Gout occurs when the body has high levels of uric acid, which means painful symptoms such as swollen, sore joints. Being overweight, drinking alcohol and eating foods high in purines increases the risk of gout. Medication helps treat gout, but being vigilant about your diet, including the proteins you eat, might also help manage the illness.
Be Careful About Protein Consumption
In addition to prescribing medication, your doctor will also recommend dietary changes when you're diagnosed with gout. Most notably, you'll have to reduce your intake of foods high in purines, as these foods cause an increase in uric acid. Protein sources of purines include beef, pork, shellfish, anchovies, mackerel and organ meats such as liver and kidneys. Other foods to remove from your diet include asparagus and mushrooms.
Reduce Your Protein Intake
Because many sources of protein contain the purines that lead to uric acid, you must limit how much protein you eat. Focus on proteins such as poultry and avoid eating more than three 2.5-ounce servings. Eat legumes as a source of protein as an alternative to meat. Two low-fat dairy servings per day, such as yogurt, can provide a source of protein while also lowering your body's uric acid levels.
Drink Intake Is Also a Factor
Beyond monitoring protein consumption, being careful about what you drink might help gout symptoms. Because alcohol consumption is a cause of uric acid buildup, eliminate alcohol from your diet. Drink water instead of alcohol. Water can help reduce your body's uric acid levels, which can lessen the severity of your gout symptoms.
Importance of Weight Loss
Lifestyle changes are valuable as a method of managing gout. Because gout typically afflicts those who are overweight, reducing weight with a healthy diet and regular physical activity can be helpful. A low-carbohydrate diet isn't ideal when you have gout, however. When you don't consume enough carbs, your body develops a condition called ketosis that results in heightened uric acid levels.