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Eating to avoid gout
Latest Updated by 2005-02-01 08:36:25

Gout is caused by an excess of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid, which is a by-product of protein digestion, is usually excreted in the urine. However, if there is too much uric acid in the blood, it may be deposited as crystals inside the joints.

People who suffer from gout may find an excess of rich foods or too much alcohol brings on an attack, possibly by generating more uric acid in the body than it can handle.

Gout occurs most commonly in middle-aged men and is very unusual in women. In young people, it may indicate an underlying blood disorder. The earliest symptom is usually sudden and extreme pain in one joint, most often the big toe, although the knees, elbows or shoulders can also be affected.

People with gout are often unjustly suspected of over-indulging in alcohol and rich food, but, although this is unfair, diet and alcohol can make he symptoms worse or increase the frequency of attacks. In fact, many people are able to keep the condition more or less under control just by modifying their diet.

Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach or cabbage are helpful, partly because of their vitamin C content but also because they contain folic acid, which helps to control the level of uric acid in the blood. Vitamin C is important because it promotes the elimination of uric acid from the bloodstream via the urine.

Fresh fruit and vegetables, especially watercress, celery, grapefruit, beetroot pineapple and cherries, are all beneficial for people with gout, as are all high-fiber foods including lentils, but not other pulses such as beans and peas.

However, very sweet fruit such as gapes should be eaten only in moderation as too much fruit sugar can actually increase the levels of uric acid.

Ever more important than eating the right foods is avoiding those that exacerbate this condition. This means cutting down or avoiding entirely those high in purine, such as liver and kidneys, red meat, fish, shellfish, oats, foods containing yeast, mushrooms and alcohol.

You should also cut down on refined carbohydrates, sugar, fried foods and coffee and, if necessary, follow a weight-reducing diet.

Dietary tips

1. Drink as much water as you can, but not in the form of coffee. Fluid intake is especially important in hot weather or during bouts of vigorous exercise, as dehydration may trigger an attack of gout.

2. Raw vegetable juices would make a helpful addition to or diet as an alternative to fruit juices that may contain a lot of unwelcome fruit sugar.

3. Remember that vinegar may have a similar effect on your system to alcohol so try substituting lemon juice in salad dressings.

Editor: Donald

By: Source:Szdaily web edition
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