone

Gout is a painful form of arthritis that happens when too much uric acid builds up and forms crystals in your joints. Your body makes uric acid after it breaks down a substance called purine, which is found in many foods.

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 a healthy weight
  • Set and stick to good eating habits
  • Limit foods with purines

How Does Food Affect Gout?

If you have gout, certain foods may trigger an attack by raising your uric acid levels.

Trigger foods are commonly high in purines, a substance found naturally in foods. When you digest purines, your body makes uric acid as a waste product.

This is not a concern for healthy people, as they efficiently remove excess uric acid from the body.

However, people with gout can’t efficiently remove excess uric acid. Thus, a high-purine diet may let uric acid accumulate and cause a gout attacks.

Fortunately, research shows that restricting high-purine foods and taking the appropriate medication can prevent gout attacks.

Foods that commonly trigger gout attacks include organ meats, red meats, seafood, alcohol and beer. They contain a moderate-to-high amount of purines.

What Foods Should You Avoid?

If you’re susceptible to sudden gout attacks, avoid the main culprits — high-purine foods.

These are foods that contain more than 200 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).

You should also avoid high-fructose foods, as well as moderately-high-purine foods, which contain 150–200 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces. These may trigger a gout attack.

Here are a few major high-purine foods, moderately-high-purine foods and high-fructose foods to avoid:

  • All organ
    meats:
     These include liver, kidneys, sweetbreads and
    brain
  • Game
    meats:
     Examples include pheasant, veal and venison
  • Fish: Herring, trout, mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies, haddock and
    more
  • Other
    seafood:
     Scallops, crab, shrimp and roe
  • Sugary
    beverages:
     Especially fruit juices and sugary sodas
  • Added
    sugars:
     Honey, agave nectar and high-fructose corn syrup
  • Yeasts: Nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast and other yeast supplements

Additionally, refined carbs like white bread, cakes and cookies should be avoided. Although they are not high in purines or fructose, they are low in nutrients and may raise your uric acid levels.

What Foods Should You Eat?

Although a gout-friendly diet eliminates many foods, there are still plenty of low-purine foods you can enjoy.

Foods are considered low-purine when they have less than 100 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).

Here are some low-purine foods that are generally safe for people with gout:

  • Fruits: All fruits are generally fine for gout. Cherries may even help
    prevent attacks by lowering uric acid levels and reducing inflammation
  • Vegetables: All vegetables are fine, including potatoes, peas, mushrooms,
    eggplants and dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Legumes: All legumes are fine, including lentils, beans, soybeans and tofu.
  • Nuts: All nuts and seeds.
  • Whole
    grains:
     These include oats, brown rice and barley.
  • Dairy
    products:
     All dairy is safe, but low-fat dairy appears to
    be especially beneficial
  • Eggs
  • Beverages: Coffee, tea and green tea.
  • Herbs and
    spices:
     All herbs and spices.
  • Plant-based
    oils:
     Including canolacoconutolive and flax oils.

Foods You Can Eat in Moderation

Aside from organ meats, game meats and certain fish, most meats can be consumed in moderation. You should limit yourself to 4–6 ounces (115–170 grams) of these a few times per week (20).

They contain a moderate amount of purines, which is considered to be 100–200 mg per 100 grams. Thus, eating too much of them may trigger a gout attack.

  • Meats: These include chicken, beef, pork and lamb.
  • Other fish: Fresh or
    canned salmon generally contains lower levels of purines than most other
    fish.

A Gout-Friendly Menu for One Week

Eating a gout-friendly diet will help you relieve the pain and swelling, while preventing future attacks.

Here is a sample gout-friendly menu for one week.

Monday

  • Breakfast:
    Oats with Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup (about 31
    grams) berries.
  • Lunch: Quinoa salad with boiled eggs and fresh veggies.
  • Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with roasted chicken, spinach, bell peppers and
    low-fat feta cheese.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Smoothie with 1/2 cup (74 grams) blueberries, 1/2 cup (15 grams)
    spinach, 1/4 cup (59 ml) Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup (59 ml) low-fat milk.
  • Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with eggs and salad.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried chicken and vegetables with brown rice.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast:
    Overnight oats — 1/3 cup (27 grams) rolled oats,
    1/4 cup (59 ml) Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup (79 ml) low-fat milk, 1 tbsp (14
    grams) chia seeds, 1/4 cup (about 31 grams) berries and 1/4 tsp (1.2 ml)
    vanilla extract. Let sit overnight.
  • Lunch: Chickpeas and fresh vegetables in a whole wheat wrap.
  • Dinner: Herb-baked salmon with asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Overnight chia seed pudding — 2 tbsp (28 grams) chia seeds, 1 cup
    (240 ml) Greek yogurt and 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla extract with sliced
    fruits of your choice. Let sit in a bowl or mason jar overnight.
  • Lunch: Leftover salmon with salad.
  • Dinner: Quinoa, spinach, eggplant and feta salad.

Best Diet for Gout: What to Eat, What to Avoid

What Is Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis that involves sudden pain, swelling and inflammation of the joints.

Nearly half of gout cases affect the big toes, while other cases affect the fingers, wrists, knees and heels (3Trusted Source4Trusted Source5Trusted Source).

Gout symptoms or “attacks” occur when there is too much uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product made by the body when it digests certain foods.

When uric acid levels are high, crystals of it can accumulate in your joints. This process triggers swelling, inflammation and intense pain (5Trusted Source).

Gout attacks typically occur at night and last 3–10 days (6Trusted Source).

Most people who have the condition experience these symptoms because their bodies can’t remove the excess uric acid efficiently. This lets uric acid accumulate, crystallize and settle in the joints.

Others with gout make too much uric acid due to genetics or their diet (7Trusted Source8Trusted Source).

Summary: Gout is a type of arthritis that involves sudden
pain, swelling and inflammation of the joints. It happens when there is too
much uric acid in the blood, causing it to deposit in the joints as crystals.

How Does Food Affect Gout?

If you have gout, certain foods may trigger an attack by raising your uric acid levels.

Trigger foods are commonly high in purines, a substance found naturally in foods. When you digest purines, your body makes uric acid as a waste product (9Trusted Source).

This is not a concern for healthy people, as they efficiently remove excess uric acid from the body.

However, people with gout can’t efficiently remove excess uric acid. Thus, a high-purine diet may let uric acid accumulate and cause a gout attack (5Trusted Source).

Fortunately, research shows that restricting high-purine foods and taking the appropriate medication can prevent gout attacks (10Trusted Source).

Foods that commonly trigger gout attacks include organ meatsred meats, seafood, alcohol and beer. They contain a moderate-to-high amount of purines (11Trusted Source12Trusted Source).

However, there is one exception to this rule. Research shows that high-purine vegetables do not trigger gout attacks (13).

And interestingly, fructose and sugar-sweetened beverages can increase the risk of gout and gout attacks, even though they’re not purine-rich (14Trusted Source).

Instead, they may raise uric acid levels by accelerating several cellular processes (15Trusted Source16Trusted Source).

For instance, a study including over 125,000 participants found that people who consumed the most fructose had a 62% higher risk of developing gout (17Trusted Source).

On the other hand, research shows that low-fat dairy productssoy products and vitamin C supplements may help prevent gout attacks by reducing blood uric acid levels (11Trusted Source18Trusted Source).

Full-fat and high-fat dairy products don’t seem to affect uric acid levels (1319Trusted Source).

Summary: Foods can either raise or lower your uric acid
levels, depending on their purine content. However, fructose can raise your
uric acid levels even though it is not purine-rich.

What Foods Should You Avoid?

If you’re susceptible to sudden gout attacks, avoid the main culprits — high-purine foods.

These are foods that contain more than 200 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) (20).

You should also avoid high-fructose foods, as well as moderately-high-purine foods, which contain 150–200 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces. These may trigger a gout attack.

Here are a few major high-purine foods, moderately-high-purine foods and high-fructose foods to avoid (6Trusted Source11Trusted Source20):

  • All organ
    meats:
     These include liver, kidneys, sweetbreads and
    brain
  • Game
    meats:
     Examples include pheasant, veal and venison
  • Fish: Herring, trout, mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies, haddock and
    more
  • Other
    seafood:
     Scallops, crab, shrimp and roe
  • Sugary
    beverages:
     Especially fruit juices and sugary sodas
  • Added
    sugars:
     Honey, agave nectar and high-fructose corn syrup
  • Yeasts: Nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast and other yeast supplements

Additionally, refined carbs like white bread, cakes and cookies should be avoided. Although they are not high in purines or fructose, they are low in nutrients and may raise your uric acid levels (21Trusted Source).

Summary: If you have gout, you should avoid foods like organ
meats, game meats, fish and seafood, sugary beverages, refined carbs, added
sugars and yeast.

What Foods Should You Eat?

Although a gout-friendly diet eliminates many foods, there are still plenty of low-purine foods you can enjoy.

Foods are considered low-purine when they have less than 100 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).

Here are some low-purine foods that are generally safe for people with gout (2022Trusted Source):

  • Fruits: All fruits are generally fine for gout. Cherries may even help
    prevent attacks by lowering uric acid levels and reducing inflammation (23Trusted Source24Trusted Source).
  • Vegetables: All vegetables are fine, including potatoes, peas, mushrooms,
    eggplants and dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Legumes: All legumes are fine, including lentils, beans, soybeans and tofu.
  • Nuts: All nuts and seeds.
  • Whole
    grains:
     These include oats, brown rice and barley.
  • Dairy
    products:
     All dairy is safe, but low-fat dairy appears to
    be especially beneficial (11Trusted Source18Trusted Source).
  • Eggs
  • Beverages: Coffee, tea and green tea.
  • Herbs and
    spices:
     All herbs and spices.
  • Plant-based
    oils:
     Including canolacoconutolive and flax oils.

Foods You Can Eat in Moderation

Aside from organ meats, game meats and certain fish, most meats can be consumed in moderation. You should limit yourself to 4–6 ounces (115–170 grams) of these a few times per week (20).

They contain a moderate amount of purines, which is considered to be 100–200 mg per 100 grams. Thus, eating too much of them may trigger a gout attack.

  • Meats: These include chicken, beef, pork and lamb.
  • Other fish: Fresh or
    canned salmon generally contains lower levels of purines than most other
    fish.

Summary: Foods you should eat with gout include all fruits and
vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, eggs and most beverages.
Limit your consumption of non-organ meats and fish like salmon to servings of
4–6 ounces (115–170 grams) a few times weekly.

A Gout-Friendly Menu for One Week

Eating a gout-friendly diet will help you relieve the pain and swelling, while preventing future attacks.

Here is a sample gout-friendly menu for one week.

Monday

  • Breakfast:
    Oats with Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup (about 31
    grams) berries.
  • Lunch: Quinoa salad with boiled eggs and fresh veggies.
  • Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with roasted chicken, spinach, bell peppers and
    low-fat feta cheese.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Smoothie with 1/2 cup (74 grams) blueberries, 1/2 cup (15 grams)
    spinach, 1/4 cup (59 ml) Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup (59 ml) low-fat milk.
  • Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with eggs and salad.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried chicken and vegetables with brown rice.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast:
    Overnight oats — 1/3 cup (27 grams) rolled oats,
    1/4 cup (59 ml) Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup (79 ml) low-fat milk, 1 tbsp (14
    grams) chia seeds, 1/4 cup (about 31 grams) berries and 1/4 tsp (1.2 ml)
    vanilla extract. Let sit overnight.
  • Lunch: Chickpeas and fresh vegetables in a whole wheat wrap.
  • Dinner: Herb-baked salmon with asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Overnight chia seed pudding — 2 tbsp (28 grams) chia seeds, 1 cup
    (240 ml) Greek yogurt and 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla extract with sliced
    fruits of your choice. Let sit in a bowl or mason jar overnight.
  • Lunch: Leftover salmon with salad.
  • Dinner: Quinoa, spinach, eggplant and feta salad.

Friday

  • Breakfast: French toast with strawberries.
  • Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with boiled eggs and salad.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried tofu and vegetables with brown rice.

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Mushroom and zucchini frittata.
  • Lunch: Leftover stir-fried tofu and brown rice.
  • Dinner: Homemade chicken burgers with a fresh salad.

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Two-egg omelet with spinach and mushrooms.
  • Lunch: Chickpeas and fresh vegetables in a whole wheat wrap.
  • Dinner: Scrambled egg tacos — scrambled eggs with spinach and bell peppers
    on whole wheat tortillas.

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