Some things you can do.
Gout is a complex form of arthritis also known as the rich man’s disease or “disease of kings” because of the lavish diet and alcohol consumption of the wealthy, like King Henry VIII, who suffered from it. Gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate in a joint, due to high levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is produced by your body when it breaks down purines which are naturally found in the body. 1/3 of the uric acid your body makes is due to the breakdown of purines you get from the food you eat and drink. If you eat a lot of purine-heavy foods, your body has a higher level of uric acid. Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. But sometimes either your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid. When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needle like urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue, that causes pain, inflammation and swelling.
Below are some factors that may bring on gout.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Excessive alcohol drinking
- Diuretic use
- A diet rich in meat and seafood
- Hereditary – close relatives who have gout
- Kidney problems
- Drinking soda that contains high-fructose corn syrup
Gout is more common in men because women have a hormone called oestrogen. This hormone is released during the reproductive cycle and increases removal of uric acid by the kidneys. However, after menopause, women should take caution as they could become susceptible.
With gout you want to basically follow an alkaline diet. An alkaline diet consists mostly of fresh whole foods as in fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes, lean meats and poultry. Beneficial foods for reducing purines are low fat dairy, avocados, cherries, apple cider vinegar and dark chocolate.
Avoid foods that can build up uric acid and inflammation. These would include highly processed, packaged and canned foods along with foods that would directly contribute to gout that are high in purines such as, steak, organ meats and seafood. Also, other reactive foods that promote high levels of uric acid are yeast building foods, gluten, food colouring, high glycemic foods, alcoholic beverages – especially beer and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose).
Some supplementation could help too. Below are some highly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory supplements.
- Vitamin C
- Omega 3’s
Quercetin is an antioxidant in the flavanol group which has marked anti-inflammatory actions. It can also decrease systemic allergic responses – which can happen with release of histamine associated with gout. It is one of the best things for people with gout, as it is well tolerated and has been reported to provide considerable symptomatic improvement. Quercetin not only reduces uric acid levels but along with Bromelain increases body’s absorption and utilization of Quercetin helping with inflammation.
Turmeric is another great anti-inflammatory – have as a tea there are many turmeric teas out there to try.