Also referred to as “the disease of kings”, the occurrence and development of gout are strongly determined by improper diet. In the past, the disease predominantly affected nobles and royalty, due to their access to an abundance of foods that are known today to have high risks of causing gout. These days, many people are still confronted with gout, as they consume foods that interfere in the normal activity of the body. Mostly people living in developed societies are the ones who tend to be affected by gout. The consumption of some exotic foods like seafood (oysters, caviar, calamari, sushi) or improper diets that contain a lot of meats (pork, poultry, beef) are the factors that seem to facilitate the occurrence and the development of the disease. Statistics indicate that people who live in less-developed countries have a smaller chance of developing gout. Also, research results reveal the preponderance of obese people among those who are suffering from different forms of gout.
Gout is a type of rheumatoid arthritis that causes pain and inflammation of the joints. The joints of the lower body seem to be affected the most. People with gout experience discomfort, swelling, local irritation and redness, itching sensations, pain, sometimes feeling a sensation of cold around the affected areas, the skin in those regions often looking stretched. Gout can also affect skin and soft tissue such as muscles and tendons, making them less flexible. Gout is known to be caused mainly by the presence in excess of crystallized uric acid deposits inside the body, which are difficultly eliminated by the kidneys. Improper diet can lead to more accumulation of uric acid in the body, as some foods that contain high levels of purine are synthesized by the body into uric acid.
A proper gout diet and a healthy lifestyle are the best means of preventing and easing the symptoms of gout. It is a fact that there is no specific cure for gout and the treatment often prescribed for the disease usually acts by controlling pain attacks and inflammation. There is little that medicines can do for the patients who suffer from gout, especially for those who have chronic forms of the disease. Proper gout diet can both ease the symptoms of gout and prevent injury and complications. It is known to be the best way of handling the effects of the disease.
Proper gout diet replaces the foods that are considered to cause gout due to their high levels of purine with healthy, better tolerated foods. Foods that are rich in saturated fats should also be avoided.
The foods that are known to have high levels of purine are meats like pork, beef, lamb, poultry, organ meats (brain, kidneys, liver and heart), fish and seafood (sardines, mackerel, oysters, caviar, calamari and crabs) and fat dairy products such as cheese, milk and butter. Even some vegetables like spinach, beans and peas are known to conatin large amounts of purines. However, green vegetables are thought to have no malign effects to the body. Fruits not only have low levels of purines, (and they are strongly recommended in any gout diet) but they also contain vitamins and minerals that are vital in the proper functioning of the body. Vitamin C, contained by most fruits, is a powerful natural anti-oxidant which helps in easing the symptoms of gout.
Among fruits and green vegetables, a proper gout diet can also contain some meats (chicken and low-fat meats) and low-fat milk. Cereals are also good for gout. A proper gout diet should contain: fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, soy (soy replacements of certain dairy products like milk and cheese are strongly recommended), brown rice, cereals, and bread. Drinking plenty of water (around two liters each day) is also important for easing the symptoms of gout, helping the kidneys to eliminate the surplus of uric acid.