Gout or gouty arthritis is a disease mainly due to high uric acid levels in the blood. Uric acid is one of the end products of protein metabolism. It has been categorised into acute, where it affects one joint mostly the large toe and chronic where it can affect more than one joint. Uric acid accumulates whenever there is an excessive breakdown of protein in our body or in our diets.
The kidneys are unable to eliminate the excess uric acid, which then form crystals which build up in the joints causing inflammation and can be highly painful as my clients say. High uric acid levels can also cause kidney stones over a period of time.
Risk factors to develop gout
- Hereditary-Genetics can play a role in patients developing gout.
- Overweight/obese conditions- mainly due to more tissue or protein available for breakdown
- Gender- Risk is higher in males than females
- High intake of purine rich food
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Poor water intake
- Exposure to cold weather conditions
How can you prevent/manage gout-
- Avoid foods rich in purines such as organ meats, meat extracts, fish such as mackerel, sardines, herring and mussels, yeasts and limit those foods that contain moderate amount of purines such as whole grains, cauliflower, spinach, legumes such as beans, peas etc, mushrooms, meat soups, broths, asparagus, oats, chicken, wheat germ etc.
- Lose weight and try maintain ideal body weight.
- Eat a balanced diet of 55-65% of carbohydrates, 10-15% protein and 25-30% of fats in our diets.
- Restrict/ eliminate alcohol.
- Hydrate well. Drink at least 2-4 litres of water and other fluids daily.
- Exercise daily.
There has always been a debate that eating less protein can control gout and many blindly follow very low protein diets, but studies show that eating the right amount of protein per day can help. A qualified dietitian can help you to determine your daily protein requirements and help you to eat better and maintain an ideal body weight.