According to a 2011 study, the prevalence of hyperuricemia and gout has increased in both men and women over the past 20 years, effecting 8.3 million American adults. Gout affects men 4 times more than women, and is seen to a greater extent in men over the age of 30.
Gout attacks can be quite excruciating, but can be lessened or even prevented with some simple lifestyle changes. Below you will find some recommendations that will improve your quality of life, and reduce the frequency of attacks.
1. Stick to a low purine diet: Purines are amino acids that when metabolized create the waste product uric acid. The following foods are high in purines and should be avoided:
Red meat, pork and lamb
Organs (kidneys, liver, brains, etc.)
2. Follow anti-inflammatory diet: Gout is an inflammatory disease, so it only makes sense to eat foods that do not invoke inflammation.
3. Avoid refined sugars and HFCS: The standard American diet (SAD) is saturated with sugar and sweeteners like HFCS (high fructose corn sugar), and are implicated in many chronic diseases. HFCS is a combination of fructose and glucose sugars and directly linked with metabolic diseases. HFCS increases uric acid, and has also been found to cause scarring in the liver where most uric acid is synthesized.
4. Eliminate alcohol: Alcohol converts to lactic acid, which inhibits the elimination of uric acid.
5. Stay hydrated: This helps flush the system. Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to increase the detoxing effects.
6. Restrict caffeine intake: Studies have found a correlation between caffeine intake within a 24 hour period and increased gout attacks in people who already have the condition.
7. Reduce weight: Obesity puts individuals at higher risk for gout, especially men. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys demonstrated that gout was more prevalent in individuals with a higher body mass index (BMI) score.
8. Manage stress: No matter what the disease stress has a negative effect on the mind and the body. Stress can trigger a gout attack, so it’s important to find productive ways to deal with stress. Here are a few suggestions: meditation, yoga or deep breathing; find what works best for you.
9. Eat lots of cherries or hawthorn berries ( 20 / day): These contain antioxidants and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Studies have found that cherry consumption reduces the frequency of gout attacks.
10. Avoid these medications
Aspirin – Low – dose aspirin increases uric acid levels and the frequency of gout attacks.
Niacin – Competes with uric acid for elimination.
Diuretics (loop or Thiazides) – Raise uric acid levels.
Lifestyle modifications are the most effective deterrent of gout attacks.