Gout, a form of arthritis, may come on suddenly, causing intense pain, swelling and redness in a joint. Although gout frequently strikes the big toe or joints in the hands or feet, it may target any joint. Triggered by high levels of uric acid in your blood, gout occurs more often in men than in women, and in those who drink alcohol. In addition, if a family member suffers from gout, you’re more likely to experience an attack, according to MedlinePlus, a division of the National Institutes of Health. Fortunately, you can reduce gout attacks with natural remedies, including a special diet to reduce uric acid levels.
Stay hydrated. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking between 8 and 16 cups of water daily. Adequate water intake dilutes uric acid and helps flush it from your system.
Reduce your consumption of meat, especially liver, organ meats and seafood. These foods contain purines, which may increase uric acid levels. Additional foods to avoid are oatmeal, mushrooms, spinach and cereal products.
Add low-fat dairy products to your diet, such as yogurt, low-fat or skim milk and fat-free cheeses. The Mayo Clinic suggests consuming a minimum of 16 oz. of low-fat or fat-free dairy products daily.
Fill up on vegetable sources of protein and limit consumption of foods high in fat and carbohydrates to reduce uric acid levels. “The Gale Encyclopedia of Diets” suggests eating protein-rich soy products, including tofu, tempeh, soy milk and meat replacement products made from soy. Avoid fried foods and limit carbohydrates to 50 percent of your total caloric intake.
Sip natural juices to reduce uric acid. The “Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine” suggests that the fruit and natural fruit juices come from cherries, hawthorn berries, blackberries and elderberries. These fruits and their juices contain flavonoids, which may reduce inflammation in the affected joint during a gout attack. In addition, they may assist the healing of damaged tissue surrounding the joint by lowering uric acid levels.
Tips and Warnings
- Apply ice bags or cold packs to painful joints during an acute gout attack for temporary relief from pain.
- Avoid taking additional vitamin C supplements if you experience repeated gout episodes. The high acidity in vitamin C may increase uric acid levels.
While most vegetables are beneficial in a diet to control gout, some contain purines, which boost uric acid levels. Vegetables to avoid include asparagus, spinach, cauliflower and mushrooms. Rhubarb may also raise uric acid levels.
About this Author
Glyn Sheridan is a freelance writer with published credits in regional and national media. Sheridan specializes in health, fitness, construction and business writing. She is also a past editor of “Kansas Women – Focus on Fitness.” Sheridan’s education includes marketing and journalism.