Gout is a type of arthritis that develops when the level of uric acid in the blood is abnormally high. Uric acid forms crystals in the joints, often in the feet and big toes, causing severe and painful swelling. Some people need medication to treat gout, but diet and lifestyle changes can also help. Lowering uric acid can reduce the risk of the disease developing and may even prevent flare-ups. However, the risk of gout depends on several factors, not just lifestyle. Risk factors include obesity, being male, and certain health conditions.
This article reviews natural ways to reduce uric acid levels.
1. Limit Purine-Rich Foods
Purines are compounds found naturally in certain foods. When the body breaks down purines, it produces uric acid. The process of metabolizing purine-rich foods leads to excess production of uric acid, which can cause gout. Some otherwise nutritious foods contain a high amount of purines, which means a person may want to reduce their intake instead of eliminating them all.
Foods high in purines are:
– wild game, such as deer
– trout, tuna, haddock, sardines, anchovies, mussels and herring
– excess alcohol, including beer and liqueurs
– foods high in fat, such as bacon, dairy products and red meat, including veal
– offal, such as liver and sweetbreads
– sugary foods and drinks.
Moderate purine foods include
– Cooked meats
– most other meats, including ham
– oysters, shrimp, crab and lobster.
2. Eat more low-purine foods
While some foods have high purine levels, others have lower levels. They can be included in his diet to help lower his uric acid levels. Here are some low-purine foods
– low-fat and fat-free dairy products
– most fruits and vegetables
– whole grain rice, bread and potatoes.
While dietary changes aren’t enough to eliminate gout, they can help prevent flare-ups. It is also important to note that not everyone with gout follows a high purine diet.
3. Avoid drugs that raise uric acid
Certain medications can raise uric acid levels. These include:
– diuretic drugs
– medicines that suppress the immune system, especially before or after an organ transplant
– low dose aspirin
Medications that increase uric acid levels can have key health benefits, but people should consult a doctor before stopping or changing any medication.
4. Maintain a healthy body weight
Maintaining a moderate body weight can help reduce the risk of gout flares, as obesity increases the risk of gout. Experts recommend focusing on long-term, sustainable changes to manage weight, such as becoming more active, eating a balanced diet, and choosing nutrient-dense foods. Maintaining a moderate weight can help lower blood uric acid levels and improve overall health.
5. Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks
Consuming lots of alcohol and sugary drinks, such as sodas and sugary juices, is linked to an increased risk of developing gout. Alcohol and sugary drinks also add unnecessary calories to the diet, which can lead to weight gain and metabolic problems, and therefore an increase in uric acid levels.
6. Drink coffee
A 2015 study indicates that people who drink coffee are less likely to develop gout. A 2016 meta-analysis looked at 11 studies. The authors concluded that there may be a link between coffee consumption and a lower risk of gout. However, evidence for a strong association was insufficient.
7. Try a vitamin C supplement
In a 2021 review, researchers noted that many previous studies show a positive correlation between vitamin C intake and blood uric acid levels. However, while they noted this effect, they also said that no studies had found conclusive evidence that vitamin C could prevent or reduce gout attacks.
8. Eat cherries
Researchers have been studying cherries and their effects on gout for several years. According to a 2019 study, scientists noted several properties of this fruit that can help reduce inflammation. However, they also noted that more studies on the effects of cherries on gout are needed.
9. Try dietary supplements
Certain supplements can help reduce uric acid levels in the blood. Here are some potentially beneficial supplements
omega-3 fatty acid
Before adding supplements to their diet, a person should consult a doctor. This way she can be sure that the supplements will not interfere with her current medications.
10. Balance Insulin
People with gout have an increased risk of diabetes. Women with gout are 71% more likely to have type 2 diabetes than people without gout, while men are 22% more likely. Diabetes and gout have common risk factors, such as being overweight and having high cholesterol. A 2015 study showed that starting insulin therapy for people living with diabetes increased blood uric acid levels. A doctor will consider a person’s uric acid level before prescribing insulin.
11. Add fiber
A high fiber diet can help reduce uric acid levels in the blood. People can find fiber in a variety of foods, including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Gout is a painful condition that often occurs alongside other serious illnesses. While a healthy lifestyle may reduce the risk of later flare-ups, it may not be enough to treat the condition.
Even people on a balanced diet can get the disease, and not all people on a high purine diet develop symptoms of gout. Medications can help reduce pain and prevent the risk of future gout attacks. Talk to a doctor about their symptoms and seek advice on lifestyle changes they might benefit from.
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