Gout is a foot condition that is caused by the build up of uric acid in our body. Typically this acid is discarded by your kidneys, but if it is not successfully discarded, if can form small crystals around the joints. When this happens, the crystals can irritate the joints, causing pain and swelling.
When it comes to preventing and treating symptoms of gout, there are two main interventions a good doctor will recommend – diet and exercise. You can exercise however you want, so long as you are getting on your feet and getting your blood circulating, but what should you do when it comes to your diet? How should you alter your diet to best prevent against gout? We explore some scientifically backed options in today’s blog.
Best Gout Diets
Before we dive into what foods you should add to your diet, let’s talk about the foods you’ll want to remove. For starters, researchers at Harvard Medical School say you’ll want to avoid “western foods.” This means foods that are high in saturated fats or refined carbohydrates should be removed, as should alcohol. Alcohol makes the symptoms of gout worse, and many patients report increased symptoms the day after having a few drinks. Other foods you should avoid in excess are red/processed meats, salt and sugary drinks.
When is comes to adding foods to your diet, plant-based foods are always a great option. Fruits, veggies and nuts are all a great start, and they are part of the recommended DASH diet for avoiding gout. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and it involves a diet high in vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits, nuts and low-fat dairy. According to researchers, the DASH diet has been linked to a reduced blood pressure and a reduced likelihood of heart disease, and it reduced the amount of uric acid in a person’s blood.
“The DASH diet is associated with a lower risk of gout, suggesting that its effect of lowering uric acid levels in individuals with hyperuricemia translates to a lower risk of gout,” researchers wrote about their study, which examined more than 44,000 men over more than 26 years. “Conversely, the Western diet is associated with a higher risk of gout. The DASH diet may provide an attractive preventive dietary approach for men at risk of gout.”
So if you’re dealing with gout or pain/swelling in your toe joints, make it a point to exercise and swap some healthier options into your diet. If you don’t experience relief, something else might be going on, and you’d benefit from a consultation with a foot and ankle specialist. To learn more about your options or to send a message to Dr. Silverman, fill out the box below.