If you are suddenly experiencing severe pain that is accompanied by swelling in your big toe, especially after you have been sick or sustained an injury, it could be a sign of gout.
A type of inflammatory arthritis, gout is a general term that is used to describe a buildup of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a chemical that is naturally produced to help the body break down foods that contain organic compounds known as purines. Under normal conditions, the body produces uric acid to assist with the breakdown of purines, and the kidneys cleanse it out of the blood and it is passed out of the body with urine. However, if there are high levels of uric acid, it can accumulate in the body. Eventually, the acid will turn into urate crystals, which can collect around the soft tissues and joints, causing inflammation, or gout.
Gout affects approximately 4 percent of adults in the United States, which may seem like a small number, but it equates to about 8 million people. Men are more likely to develop the condition, as are those who have a family history of gout. Those who eat foods that are high in purines are also prone to developing gout.
If you think that you are prone to developing gout and you want to prevent the condition from actually setting in, you’re going to want to avoid foods that are high in purine, as eating high amounts of them can significantly increase your risk of developing this condition.
Here’s a look at 17 gout-causing foods that you are going to want to nix from your diet.
Though salmon is high in several valuable nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, protein and vitamin D, it also contains high amounts of purines, which are the leading cause of gout. If you want to gain all of the health benefits of salmon, but want to avoid developing a case of gout, eat small amounts of this fish. Eaten in small portions should not lead to an acute attack; however, if you eat too much, it can certainly spark an attack of this condition, which can lead to severe pain and discomfort.
All alcoholic beverages are the best known trigger for gout attacks; however, beer has been found to be the biggest culprit of the inflammation that is associated with this condition. One study found that people who drank one 12-ounce beer each day where nearly 2 times more likely to develop gout than those who did not consume any alcohol. Though beer is thought to be the worst type of alcohol for gout, all types of alcoholic beverages can contribute to flares in those who are prone to the condition. Why? – Because alcohol makes the kidneys excrete alcohol instead of uric acid, which causes a buildup of uric acid, thus causing the development of gout.
If you are prone to gout, avoid drinking soda. The artificial sugars that are used to give soda its sweetness can have a horrible effect on those who suffer from gout. The reason? – The sugar in soda, high fructose corn syrup. leads to increased levels of uric acid, and when the body produces too much uric acid, it can be difficult for the body to excrete it, which leads to a buildup that can result in a gout flare. Make sure you skip those sugary, carbonated beverages and instead, replace them with a natural fruit juice, as naturally occurring sugars are less likely to lead to gout.
Think twice before you pour a cup of coffee in the morning, especially if you are prone to gout. While it may help to make you more alert, it can also trigger a flare. Coffee contains caffeine, a diuretic, which means that it reduces the amount of water in your body. This is dangerous for anyone, but particularly for someone who has a history of gout. Uric acid crystals are suspended in your blood, but since coffee is a diuretic and cause dehydration, these crystals can collect in your joints, which can trigger a gout attack.
Though liver is a great source of protein and iron, which are important for your body, it is also has high purine levels, which is bad for those who suffer from gout. Calf liver, in particular, is bad for gout, as it as the highest amount of purine per serving (460 mg, to be exact.) If you enjoy liver and you want to reap the benefits that it offers, you might want to consider chicken liver instead, as it has lower purine levels; however, only eat small amounts of this type of liver.
Scallops may be sweet and succulent, but they can be terrible for gout. Like salmon, they have high levels of purines, which break down into uric acid and can collect in the joints, thus causing gout to flare up. If you enjoy scallops, make sure that you limit how much you eat to 4 to 6 ounces a day, at most. If you are in the middle of a flare, or have recently gotten over one, you are going to want to avoid scallops completely.
7. Fried foods
Though fried foods may be scrumptious, they are terrible for gout. Fried foods have been found to lead to an increased risk of obesity, which is one of the leading causes of gout. Limiting the amount of French fries, fried chicken, fast food and anything else that is fried is highly recommended to avoid a gout attack; plus, avoiding these foods will help to prevent excessive weight gain, as well as other health complications, such as heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
This is another type of seafood that you are going to want avoid eating if you are prone to gout. Like salmon, herring is a cold water fish, and it also has high purine levels. If you have had a gout attack in the past, or you have a family history of the condition, you should avoid eating herring as much as possible. If you do eat it, make sure that it’s only in small quantities, otherwise you could end up having an attack.
Steaks, hamburgers and other types of beef may be yummy, but it can be terrible for those who suffer from gout. Red mead contains moderately high levels of purines, which is the leading cause of gout. On top of that, it is high in saturated fats, which contribute to obesity, and extra weight also increases the chances of developing gout. If you do eat red meat, make sure you eat it in moderation.
This is another type of meat that can spark a gout attack. Again, the reason why it is bad for gout is because it has high purine levels, which lead to the development of uric acid. If you ingest too many purines, you can produce too much uric acid, which can crystallize and collect in the joints, leading to a gout flare. If you are prone to gout, limit the amount of turkey that you consume, especially dark meat and the skin.