17 August, 2011
According to the Mayo Clinic, gout occurs when you have a high level of uric acid in your system, and uric acid is produced as your body breaks down purines -- substances found in foods including organ meats, asparagus and mushrooms. Gelatin is one of many foods that are low in purines, so it is safe to eat when you are undergoing an attack of gout or want to help protect against future attacks. Gelatin can be whipped up into a low-calorie dessert, and gout is associated with people who are overweight. So if you substitute gelatin desserts for cheesecake and maintain or lose weight, the number and severity of gout attacks may decrease.
A complex form of arthritis, gout can be extremely painful. As the Mayo Clinic explains, gout occurs when an excess amount of uric acid accumulates around a joint, usually in your feet or toes and often around your big toe. Normally, uric acid dissolves in your bloodstream and exits through the kidneys and is then excreted in urine. But when too much uric acid is produced or not enough excreted, it can build up and form needle-like crystals that can cause severe pain and inflammation.
Knox gelatin was created in 1890 by Charles Knox, who came up with an easier way to make the granulated product. Due to its ease of use, and Knox's advertising prowess -- he became known as the "Napoleon of Advertising" -- Knox gelatin, and gelatin desserts such as Jell-O, became household staples. Knox remains the leading brand of gelatin in America, as of publication, and it also is used as a remedy for arthritis by many people. The research into gelatin for arthritis has yielded mixed results, and there is no evidence to date that gelatin itself can prevent gout.
If you have gout or want to avoid future attacks, cutting down on foods with high levels of purines might make a difference. Foods to avoid include alcohol, organ and game meats, gravies, sardines and scallops. Foods moderately high in purines, which should be eaten in moderation, include fish, meat, poultry, whole grains, cereals and eggs. Foods low in purine, which can be eaten without restriction, include nuts, most vegetables, coffee, tea, fruit juices, soft drinks and -- last but not least -- Knox and other gelatins.
Gout is associated with obesity and with conditions associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. So using gelatin to replace high-calorie desserts, along with a healthy diet, might reduce the chances of gout. There are other foods that might relieve gout, including strawberries, salmon, flaxseed and olive oil. The Mayo Clinic notes that coffee, vitamin C and cherries reduce uric acid levels, but further research is needed to determine their precise relationship in treating or preventing gout.
- Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images