Gout Diet

Gout is a painful condition caused by an excess of uric acid, a waste product made by the body. Uric acid forms crystals that collect in the joints. The immune response to these crystals brings on symptoms of joint pain and swelling. This is called a gout attack. Often, medications and diet changes are combined to manage gout. Below are some guidelines for changing your diet to help you manage gout and prevent attacks. Your healthcare provider will help you determine the best eating plan for you.

Eating to manage gout

Weight loss for those who are overweight may help reduce gout attacks.

Eat less of these foods

Eating too many foods containing purines may raise the levels of uric acid in your body. This raises your risk for a gout attack. Try to limit these foods and drinks:

  • Alcohol, such as beer and red wine. You may be told to avoid alcohol completely.

  • Soft drinks that contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup

  • Certain fish, including anchovies, sardines, fish eggs, and herring

  • Shellfish

  • Certain meats, such as red meat, hot dogs, luncheon meats, and turkey

  • Organ meats, such as liver, kidneys, and sweetbreads

  • Legumes, such as dried beans and peas

  • Other high fat foods such as gravy, whole milk, and high fat cheeses

  • Vegetables such as asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, and mushrooms used to be thought to contribute to an increased risk for a gout attack, but recent studies show that high purine vegetables don't increase the risk for a gout attack.

Eat more of these foods

Other foods may be helpful for people with gout. Add some of these foods to your diet:

  • Cherries contain chemicals that may lower uric acid.

  • Omega fatty acids. These are found in some fatty fish such as salmon, certain oils (flax, olive, or nut), and nuts themselves. Omega fatty acids may help prevent inflammation due to gout.

  • Dairy products that are low-fat or fat-free, such as cheese and yogurt

  • Complex carbohydrate foods, including whole grains, brown rice, oats, and beans

  • Coffee, in moderation

  • Water, approximately 64 ounces per day

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Return of gout symptoms, usually at night:

  • Severe pain, swelling, and heat in a joint, especially the base of the big toe

  • Affected joint is hard to move

  • Skin of the affected joint is purple or red

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher

  • Pain that doesn't get better even with prescribed medicine 

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