How to manage and prevent gout?
1. Losing WeightAchieving a healthy weight reduces the uric acid in body and the number of gout attacks. It also relieves your joints by reducing the stress from having too much weight. When losing weight however, it’s good to have a gradual weight loss. Rapid weight loss increases uric acid levels in the body and can cause you gout attacks. Avoid crash diets, starvation diets, high protein or low carbohydrate diets and stick to losing weight by eating a balanced diet.
2. DietUric acid is formed when purine found in food is broken down. If you’ve gout, you should avoid or reduce intake of foods high in purine. This include:
- Meats especially red meat
- Organ meats e.g. kidney, heart and liver
- Sea food e.g. oily fish, shellfish, crabs
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in fibre which are good for weight management.
- Eat Vitamin C rich foods like citrus fruits. Vitamin C helps to reduce uric acid in the blood preventing the risk of developing gout.
- Eat potassium rich foods like cooked spinach, lima beans, bananas, avocados etc. Potassium makes it easy for your kidney to get rid of uric acid.
- Take whole grains like whole wheat bread and cereals
- If consuming dairy product, use the low fat ones e.g. skimmed milk, or low fat yoghurt
- Avoid sugary drinks and foods. This are known to increase risk of gout not to mention they’re bad for your weight.
- Even if protein is source of purine, it is important for our body and shouldn’t be avoided completely
3. Regular ExerciseDoing regular exercise can keep the joints moving and reduce pain and stiffness. You should however avoid exercises that put a lot of strain on your joints.
4. Reduce AlcoholCut down on alcohol intake as its high in purines that increase uric acid
5. Take plenty of waterWater can help to reduce the development of crystals in your joints. Aim to consume 2 to3 litters of fluid per day and if possible let more than half of it come from safe drinking water.
6. Family historyIf gout runs in your family, especially men, you should consider the above recommendations as you’re at a higher risk of developing gout. Reduce intake of high purine foods, fats, sugary drinks and foods and take alcohol in moderation. Also take plenty of fluids and watch your weight.