Avoid high-purine foods, gout sufferers are told. But purine is found in almost all animal and plant protein foods… so what foods can gout sufferers eat in order to keep their uric acid levels in check?
“Although people with gout should avoid proteins with very high purine concentrations such as organs, seafood and shellfish, and meats like venison, sausages and bacon, they can still eat proteins with lower purine content moderately,” says Ms Magdalin Cheong, Chief Dietitian, Dietetic & Food Services at Changi General Hospital.
What is gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that attacks joints and causes acute pain and swelling mostly in the big toe and fingers, and sometimes, in the wrists, elbows, knees and ankles.
Gout attacks are triggered by uric acid build-up in the joints. The body produces uric acid whenever it breaks down purine-containing foods.
Gout-friendly foods (low purine)
White bread, pasta and noodles
Refined carbohydrates are safe to eat for gout sufferers because they have a low purine content. But too much consumption of refined carbohydrates can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and increase one’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
Whole grain breads and whole grain pasta are healthier than refined carbohydrates, but since they contain moderate amounts of purine, they should be eaten occasionally.
Nuts and seeds
A gout-friendly diet should include two tablespoons of nuts and seeds every day. Good sources of low-purine nuts and seeds include walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds and cashew nuts.
Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
Low-fat milk and low-fat yogurt are excellent foods for gout sufferers because of their low purine content and ability to lower gout risk.
Eggs are low in purines, but limit consumption to 2 to 3 a week because eggs contain high cholesterol.
Essential fatty acids found in cold-water fish such as tuna can reduce gout inflammation. However, to prevent a gout flare-up, limit the intake of fish to one serving per day as it still contains purines, says Ms Cheong.
Eat plenty of vegetables such as kailan, cabbage, squash, red bell pepper, beetroot, but limit the intake of vegetables with moderate purine content such as asparagus, spinach, cauliflower and mushrooms.
Eat fruits high in vitamin C such as oranges, tangerines, papaya and cherries. Apples, pears, pineapples, avocados are low-purine fruits and therefore can be eaten in moderation.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day unless you are advised to restrict your fluid intake due to medical reasons.
Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea are safe for gout sufferers.
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