Diet and Gout: How to Prevent Flare-up

When your big toe swells and becomes painful, it’s possible you’re having a gout flare-up. Gout is a type of arthritis that most often aggravates the joint of your big toe. As a board-certified podiatrist, Thomas Rambacher, DPM, is highly skilled in diagnosing gout and helping you manage your condition to prevent long-term joint damage.

Dr. Rambacher also believes in the value of preventive care, and recommends making lifestyle changes now to reduce your risk factors for gout, especially where your diet is concerned.

Why you have gout

Gout is a painful form of arthritis that causes swelling in your joint and can make you feel like your big toe is burning. Joint inflammation also makes your big toe more sensitive to touch, so any minor contact can trigger intense pain.

This type of arthritis is caused by excess uric acid in your body. This acid is needed to break down purines you get from your diet. Too much acid builds up in your system and can form crystals that irritate and inflame your joints.

During a gout flare-up, you may not be able to move your big toe or walk without pain. This can have a significant impact on your quality of life, making it difficult for you to stay physically active or perform your job duties.

How your diet plays a role in gout

Because your body produces uric acid to break down substances in the foods you eat, you can reduce your risk factors for developing gout by focusing on a healthy, low-purine diet.

Avoiding certain high-purine foods can reduce the amount of uric acid your body is producing. Some of the most common foods to avoid for gout flare-ups include:

Beverages sweetened with fructose or sugar don’t contain purines but are known contributors to increased uric acid levels.

While you may not need to cut these products out of your diet completely, it’s advisable that you use them sparingly. In moderation, you can still eat a nutritious diet without increasing your risk of gout flare-ups.

Creating a prevention diet for gout flare-ups

There are a lot of low-purine foods you can incorporate into your main diet to maintain normal levels of uric acid. Some of these foods can even naturally lower uric acid levels in your body.

To reduce diet-related gout attacks, consider adding more of the following to your diet:

While some vegetables are considered high-purine foods, they don’t contribute to gout flare-ups. You can eat a wide variety of vegetables, including leafy greens, mushrooms, and potatoes.

Eating vitamin C-rich foods and supplementing your diet with vitamin C tablets can also reduce your risk factors for gout flare-ups by lowering uric acid levels in your body.

In addition to dietary changes, you should also focus on maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in daily physical activity to prevent recurrent gout pain. Be sure to stay hydrated with plain water and green tea, while reducing your intake of alcohol.

If you need help managing chronic gout pain or additional dietary advice to prevent gout flare-ups, contact Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle today by calling the office or by requesting an appointment online now. 

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