Gout is a type of arthritis that commonly occurs in over 10% of the population at some time in life. It’s caused by the build up of uric acid (a normal by-product of protein metabolism) in the blood, tissues and urine. As the uric acid accumulates, it changes from being a liquid to forming crystals. These crystals take on the shape of a needle and can settle in any joint, but are particularly common in the big toe. The resulting pain, swelling and heat can be extremely intense to the point of being unable to walk.
What causes gout?
Genetics are a cause of gout. Some people do not produce enough of the enzyme uricase, which turns the insoluble form of uric acid into the liquid form. The trigger for most cases of gout however, is diet and lifestyle.
Food that help gout
These foods can help you to reduce the severity of the gout attack and will hasten its resolution.
Dramatically increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. These can be eaten raw, lightly steamed, in home made soups and juiced. The only exceptions are potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and peas – don’t increase your intake of these and only eat once or twice a week.
Increase your intake of filtered water to 3-4 litres (approximately 1 gallon) per day. You may add a small amount of freshly squeezed apple, cherry or lemon juice.
Eat wild or black cherries during an attack. Eat up to ½ a kilo (1 pound) per day. They contain a substance called anthocyanocids that can effectively lower uric acid levels. They can be eaten as fruit or freshly juiced. Commercially bought juice is likely to have had the anthocyanocids removed and are therefore useless.
Food that prevents gout
Most people only change their diet during a gout attack. However, once you have had one attack you are much more likely to experience another and the best way to avoid this is to include certain foods on a daily basis and minimise others.
Cherries can be regularly eaten to help prevent an attack from occurring. To be effective though, at least 250gm (1/2 a pound) need to be eaten daily. The active substance of cherries can also be taken in supplement form, however there are many other benefits from eating the whole fruit such as fibre and vitamins.
Apple cider vinegar – take 1 tablespoon each morning in a cup of boiled water (let cool before drinking)
Freshly squeeze ¼ lemon into boiled water and drink first thing in the morning. Even though lemons are citrus, they become alkaline after eating them. This can also be done with limes, but NOT oranges.
Bad food for gout
Purines should be avoided during an attack and minimised to prevent an attack. Foods high in purines include organ meats such as liver, kidney and sweetbreads; seafood such as sardines, mackerel, herring, mussels and anchovies; vegetables such as mushrooms, asparagus and beans of any kind; consommé, stock, meat broths and gravies.
During an attack, it’s best to avoid meat of any kind until the symptoms have resolved.
Fried foods, many snack foods, roasted nuts and any food containing oil that has been heated should be minimised at all times. This is because the oils become rancid when heated and when you eat them, they use up the body’s vitamin E stores quickly. Vitamin E deficiency causes damage to the cells that form uric acid, causing more uric acid to form.
Avoid alcohol completely during the attack as it increases the production of uric acid. For prevention, limit alcohol to three days per week and never consume more than 2 drinks at a time.
by Justine Crawford