Which Foods are Safe for Gout?
Find out which foods to eat and which to avoid if you have gout.
Question: I have gout. Can you tell me which fruits, vegetables, meats or seafoods I should eat – or avoid? Is there any type of alcohol – wine, beer, spirits – that is better or worse for me than others?
Answer: Dietary management of gout is very restrictive and doesn’t always work to control gout, so a combination of medication and diet may be the best way to treat your gout. In addition to medications that treat the inflammation and other symptoms that occur during a gout attack, medications exist that can treat the underlying metabolic condition of hyperuricemia – too much uric acid in the blood. Hyperuricemia can occur either when the body produces too much uric acid or when the body does not excrete enough uric acid. Drugs exist to treat both causes.
Purine compounds, whether produced in the body or from eating high-purine foods, can raise uric acid levels. Excess uric acid can produce uric acid crystals, which then build up in soft tissues and joints, causing the painful symptoms of gout. Dietary management focuses on reducing the amount of uric acid in the system and attaining and maintaining a healthy bodyweight.
The primary dietary modification traditionally recommended is a low-purine diet. Avoiding purines completely is impossible, but strive to limit them. You can learn by trial and error what your personal limit is and which foods cause you problems.
High-Purine Foods Include:
- Alcoholic beverages (all types)
- Some fish, seafood and shellfish, including anchovies, sardines, herring, mussels, codfish, scallops, trout and haddock
- Some meats, such as bacon, turkey, veal, venison and organ meats like liver
Moderate Purine Foods Include:
- Meats, such as beef, chicken, duck, pork and ham
- Shellfish, such as crab, lobster, oysters and shrimp
Ronenn Roubenoff, MD
Global Translational Medicine, Musculoskeletal Diseases
Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research
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