Nowadays, many young working people suffer from Gout. Although the actual cause of Gout is unclear, it is known that over indulgence in meat, seafood and alcohol will increase the chance of getting gout attack. The body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines — substances that are found naturally in our body, as well as in certain foods. Before, the treatment of gout emphasizes on restrictive diet to avoid foods that are high in purines; however, the current practice is to focus on healthy, balanced diet with positive lifestyle changes:
1. Low fat diet - Saturated fat will lower the elimination of uric acid from our body. Limit total fat and saturated fat intake by choosing more plant protein foods, more vegetables and less animal proteins.
2. Limit food that is high in purine, such as organ meats, red meats, meat broth, shellfish, sardines, and anchovies. Studies found that protein, purine-rich vegetables such as mushrooms and asparagus are not as harmful to gout sufferers as once believed.
3. Consume 8-16 glasses of water (8 oz) daily. Adequate hydration will help kidneys to excrete urate and to prevent kidneys’ stones.
4. Alcohol will slow down the excretion of uric acid and increase the uric acid level in blood. Therefore, avoid alcohol is important especially beer and spirits.
5. Studies have shown that eating low-fat dairy products (such as skim milk and low-fat yogurt) may help to prevent high levels of uric acid in the blood. These foods have low purine content and are a good source of protein so they are useful additions to meals if gout sufferers are trying to reduce meat/fish/poultry intake.
6. There is a correlation between a diet high in fructose content and gout. Fructose is the only carbohydrate known to increase uric acid. Limit or avoid foods that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (concentrate form of fructose) such as sweetened breakfast cereal, baked products, ice-cream and candies. Also try to avoid beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, such as soft drinks or juice drinks. Juices that are 100 percent fruit juice do not seem to stimulate uric acid production as much. It is best to eat whole fruits. Cherries may be particularly useful to include in the diet, as they have been found to reduce levels of uric acid in the blood. Daily intake of fresh fruits is 1-2 cups a day.
7. Weight loss has been shown to improve insulin resistance, and therefore reduce uric acid levels in the blood. However, it is important to avoid very strict diets and low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets. These may increase consumption of purines. Additionally, rapid weight loss through strict dieting can result in breakdown of tissue which can temporarily cause a rise in uric acid levels. A gradual, safe rate of weight loss is 1-2 lbs a week.
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