Gout is an extremely painful type of arthritis that commonly occurs in the big toe but also in feet, ankles, knees, hands and wrists. Gout is caused by the formation of needle-like uric acid crystals in the joint fluid which causes pain and inflammation. Uric acid is a byproduct of breakdown of a group of chemicals called purines, found in organ meats and certain fish (herring, sardines, anchovies). At normal levels uric acid is a beneficial antioxidant, but in higher quantities it can cause gout. Recent research found that the sugar fructose, either alone or in sucrose (table sugar) and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), increases uric acid levels, thus aggravating gout. Kidney disease, Metabolic Syndrome, obesity, and being male are risk factors in gout.
Here are some tips to relieve or prevent gout:
• avoid purine-rich foods – reduce organ and red meats (and their gravy), certain fish (see above) and shellfish; avoid brewer’s yeast
• eliminate fructose – soft drinks, processed foods, fruit juices, excess fruit
• minimize or eliminate alcohol consumption
• drink plenty of pure water (10-12 8oz glasses a day)
• normalize high blood sugar and insulin levels, both of which increase inflammation (see my columns on the Ideal Protein diet to learn how to reduce blood sugar without increasing insulin levels)
• drink milk or eat yogurt at least once a day
• eat sour or black cherries (or juice (1oz) – the juice concentrate has less sugar than the whole fruit
• other items that may help include vitamin C, vitamin B5, vitamin E, alfalfa tablets, celery seed, celery juice, lemons, blueberries, strawberries
• herbs and spices such as turmeric & nutmeg and Omega 3 EFAs may reduce inflammation; herbs such as devil’s claw and yucca may also provide relief
• there are effective homeopathic remedies for gout
This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.