When gout hits, there’s no question that it can be a painful experience that severely limits your quality of life. And although it’s easy to blame the pain on the lobster you ate last night or the cocktails you had to wash it down, it’s a little bit more than that.
Gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the joints that can lead to severe joint pain. It is most likely to occur in the big toe, but can also happen in the foot, ankle, elbow, wrist, or hands.
If you’ve got gout, you may be lucky enough to prevent all future flare-ups with just a few dietary changes. There’s a good chance you’ll need medicine too. But by focusing on a few lifestyle changes, you might be able to reduce the frequency and severity of gout flare-ups.
Instead of focusing on certain foods to avoid gout pain, it might be worthwhile to take a more holistic approach. Eating a healthy diet to combat inflammation overall may be your best bet. According to Harvard University, experts now believe eating a healthy, balanced diet made up of fruits, vegetables, legumes, some fish, dairy, poultry, and whole grains might be most beneficial. Changing your diet may have residual benefits as well. Weight loss, for example, has been associated with lower uric acid levels.
A great archetype to follow to reduce gout risk is the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet. These two eating styles are highly similar and largely constructed with the foods mentioned above.
Of course, there are some things you’ll want to eat as little of as possible. Even though fish is good for you because of its omega-3 content, some varieties are not recommended if you’ve got gout. The fish to eat would include salmon, tilapia, cod, and flounder. On the other hand, you’ll want to avoid shellfish, sardines, and anchovies.
Low-fat dairy products, which are a staple in the DASH diet, may also help. Studies have observed lower levels of uric acid in people that consume these products. Cherries may also help reduce gout attacks or lower pain, and vitamin C rich foods like bell peppers and strawberries may be useful as well.
Staying hydrated by drinking enough fluids can help reduce the likelihood of an attack. Sticking to water and tea may be most beneficial, while alcohol and sugary drinks like soda can boost the chance of an attack.
It seems like the best lifestyle measures for overall health are effective in reducing the risk, and severity, of gout. If it’s something you’re battling with or hoping to keep at bay, it’s possible these changes can help.
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