Understanding and Preventing Gout

Crystals of Pain

Gout, a type of arthritis that occurs due to the excessive accumulation of uric acid in the blood, afflicts around 1 to 2% of the population in Kenya, at some point in their lives. This condition primarily plagues middle-aged men who constitute almost 90% of all gout patients, while post-menopausal women comprise the remaining 10%. Its prevalence has increased significantly in recent years, owing to lifestyle choices that exacerbate its effects. The abrupt onset of pain, inflammation, and swelling of the joints characterizes gout. The overabundance of uric acid in the bloodstream leads to the formation of crystals that deposit in the joints. While the big toe is usually the most affected, the other toes, feet, knees, or heels can also experience similar symptoms. Although rare, gout can also afflict other areas of the body.
Best Diet for Gout: Gout Triggers
Certain foods can either trigger or ameliorate the levels of uric acid in the blood. Foods high in purine such as red meat and beer, when consumed, result in increased uric acid levels in the blood. Similarly, consuming foods high in added sugar can stimulate the production of uric acid in the body. Conversely, incorporating low-fat dairy products, vitamin C supplements, and soy products in your diet can help prevent gout attacks by reducing the levels of uric acid in the body.
Foods that are known to cause gout attacks include organ meats such as liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, and brain, red meat like beef, pork, and lamb, oily and canned seafood, as well as game meats like boar and venison, sugary beverages, including fruit juices and sodas, and sugary snacks such as cakes, cookies, candy, and other similar items. Yeast extracts found in frozen dinners and canned soups are also linked to gout.

Suppressing Gout
Embracing a low-fat and low-carb diet is critical to managing gout. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should constitute the bulk of your diet, and lean protein from meat, poultry, fish, nuts, and legumes, vegetable oils, and low-fat or non-fat dairy products should be included. This diet limits the consumption of saturated fats and added sugars.
In addition to a healthy diet, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help minimize the risk of gout and gout attacks. Some of the recommended practices include weight management, exercising to maintain optimal weight and uric acid levels, staying hydrated to assist the kidneys in the elimination of excess uric acid from the bloodstream through urination, limiting alcohol intake due to its high purine content and its capacity to increase uric acid levels while excreting less of it in the urine, and supplementing with vitamin C, which aids in dissolving uric acid crystals, enabling the body to expel them with ease.


You are currently viewing Understanding and Preventing Gout

Leave a Reply