Gout is a painful form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. It is quite common and affects men more than women. Foods that contain the organic compound purine can trigger gout as the body does not eliminate the resulting extra uric acid quickly enough, resulting in crystals of the acid forming around joints, causing them to be red, swollen and stiff.
All animal protein contains purine, but some meat has more than usual. The highest purine offenders are organ meats and fish such as liver and kidney, herring, anchovies and mackerel. Red meat such as beef, lamb and veal, fatty fish and seafood such as scallops, lobster, shrimp and tuna are also associated with increased risk of gout attack due to their purine levels, so the Mayo Clinic advises a maximum intake of 4 to 6 ounces a day.
Alcohol is associated with gout attacks as it interferes with uric acid elimination from the body. The Mayo Clinic advises cutting out all alcohol when having a gout attack. Beer is the worst offender. Choosing one or two glasses of wine instead of beer will not increase the risk of a recurrence of gout symptoms.
It is yet unknown whether sugar has an effect on gout, but the Mayo Clinic advises cutting down on sugar during attacks in order to make room and appetite for recommended foods, such as plant proteins and low fat dairy products. As obesity is linked to sugar intake and also to risk of gout, it is advised that sufferers try to achieve a healthy weight through good diet and exercise to lower their risk of gout attacks.
Saturated Fats and High Protein Diets
According to the Mayo Clinic, saturated fats may indirectly contribute to gout. High protein diets such as the Atkins diet are also not recommended for gout sufferers as these will cause the body to produce even more uric acid which may result in hyperuricemia.
Asparagus and Mushrooms
Gout sufferers should avoid asparagus and mushrooms as they are a rich vegetable source of purine and add to uric acid loads in the body.