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10 foods that can trigger gout

By The Health News Team | August 22, 2022
Lobster and steak dinner

A gout attack — or flare-up — is a condition that happens when there is inflammatory arthritis in one of your joints, such as a toe or ankle. While middle-aged men more commonly experience gout, flare-ups are possible in women too.

A gout attack is caused by excessive uric acid crystals that build up in your joints, body fluids and tissues. Your body then reacts by creating inflammation in those areas.

Symptoms of a gout attack often come on suddenly and can linger until you get treatment. These include intense pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness, even to light touch or pressure. Redness over the affected areas and limited range of motion are also possible.

According to Dr. Hans Crumpler, a SharpCare Medical Group board-certified family medicine physician affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital, certain foods that contain high amounts of purines — compounds that contain nitrogen found naturally in certain foods and in our bodies — can boost the amount of uric acid crystals your body produces. This increases your risk of having a gout attack.

10 foods that increase your risk of a gout flare-up
Foods that can trigger a gout attack, or worsen your symptoms if you are experiencing gout, include:

  1. Red meats, including beef, lamb, pork and bacon

  2. Organ meats, including liver, tripe sweetbreads, brains and kidney

  3. Anchovies

  4. Sardines

  5. Scallops

  6. Trout

  7. Tuna

  8. Mussels

  9. Beer and other alcohols

  10. Sugary drinks

Dr. Crumpler recommends avoiding these foods high in purines and also notes that losing weight can help prevent gout by reducing the amount of uric acid the body produces and the kidneys process. Controlling your blood pressure, keeping diabetes under control, and controlling heart and kidney diseases are other ways to help prevent gout attacks if you’re living with these conditions.

“Eating or drinking low-fat dairy products may actually reduce your uric acid levels and risk of a gout attack,” says Dr. Crumpler. “They can also promote the excretion of uric acid in your urine.” Talk with your doctor if you are concerned about your risk for having a gout attack. Together, you can determine the steps to take to prevent a new or repeat flare-up.

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