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The Effects of Oatmeal on Gout

by
author image Carol Ochs
Carol Ochs is an award-winning writer in the Washington, D.C. area. During 17 years with The Associated Press she covered health, medical and sports stories as a writer, editor and producer. She has written for the health section of "The Washington Post," a Fairfax County stewardship publication and a biopharmaceutical newsletter. Ochs has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Ohio University, Athens.
The Effects of Oatmeal on Gout
Oatmeal with blueberries. Photo Credit Sally Scott/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Oatmeal doesn’t cause gout, but if you’ve been diagnosed with the condition, your doctor might suggest limiting your oatmeal intake. That’s because oatmeal contains purines which contribute to the form of arthritis known as gout. Foods such as liver, kidney, game meats, anchovies and meat gravy contain high levels of purines. Oatmeal contains a moderate amount of purines, so if you have gout, you might be advised to consume oatmeal in moderation.

Purine Levels

The Effects of Oatmeal on Gout
Asparagus has high levels of purine. Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Gout occurs when urate crystals form around a joint, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The crystals can form if you have high levels of uric acid in your blood. Uric acid forms when the body breaks down purines, which are found naturally in the body and some foods. Oatmeal has a moderate level of purines, along with foods such as wheat germ, wheat bran, asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, beef, lamb, pork, dried peas, beans and lentils.

Pain

The Effects of Oatmeal on Gout
Pain in foot. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Gout is a form of arthritis that hits hard and suddenly. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, gout symptoms almost always appear without any warning and often begin in the middle of the night, waking you from sleep. Gout is characterized by intense joint pain that often affects the large joint of the big toe, but pain can also occur in joints in the feet, legs, hands and wrists. The pain is generally at its worst during the first 12 to 24 hours after it begins. Once the intense pain subsides, there may be some discomfort for a period of a few days or weeks, and later attacks may be worse. The affected joints may also become tender, swollen and red.

Change of Lifestyle

The Effects of Oatmeal on Gout
Drinking water and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Photo Credit Adam Gault/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you’re getting too much purine in your diet, whether from oatmeal or other foods, you might be advised to make some lifestyle changes. A doctor may advise you to go on a so-called gout diet that limits your intake of the high-protein foods that tend to have concentrated levels of purines. The NIAMSD adds that you should drink lots of water and maintain a healthy weight. Medications that block the buildup of uric acid in the body might be prescribed to help prevent future attacks. Non-prescription or prescription pain-killers might also be recommended to help you deal with the pain of gout attacks.

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