The 4 Best (and 7 Worst) Foods and Meds for Gout Patients

Avoiding your next gout attack might depend on what you put in your mouth. That's because many of the foods you eat--and the vitamins and medicines you take--could be gout triggers. So avoiding certain foods, supplements, and medications 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 your body releases to digest purines; these 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.

Can You Avoid All Purines?   

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

Vitamins, Medications, and Foods to Avoid

The following can raise uric acid levels in the body:

  1. Niacin (vitamin B3). Since most people consume enough niacin in the foods they eat, people with gout don't need to consume extra in their vitamin supplements.   
  2. Certain blood pressure medications.
  3. Aspirin.
  4. Drugs used to prevent organ transplant rejection (immunosuppressants).

    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.

  5. Alcohol and saturated fats. These interfere with your body's ability to get rid of uric acid. Avoiding or limiting both alcohol and saturated fats is your best choice.
  6. High-fructose corn syrup. Read labels and avoid foods that list high-fructose corn syrup in the ingredients.
  7. Organ meats and certain fish. Avoid liver, heart, spleen, and sweetbreads, as well as herring, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel.

What Can You Eat?   

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. Meanwhile, fill up on low purine foods like the following:

  1. Fruits
  2. Veggies
  3. Nuts
  4. Grains

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.