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Foods to Avoid if You Have Gout

May 04, 2023
Foods to Avoid if You Have Gout
If you have gout, you should know that certain foods in your diet may be contributing to uncomfortable flare-ups. Here’s what you need to know about foods to avoid, as well as foods that help you manage this painful condition.

Gout is a type of painful arthritis that causes swelling in the joint of your big toe. If you suffer from this condition, you know the sensitivity, burning, and extreme pain this creates. Some foods can trigger this swelling, making your pain worse. 

Gout develops when too much uric acid is present in your body. Uric acid breaks down purines, a chemical compound found in many foods you might eat. A diet high in purines results in the production of more uric acid in your body.

Too much uric acid can be difficult on your kidneys. If your kidneys can’t keep up, the uric acid builds up. This build-up then crystallizes and collects in the joints of your big toes, causing gout. 

At Triad Internal Medicine in Asheboro, North Carolina, our compassionate providers want you to know the primary foods to avoid if you suffer from gout. Adjusting your diet complements the specialized care that we offer to help you manage this painful condition. 

We believe in helping our patients make meaningful lifestyle changes that allow them to reclaim control of their foot and ankle health with our chronic disease management. And when it comes to gout, the foods you choose to eat can worsen — or help — your condition. 

Read on to discover the foods to avoid when managing gout and some healthy alternatives that help reduce flare-ups. 

Foods to avoid when you have gout

Consuming certain beverages and foods that trigger uric acid production or inflammation can make your gout worse. One example is beverages high in fructose or sugar, as they make your body boost uric acid, triggering gout flare-ups. 

Foods and beverages that are high in purines are the worst for gout. The top most highly linked to gout flare-ups include:

  • Processed foods (such as canned foods, deli meats, and ready-to-eat meals)
  • Game and organ meats
  • Beer and yeast
  • Seafoods
  • Refined carbohydrates (such as baked goods, crackers, and white breads)

It can be difficult to participate in your daily activities when gout flares up, as it is incredibly painful. Even standing or walking around causes significant pain, so eliminating the foods above to help prevent flare-ups is essential. 

Foods that reduce gout flare-ups

If you have gout, don’t despair! There are some great alternative food choices that can lower your body’s level of uric acid. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is key, along with these top foods for managing gout:

  • Coffee
  • Whole grains
  • Cherries
  • Vegetables (especially bell peppers, broccoli, and dark leafy greens)
  • Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C (such as oranges, spinach, and strawberries)

There’s a trend in this list of plant-based options, for a good reason: Even vegetables high in purine don’t trigger gout. Additionally, plant-based foods have high levels of antioxidants, and antioxidants reduce excess uric acid and inflammation in your body. 

More ways to manage gout

Though changes to your diet are essential in managing gout, they don’t replace medical treatment. Untreated gout doesn’t only cause chronic pain, but it also can lead to permanent joint damage

If you’re worried about gout, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Your provider at Triad Internal Medicine discusses your symptoms, reviews your medical history, and examines your feet. They may also take a sample of joint fluid to confirm your diagnosis. 

With all this information, your provider then creates a customized treatment plan for your gout. Aspects of the plan may include anti-inflammatory medications, lifestyle changes, steroid injections or medications, and more. 

If you think you may have gout and are ready to start effective treatment, don’t hesitate to set up a consultation with a provider at Triad Internal Medicine. Book an appointment online, or call us today.