As a researcher and author, John provides information in an easy-to-understand way that helps readers understand their condition.
Why is a Gout Diet Important?
Knowing which gout foods to eat is important if you suffer from gout. Studies have shown that certain types of food can increase your gout risk, whilst some foods can help lower the risk.
Much of this centers around the cause of gout: high uric acid. When you have higher than normal uric acid in your body -- a condition known as hyperuricemia -- crystals of urate can form out of the acid and deposit themselves in your joints, causing painful gout.
Foods You Eat and Gout Risk
There are two issues with the foods you eat in terms of risk of gout...
1. Uric Acid
Uric acid is a by-product of the breakdown of chemical compounds called 'purines' in your body. But purines are also in your food, the levels depending on food type: for example, animal proteins have high to very high levels of purines.
As purines produce uric acid, then the more purines that are broken down, the more uric acid will be produced, and the higher the risk of gout.
The second issue is fructose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Research has revealed that sufferers who drink sugary drinks (which generally use fructose or HFCS) are at a higher risk of gout than those who do not.
Fructose is metabolized in a different manner to other sugars, resulting in increased uric acid production. So taking in too much fructose or HFCS can result in higher uric acid levels in your body.
It's clear then that knowing which gout foods to eat is vital, especially when trying to prevent your gout recurring: You may be aware that recurring gout can cause serious health issues, ranging from permanently damaged joints, to stroke, heart disease and even death.
Foods to Eat
The best gout foods to eat are those which are relatively low in purines: less purines = less uric acid.
Also, some of these low-purine foods can help to alleviate gout because of some of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they contain.
So, ideally, your gout diet ought to consist of lots of:-
- low-fat dairy products (studies show a link to a reduced gout risk)
- complex carbohydrates (rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins)
- essential fatty acids (help to reduce inflammation)
- foods with lots of vitamin C (studies show vitamin C can reduce uric acid)
- high-fiber foods (a study shows that these can reduce painful gout symptoms)
- foods rich in magnesium (to help relieve gout symptoms)
With that in mind, here's a list of the best foods to eat for gout:-
- Low-fat dairy: cheese, milk, unsweetened yogurt, etc.
- Complex carbs: wholemeal pasta, brown rice, noodles, wholemeal bread, cereals, broccoli, corn, onions, potatoes, carrots, yams, cabbage, lettuce, celery, cucumber, etc.
- Essential fatty acids: nuts, seeds , flaxseeds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, olives, olive oil, etc., and limited amounts of oily fish (6oz maximum servings once or twice per week).
- Vitamin C: berries, oranges, clementines, mandarins, tangerines, kiwi fruits, papayas, guavas, red cabbage, red bell peppers, potatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, dark green leafy vegetables, fresh herbs, etc.
- High fiber: dark leafy green vegetables, potatoes, beets, turnips, radishes, parsnips, yams, squash, etc.
- Magnesium: bran, dried herbs, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, almonds and cashew nuts, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate, pumpkin and squash seeds, etc.
- Animal proteins: You have to strike a balance between their health benefits and their high purine levels. And it is hard to stick to a strict diet. So keep your intake of fish, poultry (without skin) and lean meat to 4-6 ounces per day. (But see 'gout foods not to eat' below.)
- Hydration: Drink 2 to 3 litres of water daily to keep well-hydrated: It's more difficult for uric acid crystals to form in a well-hydrated body.
Foods NOT to Eat
As well as an understanding of the gout foods to eat, you also require to understand which to avoid or drastically reduce.
They will be those that are moderate to very high in purines and those which contain fructose or high fructose corn syrup.
So your gout foods not to eat or, at the very least, reduce markedly are:-.
- Meat: fatty red meat, organ meat, mutton, lamb, veal, pork.
- Game: venison, squirrel, grouse, pheasant, partridge, etc.
- Poultry: turkey, goose, duck, chicken.
- Gravy and soups: gravy, bouillon, comsomme, broth, etc.
- Fish: herring, anchovies, sardines, smelt, mackerel, salmon, trout, haddock, fish roe.
- Shellfish: mussels, clams, scallops, shrimps, prawns, langoustines, lobster, etc.
- Vegetables: mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach.
- Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, etc.
- Yeast: brewer's and baker's yeasts, yeast extracts.
- Alcohol: alcoholic drinks, especially beer.
- Fructose: sugary soft drinks, sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks, cola, root beers, applesauce, honey, molasses, maple syrup, table sugar, and processed foods like baked beans, etc.
In general, balance and moderation is a good recipe for life. And choosing which foods to eat for gout is no different, because you have to balance their effect on your gout against their effect on your overall health position...
Consume lots of those foods listed in Foods to Eat above. And, of course, drink plenty of water. These will not just help with your gout, they'll also help with your overall health position.
Completely avoid particularly high-purine foods such as fatty red meat, organ meat, game, gravies, shellfish, anchovies, herring, sardines, mackerel, fish roe, and yeast products.
Eat lean meat, poultry, and oily fish (e.g. salmon), in moderation and in small quantities (6oz maximum) to get a good balance between their overall health benefits and their negative effect on gout.
Avoid alcohol if you can; if not, limit yourself to a unit of alcohol per day.
And finally, avoid sugary drinks completely.
This balanced dietary approach, coupled with plenty of exercise and healthy weightloss, will provide a solid platform from which to stay free from gout.
The content of this Hub is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be a substitute for proper medical diagnosis, treatment or advice, and you should not assume that it is. Always consult your health-care provider / physician / doctor before taking any medications, natural remedies, supplements, or making any major changes to your diet.
© 2013 JCielo
Robert Morgan from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Gilbert AZ on June 08, 2015:
Gout is a crazy disease. I know i have helped many of my clients overcome it with dietary changes. I usually move them to a raw living food diet and see the gout clear up in less than 21 days. Thanks for the article.
Rajan singh on September 20, 2014:
This has really helped me a lot..thanks.
Abhishek Deo from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on May 10, 2014:
Add Your Comment..on march i got urice acid test it has 4.2 again in may 2014 it is 7.4 .should i get it cross check or the lever of uric acid increase so fast or the report is worong .
one more thing i want to ask can i drink milk and eat spinach if i am having high uric acid or not pls ans me thanks
JCielo (author) from England on May 02, 2013:
@HendrikDB @sarifearnbd @ChitrangadaSharan - Thanks ever so much for your welcome comments. In general, good gout foods to eat are also good for overall health, since they cut out saturated fat and sugar and optimise the intake of more healthy options.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 01, 2013:
This is a very informative hub about the Do's and Don'ts list for gout affected people. I am sure many people will benefit from the list and links provided by you.
Thanks for sharing this useful hub!
Shariful Islam from Bangladesh on May 01, 2013:
Voted up and useful! It is a very informative article. Loved to read this one and learnt a lot. Sharing!
HendrikDB on May 01, 2013:
Thanks for this - I am what you can call a chronic gout sufferer and I am almost 80% complying with the foods to eat listed by you. Will certainly go for 100%!