While gout, a painful form of arthritis that causes inflammation and swelling of the joints, has no links to what you eat or drink, diet is an important part of the management plan. Uric acid, a byproduct of certain foods, exacerbates gout. Tea doesn't have any impact on uric acid levels and shouldn't cause gout or a gout attack. Talk to your doctor about how to manage your gout or if you have any concerns about how your diet is affecting gout symptoms.
About Uric Acid
Uric acid is a chemical made by your body after it breaks down purines, which occur in a variety of foods and beverages. Uric acid is usually dissolved in the blood and eliminated in the urine. People with gout, however, don't eliminate uric acid as easily, and it builds up in the blood, settles in the joints and forms crystals, which leads to painful swelling of the joints. While prescription medications often are a tool to help manage gout, decreasing your intake of purines is also a recommendation.
Iced Tea and Uric Acid
Iced tea isn't one of the beverages that creates uric acid. A 2007 study published in Arthritis Care and Research investigated the effects of tea and coffee on uric acid levels in a large sample of men and women from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The researchers found that tea had no impact on uric acid levels. While more research may be necessary to determine that tea -- including iced tea -- has no impact on gout, based on the results of this study, drinking a glass of iced tea doesn't appear to increase uric acid levels and shouldn't bring on a gout attack.
Diet for Gout
Limiting your intake of foods high in purines is important for managing your gout and preventing an attack. High-purine foods and drinks that you need to severely restrict or eliminate from your diet include organ meats such as liver and kidneys, anchovies, mackerel, shrimp and beer. Animal proteins, such as meat and poultry, are also a source of purines, and you should reduce your intake to 3 ounces per meal.
Instead, fill your diet with fruits, vegetables and healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains to help reduce uric acid levels.
Tea to Help Gout
When you have gout, drink plenty of fluids -- 8 cups to 12 cups a day -- to help your body get rid of the uric acid in your blood. An increase in fluid intake also helps prevent the formation of kidney stones. Iced tea can serve as a source of fluid in your diet for gout. To keep calories under control, drink unsweetened iced tea and use a squeeze of lemon to add flavor. If you're concerned about caffeine, drink decaf iced tea.