A gout is a painful form of arthritis (via Mayo Clinic). It is caused by crystals that accumulate in and around one or more joints due to high levels of uric acid in the blood. People who have gout often experience gout attacks, which are sudden bursts of pain and swelling in the affected areas of the body. Gout can be treated by medications that manage pain or decrease levels of uric acid in the blood. Lifestyle changes can also help. Many people with gout are encouraged to follow a gout diet, which involves eating foods that can also help decrease the levels of uric acid in the body.
When left untreated, gout will likely only get worse. Without managing inflammation and swelling, joints affected by gout can eventually erode and get destroyed. This condition can also turn into advanced gout, which causes urate crystal deposits under the skin that can become tender during gout attacks. Untreated gout can even lead to kidney stones because excess crystals can collect in the urinary tract system. If you have got or suspect you do, schedule a visit with your doctor to discuss treatment.
As mentioned above, one common way to treat gout symptoms is to follow a gout diet. This diet is generally well-balanced but does involve avoiding certain foods that can make your symptoms worse (via WebMD). Some of the best foods to enjoy include vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. Some types of meat, including fish and chicken, are okay to enjoy in moderation. However, plant-based proteins like tofu are ideal because they are low in purines that can increase uric acid in the blood.
Anchovies, shellfish, sardines, and tuna are all higher in purines and should be avoided. You should also avoid red meat, organ meats like liver, beer, and foods high in sugar. All of these foods can affect the levels of uric acid in your blood and cause gout attacks. However, everyone will have different tolerance levels to these foods. You may find that some foods make your gout symptoms worse while others don’t affect you much at all. It may be helpful to keep track of what you eat and how it affects your symptoms.