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Gout (Hyperuricemia)

Liya M. B. Pillai, Dietician, SUT Hospital, Pattom

Gout is a condition in which the level of uric acid in our body increases gradually. Uric acid is produced by the breakdown of purines (produced when the cells are destroyed). Uric acid is formed even after the digestion of meat (protein) that we eat. Normal blood uric acid levels are 3.4 – 7 mg/dl (in men) and 2.4 – 6mg/dl (in women). Uric acid is excreted through urine and faeces.

Excess uric acid in the body accumulates in the joints of the big toe. This results in severe pain, swelling and inability to move the finger. High uric acid levels can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure.

Things to avoid

  • Purine content in meat is very high. So do not consume more than 1-2 servings daily.
  • Avoid consumption of organs like liver and kidney of mutton, beef, turkey, pork.

Purine content is high in fish such as tuna, sardines, anchovies, kora, pink perch, red snapper, carp, river fish and seafood such as mussels, clams, prawns and shrimps so avoid using them completely. Other fish, egg whites and poultry (in moderation) can be used.

Vegetables such as spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms, and oats should be avoided or limited (depending on blood iron levels). Limit consumption of pulses. Other vegetables and grains can all be included.

What should be included in the diet?

Include Vitamin C rich fruits in diet. It helps to flush out uric acid from the body. So include plenty of oranges, papayas, cherries, kiwifruit, gooseberries, guavas, lemons, etc. Lemon juice helps to increase the alkaline level of the body. So include a glass of lemon water daily. Nuts can be included in moderation (2tbsp). Eggs, skimmed milk, fruits and whole grains are relatively low in purines. Barley, legumes, and quinoa can also be included. Make sure to drink 2-3 litres of water daily. This helps to remove excess uric acid from the kidney as urine.

Other facts

  • Avoid consumption of alcohol completely.
  • Control body weight.
  • Reduce mental stress.
  • Reduce the consumption of sugar.
  • Include more fiber rich foods.
  • People suffering from heart disease, diabetes, kidney diseases, liver diseases, thyroid related problems, should adjust their daily diet only under the advice of a dietician and should avoid single medicine therapy.