What Not to Eat When You Have Gout
If you have gout, do all you can to avoid animal-based foods high in purines. With these alternatives, you can improve your diet and feel better.
Purines are chemicals found naturally in some foods. When you digest purines, your body produces a waste product called uric acid. Some people experience a build-up of uric acid that causes their joints to swell and become tender, leading to chronic pain. This condition is a type of arthritis known as gout. Watching your diet will help relieve symptoms and should be part of your gout treatment. Here’s how to choose low-purine foods so that gout symptoms will be less likely.
Ban the Beer
“Beer is on the ‘no’ list for people who have gout,” says Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, an associate professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Doctors used to believe that beer was bad for gout because of its alcohol content, but recent studies have shown that other alcoholic beverages may not be as harmful. It could be the brewer’s yeast or another component in beer that causes a reaction. An alternative is to drink wine in moderation.
Say Bye-Bye to Beef
It may be touted as “what’s for dinner,” but beef is a high-purine food and should be avoided — as well as pork and lamb. And while organ meats, such as kidneys, sweetbreads, and brains, aren’t much a part of the American diet anymore, people who live with the chronic pain of gout should definitely skip them because they are high in purines. Sandon suggests white-meat poultry as an alternative. “You don’t see as many problems with poultry as you do with red meat,” she says. Tofu is another choice when considering foods and gout relief.
Farewell to (Some) Fish
Some seafood is higher in purines than others. The worst for people with gout are anchovies, codfish, haddock, herring, mackerel, mussels, roe (fish eggs), sardines, scallops, and trout. “Salmon appears to be an exception and a better choice of seafood for someone with gout,” Sandon says. Most people find they can also eat limited amounts of certain shellfish — crab, lobster, oysters, and shrimp, which contain just a moderate amount of purine.
A Caution About Vegetables
As good as vegetables are in general, some are high in purines, including asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, peas, and mushrooms. However, high-purine vegetables don’t seem to aggravate gout the same way that high-purine animal-based foods do, Sandon says, adding that, “as long as it’s a vegetable source, you can eat it.” One further precaution when balancing foods and gout: Some dried beans, particularly fava and garbanzo, are high in purines, and you may find you need to avoid them.
Fruit, Fructose, and Gout
Fructose is what gives some fruits (and vegetables) their natural sweetness. Researchers report a correlation between foods high in fructose and gout symptoms, which can include chronic pain. These fruits include apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes, prunes, and dates. It’s okay to eat these fruits if you have gout as long as you do so in moderation. Limit yourself to one to two cups per day. More importantly, avoid soda or soft drinks and juices that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Drink water or real fruit juices instead (coffee in moderation should be fine, too).
People with gout should avoid certain foods such as Cheese and Salmon, which are high in purines. Learn to eat & avoid when you have Gout!
Back in my “gout days” I never made the connection between gout and berries. Sure, as part of my good little gout diet I would buy fresh strawberries and blueberries at the grocery store when they were in season, and especially when they were on sale. But when I was having a gout attack, the specific thought of using berries as a natural gout treatment never crossed my mind.
Then came the Xocai chocolate. This “healthy chocolate” that really helped move me past gout is basically a combination of raw cacao, acai berries, and blueberries. It was the HUGE antioxidant load of this chocolate that marked the end of my gout days. So, I became curious and started studying the health benefits of berries. I learned that they are very potent anti-gout foods, just like cherries. In fact, they have the same “active ingredients” as cherries…anthocyanins and flavonoids.
Now, I keep all kinds of berries in my freezer to put in my morning smoothies. But I will confess, raspberries and blackberries are not my favorites because the little seeds get stuck in my teeth. Even though I love the flavor of raspberries and blackberries, I tend to stick with strawberries and blueberries.
If you’ve got gout, are you eating berries…frequently? With so many to choose from, take your pick! Here’s the scoop on the most helpful berries for gout relief.
Berries for Natural Gout Relief
Blueberries: These tiny fruits are a rich source of anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant compound found in dark-skinned berries, from red to deep purple to almost black. Anthocyanin is the flavonoid that produces these deep pigments.
How does this help with gout? In a nutshell: antioxidant anthocyanins can reverse free radical damage in cells, including harmed kidney cells. At the same time, anthocyanins also act as a strong anti-inflammatory capable of providing relief from the pain and swelling of gout. And if these aren’t an enticing enough offer, studies have also shown that anthocyanins all on their own can lower the blood’s uric acid levels. . . a gout sufferer’s dream come true.
There is so much anecdotal evidence — meaning real stories from real people — about how much eating blueberries has helped them to relieve gout. However, we may soon have the hard science to back all this up. I am pleased to tell you that the University of Mississippi Medical Center is planning a study right now that looks into the relationship between blueberries and lowered levels of uric acid in gout sufferers. Stay tuned and I will provide an update when I can.
Blackberries: In traditional American and European folk medicine, blackberries were once so commonly used as a gout remedy that one variety was even nicknamed “gout berry”! There’s little reason to wonder why traditional medicine so strongly favored the blackberry…just like cherries, these plump dark berries are rich in flavonoids, including all-important anthocyanins.
Strawberries: Strawberries are a good source for flavonoids, but are also a rich source of vitamin C, one the main antioxidant vitamins. Also, did you know that the typical strawberry is 90% water? Since dehydration can set off a gout attack, every source of fluids counts, and it’s nice to know you’re getting a little bit of hydration with every naturally sweet handful.
Raspberries: Red raspberries have useful amounts of antioxidant anthocyanins. If you’re okay with the seeds, go for it! Raspberries are particularly tasty as an ingredient in smoothies.
Elderberries: Yes, these berries contain antioxidants that are good for your gout, but no, you don’t want to these in fruit form, especially red elderberries, which contains a form of cyanide in their seeds. If you want to get the benefits of elderberries, choose elderberry juice or elderberry extracts; the seeds are removed before processing.
Bilberry: Sometimes called the “European blueberry,” bilberries have been used for centuries as a traditional remedy for gout. Bilberry is high in anthocyanins and other flavonoids, which again, are incredibly helpful in overcoming the pain and inflammation of gout. It may be next to impossible to find fresh billberries here in the U.S., but billberry extract or billberry tea can offer similar benefits.
Hey Bert. Thanks for the password, I’m moving thru the sessions (just did 2). I’m really enjoying the material, the tips, the food and I’m free of gout! I’ll keep on moving.
Gout Relief & Berries: Why Organic?
One word of caution: all berries you eat absolutely MUST be organically grown, because they are one of those foods that act like a SPONGE when it comes to absorbing herbicides and pesticides.
Better yet, look for locally grown organic berries or an organic pick-your-own berry farm near you to make sure the fruit you are eating is at the peak of ripeness. Ripe fruit is also richest in the polyphenols and other good stuff that helps get rid of gout.
If you go on a berry picking spree, however, you may end up with way more berries than you eat right now. Freezing ripe berries is an easy way to make sure these “magic bullets” are available to you when you need. To freeze them correctly — and not have them end up in clump of freezer burned fruit — follow these easy steps:
- Pick through berries to remove stems, unripened berries, or any damaged berries.
- Rinse the berries in cool water and pat them thoroughly dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Strawberries freeze best when they are hulled, so take a few minutes to remove those green tops.
- Lay the berries in a single layer on a rimmed baking tray.
- Place the tray in the freezer overnight, or at least seven hours to make sure berries are frozen solid.
- Transfer berries to resealable plastic storage bags, forcing as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing.
- Store the frozen berries in the freezer until you’re ready to use them, up to 6 months (or a year if you have a stand-alone deep freezer).
Natural Gout Relief: Beyond Berries
You’re eating more berries…great! However, if you want lasting, permanent relief from the misery that is gout, keep pushing and trying more natural gout treatments. I don’t want to explode into my usual rant about how western medicine has it all wrong and how they’ve subliminally turned the population of every industrialized country into drug addicts…but I can’t help it! LOL!
Seriously, between eating high antioxidant foods — including berries, but also cherries and dark chocolate — getting fresh air and good exercise, and drinking a therapeutic daily dose of alkaline water, I would wager that at least 95% of all gout sufferers could skip the drugs and be healthier without them.
This is just my humble opinion, of course, but if you’ve gout, take advantage of the many natural remedies out there just waiting to give you relief. Taking a natural approach has certainly worked that way for me and for thousands of people that I’ve helped so far. Join us!
☆ Remember: Getting as much antioxidant power into the biochemical workings of your body is a good #killgout thing to do…berries make that happen for you.
Berries and gout are commonly known to many a gout struggler because of their antioxidant content. Here The Gout Killer delivers the factual goods!