We’ve all heard of gout, but not many people are familiar with what causes it. First off, gout is a type of arthritis and similar to arthritis, causes sudden burning pain, swelling of joints, and general joint stiffness. Gout attacks are brought on when there is too much uric acid in a person’s bloodstream. Generally, uric acid isn’t harmful—even people with chronically high levels don’t always get gout. The pain attributed with gout attacks occurs when uric acid forms hard crystals in the joints.

The chance of getting gout is much higher for people who are overweight, drink too much, or eat too much food containing chemicals called purines. Purines are naturally present in the human body, but certain things like organ meats, mushrooms, herring, red meats, tuna, shrimp, and lobster can raise the body’s level of purines. All meat, poultry, and fish contain purines so the Mayo Clinic recommends a daily intake of only 4 to 6 ounces (113 to 170 grams). When left untreated, gout can repeatedly occur so below are some basic dietary guidelines to stay gout free.

Limit fat intake:
Saturated fat can prevent the body from ridding itself of uric acid. High-fat diets also contribute to weight gain, which is directly related to gout.

Limit foods containing high-fructose corn syrup:
High-fructose corn syrup actually increases uric acid. Try juices that are 100% juice because the natural sugar in fruit does not stimulate uric acid production in the same way.

Limit or cut out alcohol:
Alcohol hampers the elimination of uric acid. Beer, specifically, has been connected to gout. Drinking a glass of wine a day, however, when not suffering an attack, will not likely influence a new attack.

Drink water and low fat/ fat free dairy:
Drinking fluids eliminates uric acid in the body and studies have shown water and low fat dairy products can actually reduce the risk of gout.

Hopefully this article helped illuminate what gout is and what exactly causes gout. A healthy diet can do wonders for the body and prevent not only gout, but many other medical ailments as well.

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