A gout attack can be very painful. While there are a number of reasons why your uric acid levels may be elevated, making changes to your diet to reduce the amount in your blood may help prevent flare-ups. Consult your doctor to discuss uric acid in your diet.
Gout and Uric Acid
Uric acid is a byproduct of purines, which are substances found in food. In most people, uric acid dissolves in the blood and is excreted in the urine. Some people produce too much uric acid or have a difficult time excreting it.
For people with gout, a type of arthritis, the high levels of uric acid in the blood form crystals that settle in the joints, leading to irritation, swelling and pain. Part of the treatment for people with gout is to limit intake of foods that increase uric acid levels.
Having high blood levels of uric acid also increases your risk of kidney stones, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Purines in Food
Limiting your intake of foods high in purines helps reduce blood uric acid levels. High-purine foods include organ meats such as liver and kidneys, anchovies, crab, shrimp, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines, yeast and beer, as well as beverages and processed foods sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. If you're struggling to keep your gout from flaring up, you may need to avoid these foods. Red meat, other types of seafood and poultry also contain purines, and you should limit your intake to 3 ounces at mealtimes.
Foods to Include
Carbohydrates help your body get rid of uric acid, says UPMC, and should be the basis of your diet. That means more fruits and whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, oats, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta. Including nonmeat sources of protein, such as eggs, beans, soy, nuts and seeds, is also recommended to reduce purine intake and help meet your daily protein needs.
Round out your choices with plenty of vegetables, especially those rich in vitamin C such as peppers and broccoli, which may assist in reducing uric acid levels.
Also, choose low-fat or nonfat dairy foods, fat in food causes your kidneys to retain uric acid, according to UPMC.
Make sure you drink plenty of water, 8 cups to 12 cups a day, to help prevent the formation of kidney stones. Upping your intake of water also assists in flushing out the uric acid from your body, helping to reduce levels. Also, if you're trying to lose weight, go slow. Losing weight too quickly may also increase the amount of uric acid in your blood.