A diet rich in low purine foods plays an important part in gout treatment, reducing uric acid levels within the bloodstream and in turn lowering the amount of sodium urate crystals that form around the joints. It is these urates that then aggravate the joint tissue resulting in the symptoms of gout.
A low purine diet can therefore have significant benefits, but it should be remembered that purines play a vital role in a range of important functions within the human body, so you still need to maintain a healthy balance rather than look to eliminate them completely.
What Causes Gout?
Gout (also known as gouty arthritis) is a painful form of arthritis, usually affecting joints within the peripheral limbs such as the ankles, the arch of the foot, the metatarsal phalangeal joint at the base of the big toes, the wrists, elbows and knees.
It is caused by an accumulation of monosodium urate crystals within the connective tissue of affected joints, deposited as a result of the kidneys being unable to excrete serum uric acid from the body fast enough. This in turn creates abnormally high acidity levels within the blood called hyperuricemia.
This uric acid is a perfectly natural and essential by-product produced as the body metabolises purine. These purines are contained within much of the food we consume in the developed world, and it therefore follows that purine rich foods can be one of the more significant gout causes.
Equally, consuming low purine foods can help to reduce the amount of serum uric acid the body needs to expel, helping prevent the build-up that creates the urate deposits in the first place. These are often therefore considered to be good foods for gout sufferers and should form part of a well balanced diet plan.
If you suffer from gouty arthritis, the importance of eating foods low in purines cannot be stressed enough. A strict diet can have a significant positive impact on both the severity and frequency of future attacks, although in many cases it may also be necessary to receive prescription medication from your physician to help support your gout treatment as well.
Low Purine Foods List
Read more about the foods to avoid for gout by clicking here: Foods That Cause Gout
The kinds of food you should be consuming as part of a low purine diet include the following:
• Fresh Cherries: Cherries and unsweetened cherry juice (equal amounts of water and blended fresh cherries) has been shown to be particularly effective as a treatment for gout, their reputation going back as far as 1950 when Dr. Ludwig Blau claimed to have cured his gout symptoms by eating as few as 6-8 cherries each day.
Cherries work in a similar way to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are commonly prescribed as a gout treatment, and have been shown to provide anti-inflamatory benefits as well as acting as an effective way to lower uric acid levels at the same time.
Research suggests that eating 20 cherries every day is equivilent to taking one non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (without the risk of any unpleasant side-effects), although recommendations on the most effective dose can vary wildly. There is no doubt however that cherries can play an effective role in a low purine diet for gout.
• Celery: Celery, celery seeds and unsweetened celery juice can be a very effective home gout remedy, again enjoying anti-inflammatory properties similar to NSAIDs. Celery should be incorporated within your list of low purine foods and can be mixed with other ingredients if preferred to provide a more varied menu.
• Fresh Fruit And Vegetables: Most types of fresh fruits and vegetables play an important role in a well balanced gout diet, but strawberries, avocados, grapes and blueberries can be particularly beneficial, together with starchy vegetables like potatoes.
Avoid acidic fruits such as cranberries, pineapples and oranges, together with some vegetables including spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, soya products, and fungal proteins like mushrooms.
• Rice And Pasta: Brown rice, pasta, grains, bread, macaroni and nuts are all examples of other low purine food types that can play an important part in a varied gout diet. They are also high fibre foods that will help aid digestion, although think carefully about the quantities you eat if you are trying to lose weight (another important consideration in the treatment of gout).
When considering a low purine diet, try and vary what you eat as much as possible to provide some interest at the same time as ensuring you maintain a good, healthy balance of different nutrients and vitamins.
A diet that concentrates too much on low purine food can impact on your vitamin intake and it may sometimes therefore be necessary to take vitamin supplements to help compensate for any deficiencies. For this reason, together with ensuring you have no underlying or pre-existing conditions that could be affected by any dietary changes, we would always recommend you consult your doctor before putting in place any significant changes.
This is particularly important if you are on any form of medication or suffer from any other health-related conditions that require the advice of your physician.
Having said that, dietary changes designed to lower the purines in food and drink you consume is often a much safer and more natural solution than a lifelong treatment with powerful drugs, many of which can cause unpleasant reactions and side-effects.
Self-discipline is needed if you are to be successful, and because gouty arthritis is a chronic condition with no known permanent cure, preventing further attacks will mean sticking to this low purine diet (and avoiding all high purine foods) over the long-term.
Read more by clicking here: Treatment For Gout Using Medicine
General overview: Gout Treatment Explained