The human body is designed to have a certain limit in concentration for almost all bodily metabolites such as urea, uric acid, glucose, salts etc. Excess or under concentration of any of these byproducts for a prolonged period of time can result in disease condition. Gout is one of such conditions.
“Gout is a condition caused by excessive concentration of uric acid in the body.”
Consider a scenario where you are walking your dog and suddenly a severe cramp like pain emerges from under your toe. The pain is so severe that you almost had a fall. Or the pain and friction you are suddenly feeling in your fingers and wrists while chopping up a few vegetables. Such gradual changes like swollen feet after just standing for a couple of minutes, lethargy while getting out of the bed in the morning, are all too common situations.
We all tend to ignore these gradual changes in the body until it reaches an irreversible disease state. Gout is such a culprit hat slowly weakens the bones and joints from inside out.
- Uric acid is a by-product of Purine metabolism. Purines are nucleotides found in abundance in protein rich foods.
- Uric acid is only partially soluble in water and therefore excess concentration can result in formation of uric acid crystals. These crystals may stay within the kidneys. But they can also get accumulated between different joints in the body.
- Gout can be both symptomatic I-e. showing symptoms or asymptomatic. Excess uric acid accumulation for a period of 15-30 days can trigger the onset of symptoms.
- The disease is often accompanied by kidney failure, kidney stones, arthritis etc.
- It is classified into Acute and Chronic Gout. Both the types vary on the duration of disease and treatment regimen.
Symptoms of Gout:
Some of the characteristic symptoms of gout are as follows:
- Sudden intense and excruciating pain in the joints of hands and feet and limbs. The pain is usually more often seen in joint, toes, wrists and elbow.
- The pain is usually followed by warm sensation on the aching area, swelling and redness.
- Fever, malaise, tiredness and lethargy are usually concomitant symptoms with Gout.
Uncontrolled uric acid for a prolonged period of time can lead to accumulation of uric acid crystals in the effected joints. These crystals may worsen to form lumps known as Tophi. This advanced chronic stage is called as Chronic Tophaceous Gout.
Some of the symptoms of Chronic stage are as follows:
- Stiffness and friction in joint
- Pain in joints
- Fever and malaise
- Deformation of joints
- Swelling redness and warm sensation on the joints.
Treating Gout with Diet:
This disease is based on unbalanced dietary habits as well as insufficient exercise. Consumption of too much protein such as meat, and excessive weight gain are some of the main causes for raised uric acid concentration. It is therefore only fair to give the body a chance to recover from within without taking medication.
Health professionals and doctors advise the Gout patients to bring drastic changes to their lifestyles or take medication. This modification also prevents future recurrence of the disease. Some of the food groups that have been proven beneficial in this regard are as follows:
Take plenty of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables. The goal of the diet is to lower the over all body concentration of Uric acid. Vitamin C has shown promising results in achieving this goal. At higher doses the vitamin itself acts as a Uricosuric agent (agents that can excrete uric acid from the body). In addition, it acts as a strong antioxidant. This property can help in aiding kidneys and liver against higher urea and uric acid concentration.
The vitamin is abundantly found in the following foods:
- Citrus fruits such as Tangerine, orange, grape fruits etc.
- Broccoli, brussels sprouts
- Berries such as raspberry, strawberry
- Peppers (Bell peppers esp.)
Caffeinated drinks and foods:
One of the causes for high urea and uric acid concentrate in the body, is insufficient kidney functions. Kidneys are responsible for production and excretion of urine from the body. If due any pathological reasoning this process is obstructed, then the overall body conc. of urea and uric acid increases. Therefore, the goal is to improve urine output and volume. Caffeine plays a very key role in this regard. It substantially increases the frequency and volume of urinary output. Thus, more uric acid is excreted out of the body.
Caffeine rich foods as follows:
Fiber containing diet:
Fiber is responsible to form bolus that improves excretion and waste removal from the body. Therefore, fiber can help lose excess weight and also lower uric acid conc in the body. However, one of the main conflicting factors is that some fiber rich foods are also rich in purines. Therefore, it is important to consume fiber that are also low in protein concentration. Foods included in this category are as follows:
- Whole grains such as wheat, barley, oats
- Seeds and beans such as Lima beans, black beans
- Nuts such as almonds, pistachios
High water fruits and vegetables:
Water is life, and in the case of Gout; quite literally. Consuming foods that have naturally high-water content have many benefits in this regard such as:
- More urinary volume and hence increase urinary output
- Removal of uric acid stones from urinary tract and kidneys
- Reduces overall body weight by mimicking the feeling of being full
- Lower body weight can lower inflammation of joints
Water rich foods are as follows:
Anti-inflammatory roots and herbs:
One of the main symptoms of gout is swelling and inflammation in the joints. Food usually acts as a secondary stimulant in flare up of gouty episodes. Intake of high protein diet such as meat, green leafy vegetables etc. can cause sudden and severe gout episodes. It is therefore essential to consume anti-inflammatory foods to prevent this flare up. These foods also help in preventing swelling of the joints. Some of the frequently recommended foods in this category are as follows:
- Ginger root
- Extract from guava leaf
- Green tea
- Olive oil
Get the Gout Out
- 1 cup black cherries
- 1 granny smith apple
- 1 carrot
- ¼ lemon
- 2 celery stalks
- ½ cucumber
- Clean all fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
- Pit the cherries.
- Core the apple, skin(optional), and cut into wedges.
- Peel the lemon, leaving the pit and cut into quaters. Remove all seeds.
- Cut the end off the carrot.
- Juice the cherries, lemon, apple, carrot, celery and then the zucchini.
- Stir to combine the juice before drinking.
- If not consuming immediately, place in refrigerator or freezer inside an air tight container. Make sure to leave enough room for expansion.
These includes seeds such as:
- Fenugreek Seeds: they have proved to have strong anti-inflammatory effects esp. when consumed as hot tea. The overnight expression of seeds in water is frequently advised in ayurvedic and homeopathic medication to relieve gout episode.
- Carom Seeds: They can be used as a tea and herbal extraction along with ginger garlic tea. The resulting substantial decrease in swelling is extremely useful in gout flare ups.
- Fennels seeds
Foods to avoid in Gout episodes:
Protein and Purine rich foods are enemy territory for Gout patients. It is important to avoid such foods esp. in the case of chronic patients. Some of these foods are as follows:
- Meat esp. red meat
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach
- Fish such as mackerel, cod, scallops, anchovies etc.
- Asparagus and mushrooms
- Green peas
There are some diseases that are entirely genetic or a result of some unfortunate environmental hazard. However, there are some diseases that are entirely caused by poor lifestyle choices. Gout is one of such diseases. Prolonged usage of sugary foods and meat result in obesity, liver and kidney diseases as well as bone weakening. We all want to grow old in a healthy and hearty state. Instead of being confined, to a wheelchair or walker. Thus, maintaining healthy dietary habits is crucial to prevent such deteriorating conditions.