Monday, 14 November 2016

6 Types of Food that Cause and Worsen Gout

Gout affects bony joints, and is characterized by recurrent inflammatory attacks. These inflammatory attacks cause joint stiffness, redness, joint swelling, and an agonizing pain. Joint swelling and stiffness reduce the range of motion of the joint, and this means that the joint has less strength than normal. This ultimately reduces the physical strength of the affected person. Also, the aforementioned symptoms are characteristic of inflammatory arthritis, and gout is therefore regarded as a form of inflammatory arthritis.
The condition is caused by deposition of urate crystals inside, and around, joint cavities. Urate (or uric acid) crystals form from precipitation of uric acid contained in blood. This denotes that a high blood concentration of uric acid predisposes a person to gout, as this creates a favorable milieu for crystal formation.
Uric acid is a product of metabolism, and this means that consumption of specific foods can lead to excess production of uric acid, and consequently predispose you to gout, or worsen gout if it has already developed.
Gout-causing Foods and Protein Toxicity
Basically, the foods that cause gout contain a high concentration of purines. Uric acid is the final product of metabolic breakdown formed when purines are completely metabolized. It is excreted predominantly in urine. However, uric acid production can outstrip the capacity of the kidney to eliminate it, and this results in a high blood concentration of uric acid, a condition known as hyperuricaemia. Also, if the kidney is impaired, consuming food with high purine content rapidly results in hyperuricaemia as the kidney eliminates less than normal levels of uric acid.
Some protein-rich foods, such as spinach, peas, lentils, and beans, are also rich in purine. Protein metabolism also contributes to the total purine pool. Sometimes, the capacity of the body to eliminate the potentially toxic products of protein metabolism is outstripped, and this results in protein toxicity. However, one systematic review has shown that protein toxicity is not directly associated with the development of gout. On the other hand, excess alcohol intake, alongside consumption of purine-rich animal proteins is strongly associated with gout development. Below is a description of the main foods that cause gout.
Photo Credit: healthylivingdiary.com

1.     
Seafood
The main types of seafood associated with gout are scallops, herring, anchovies and tuna.
Scallops are bivalve mollusks that are commonly served as a seafood delicacy. If you eat a scallop diet, you ingest a lot of purines. During metabolism, the high purine content of scallops leads to the production of a lot of uric acids. The extent of excretion of the uric acid depends on the state of your kidneys. If your kidneys are healthy, more than three-quarters of the uric acid can be excreted normally. However, if your kidneys do not function at their best, hyperuricaemia will develop rapidly, and this disposes you to gout if some of the uric acid precipitates as crystals.
On the other hand, some seafood contains such an exceedingly high concentration of purines that gout-affected people are advised to abstain from them. These include herring, anchovies and tuna. Consumption of these kinds of seafood often causes a sharp increase in uric acid levels in the body, and this leads to more urate crystal being quickly formed and deposited in affected joints, mainly the base of the big toe; and this exacerbates the gout.
2.      Alcohol
Beers and spirits are more strongly associated with gout development as compared to wine. Beers and spirits not only lead to an overproduction of uric acid during metabolism, but they also decrease the capacity of the kidney to eliminate waste substances. Thus, the body retains a significant amount of the uric acid produced, and this allows for the formation and deposition of a large quantity of urate crystals. Moderate consumption of wine is allowed, but excess intake is bad. You must never consume alcohol during periods of gout flare-ups.
3.      Red meat
Different types of animal proteins have different concentrations of purine. Red meat has a higher concentration of purines than white meat. Also, beef and pork contain less purine than either lamb meat or turkey. Also, lamb chops have less purine than the leg meat. Therefore, eating red meat from a lamb or turkey will result in your body producing lots of uric acid, which if not eliminated properly, can result in urate crystal deposition. Gout-prone people are advised to avoid goose and turkey meat, because they have a very high concentration of purines as compared to other animal meat. If you want to eat fowl meat, then duck or chicken meat are a safer alternative.
4.      Organ meat
Sweetbreads, kidneys, and the liver are organ meats that have a very high concentration of purines. They are also easily digested and absorbed into the body, which means that they are also metabolized must faster than other forms of animal meat. This also denotes that if you eat these organ meats, your levels of uric acid in the blood will rise quickly, and for gout-prone or gout-affected individuals, this means rapid development of gout, or an intense flare-up of gout respectively.
5.      Asparagus
Some of the vegetables that have high purine concentration are asparagus, mushrooms and cauliflower. Nonetheless, their purine levels are still lower than those of the aforementioned animal meats. Also, purines produced from vegetables are easily excreted from the body. However, excess consumption of purine-rich vegetables can exacerbate gout in affected people.
6.      Sugary Beverages
Beverages such as fruit drinks and non-diet sodas, which have been sweetened using high-fructose corn syrup, are not recommended. This is because the high-fructose sweetener stimulates your body to increase its production of uric acid. This predisposes you to gout, and this is further validated by a clinical study published in 2010 which showed that high-fructose sweeteners increase the risk of gout.

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