Gout Causing Food to Avoid

Gout is a painful form of arthritis that occurs when an excess of uric acid builds up in the body and forms crystal deposits in the joints (often the big toe). Gout symptoms include intense pain, swelling, redness, stiffness, and the feeling of warmness in the joints.

There is a clear relationship between gout and fatty food high in a particular compound called purines. Indeed, this disease was called the King's Disease or the Patrician's Disease because in the olden days, only kings and rich people ate gout-causing food regularly. Nowadays, with the ready availability of many types of food, gout has become more mainstream and commonplace.

Purine: The Building Block of Genetic Material

The build up of gout-causing uric acid crystals is often caused by defect or disorder in metabolizing purines. Purine is a class of organic compound that forms the building blocks of your genetic materials (DNA and RNA). It is essential for all living organisms, and can be found in many types of food.

Normally, your body converts purines into uric acid as a by-product and secrete it out in urine. However, if the body converts more purine into uric acid or secrete less of it out or both, then the level of uric acid in the bloodstream increases in a pre-gout condition called hyperuricemia.

Therefore it makes sense that eating purine-rich food over a long period of time can increase one's risks for developing gout.

Purine-Rich Food Increases the Risk of Gout

Purine is found in many a lot of food - however some kinds have more purine than others. Gout sufferers are advised to avoid or eat only in moderation food that have high purine and protein contents.

Food that are high in purines include:

  • Red meat
  • Animal organs, such as liver, kidney, brain
  • Other meat, such as bacon, veal, venison, and turkey
  • Fish, especially mackerel, herring, sardines, codfish, trout, haddock, and anchovies
  • Shellfish, such as scallops and mussels

Food that have medium levels of purines include:

  • Shellfish, such as lobster, shrimp, crab, and oysters
  • Certain vegetables, such as asparagus, mushroom, and spinach
  • Legumes, such as kidney beans and lima beans

Alcohol Can Also Cause Gout

The relationship between gout and alcohol has been appreciated since the 1800s. It is thought that alcohol interferes with the body's ability to remove uric acid, and thus cause its level in the body to increase.

Beer also seems to be worse than wine or spirit, since it has a higher purine content.

See also:
Gout Overview
Gout Research Summaries

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