Avoid Gout: Best and Worst Foods and Meds

Avoiding your next gout attack might depend on what you put in your mouth. That's because many of the foods you eat and vitamins and medicines you take could be gout triggers. Substituting other foods might help you fend off gout attacks.

Gout is caused by a build up of uric acid crystals around the joints. Uric acid is an enzyme our body releases to digest purines and purines are compounds that are present in most foods. Some foods, including specific meats and seafoods, have a high-purine content. These are the ones you want to avoid altogether. Foods with a moderate-purine content, like most fish, meats, poultry, and some beans, can be consumed in small portions. Low-purine foods like nuts, most fresh fruits and veggies and grains are recommended as best choices for people with gout.          

Can You Avoid Purines Altogether?   

No, but by choosing your diet carefully, you can help your body metabolize the purines you do consume efficiently.   

Vitamins, Supplement, and Medications to Avoid

Niacin (vitamin B3) can elevate uric acid levels in the body. Since most people consume enough niacin in the foods they eat, people with gout don't need to consume extra in their vitamin supplements.   

Certain medications, including specific blood pressure medications, aspirin and drugs used to prevent organ transplant rejection may also increase uric acid production. Don't try to adjust or avoid these medications on your own. Only your physician knows which medications and dosages are safe for you. Instead of avoiding these medications, your doctor might prescribe other medications to treat hyperuricemia, the metabolic condition that causes too much uric acid to be released in the bloodstream.   

Alcohol and saturated fats interfere with your body's ability to get rid of uric acid. Avoiding or limiting both alcohol and saturated fats is your best choice. High-fructose corn syrup, which is present in countless processed foods, increases uric acid production. Read labels and avoid foods that list high-fructose corn syrup in the ingredients.

What Can You Eat?   

With the exception of organ meats (liver, heart, spleen, sweetbreads, etc.), herring, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel, most other meats and fish can be consumed in small portions, but limit your intake to no more than four to six ounces per day. Fill up on low-purine foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, and low-fat dairy products.

Simply put, a gout prevention diet looks a lot like the heart healthy, low-fat, complex carbohydrate, lean protein diet that's recommended for every body. Keep in mind, however, that while diet is an important component in preventing gout, it's just one part of a gout prevention and treatment plan. Your doctor will have specific advice about what to eat, avoid and take and what therapies and treatments are best for you.