Gout is a painful condition afflicting the joints, primarily in the feet and the knees. Most people who have gout get flare-ups, which are due to excessive amounts of uric acid accumulating in the joints. This uric acid is not appropriately processed by the kidneys and occurs in high amounts. With the exception of diseases causing gout that may be untreatable, there are ways to modify lifestyle and diet if you are subject to the condition, which can help reduce the symptoms of gout.
Eating foods or drinking liquids high in uric acid often brings on gouty attacks. To reduce the symptoms, you should avoid the following foods and drinks:
- Red meat
- Oily fish like anchovies, salmon, trout, cod and most shellfish
- Turkey and goose
- Certain vegetables high in acids like asparagus, and cauliflower
- Legumes like peas, lentils and beans
- Products containing yeast like bread
- All fried foods
- Caffeinated products
- Cream sauces, or any foods containing cream like ice cream or rich desserts
People tend to be afflicted more with gout attacks if they are overweight. To reduce the symptoms of gout you should get daily exercise, and try to lose weight through diet modifications, but not through fasting, diuretics or caffeine pills since this can actually increase attacks. Exercise can also help to reduce blood pressure, since higher blood pressure tends to make gout attacks occur more frequently. One of the key elements in both weight loss and to reducing gout symptoms is to drink plenty of water. Make sure your intake of water is at least six to eight 8 ounce (0.24 liter) glasses daily.
Some medical professionals suggest that you can reduce the symptoms of gout by taking 1 teaspoon (4.6 g) of baking powder with each meal, which helps to lower uric acid levels. When you’re in the middle of a gout attack, you should avoid aspirin. Instead take low dose levels of medications like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Keeping the afflicted leg elevated can also reduce the symptoms, as can eating high potassium foods. Consider adding foods like bananas, baked potatoes, orange juice, and other potassium rich foods when you are in the midst of a gout attack.
When gout attacks occur often and are severe, healthcare professionals may prescribe medications to help reduce the symptoms. Unfortunately, some of these medications like allopurinol and colchicine have fairly significant side effects. A newer drug, febuxostat, has shown significant promise in reducing uric acid levels quickly without too many side effects.