Anyone who has experienced a gout attack knows how intensely painful it is. In fact, it's one of the most painful forms of arthritis, caused by a buildup of uric acid in your body. This normally harmless waste product is the result of digesting substances found in foods called purines, and dietary changes are the natural way to fight recurrent gout attacks. Obtain guidance from your doctor regarding the changes you need to make.
Gout and Purines
When uric acid builds up in your body, crystal deposits can form in your joints, causing intense pain, swelling and inflammation. A few risk factors are being overweight, eating too many purine-rich foods, drinking too much alcohol and having family members who have gout. Over the long tern, keeping your blood levels of uric acid below 6 milligrams per deciliter will cure gout and keep you free of recurrent attacks, according to an article in the March 2008 edition of the journal Rheumatology. A doctor can help you monitor your levels and stay below this limit.
Avoid High-Purine Foods
Adhering to a low-purine diet is a natural way to reduce your uric acid levels and gain freedom from gout attacks. Purines are mostly found in proteins foods. Some foods are high in purines, especially organ meats, anchovies, canned sardines, canned herring, trout and shrimp. Your doctor may advise avoiding these foods completely, particularly organ meats. Alcohol increases uric acid and aggravates gout symptoms, thus generally must be avoided.
Limit Certain Foods
Some foods contain a moderate amount of purine. Because these foods are otherwise healthy, you can have them in limited amounts. Red meat, whole grains, fish, shellfish, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, beans, peas, oats, oatmeal and spinach are examples of foods that contain a moderate amount of purines. You should limit these foods to one 3-ounce serving for meat and fish and one 1/2-cup serving for vegetables, according to the Myrtue Medical Center.
Get at least half your total calories from carbohydrates, recommends the medical center. Limit fat to 30 percent of your total calories, drink 8 to 12 cups of beverages each day and have plenty of water daily because it dilutes uric acid and reduces gout flare-ups. Tea, coffee, low-sugar fruit juice, low-fat milk and soda are low in purines. Switch to diet soda and have it in moderation. Regular soda increases gout attack risk, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Choose low-fat dairy, as it may help your body get rid of uric acid. Incorporate cherries into your diet. Eating cherries reduces recurrent flare-ups, according to a study published in the December 2012 edition of the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.