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A rich person’s disease.
That’s the association that gout has had for centuries because only these people could afford to consume the meats, seafood and alcohol that seem to precede an attack. Healers and physicians in those early days didn’t understand the science behind gout, but they did observe the benefits of a diet that restricted the consumption of these purine-rich foods.
When the body processes these foods, uric acid is the by-product. A build-up of uric acid will cause crystals to deposit, usually on a joint, thus causing swelling, redness and pain there. Therefore, to avoid getting gout, according to the Mayo Clinic, one should stick to a diet that doesn’t have purine-rich items.
Avoid all organ meats, which some locals jokingly refer to as “spare parts”. These include brains, livers and kidneys, all of which contains high amounts of purine.
Avoid the following high-purine creatures of the deep: anchovy, herring, sardine, mussels, scallop, trout, haddock, mackerel and tuna.
A healthy diet is one that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables, including vegetables that contain purine, such as asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, beans and lentils. Some studies have shown that plant-derived purine does not increase one’s risk in getting gout, but some experts prefer patients not take the risk and stay away from purine-laden veggies. There is evidence that consumption of one particular fruit, the cherry, reduces the risk of gout attacks.
Although gout is referred to as a rich man’s disease, when it comes to alcohol, the choice of the common man — beer — is the worst culprit. Between wine, spirits and beer, The Lancet (published 17 April 2004) advises that the risk of getting gout is highest in beer. If you must drink, stick to wine.
The common-sense pieces of advice for a healthy diet also apply when attempting to keep gout at bay.
Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, losing some not only lowers the risk of gout, but also reduces stress on your joints. “Patients should also exercise frequently,” advises Physician Chew Siew Tiang, from the Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic, explaining that obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol make one more susceptible to gout.
“Maintain sufficient fluid intake,” says Ketki Vinayachandra, from Natural Medicine at Raffles Place. This keeps urine dilute, promotes urate excretion, and reduces risk of kidney stones.
Avoid white bread, cakes, sweetened drinks and products with high-fructose corn syrup. Go for complex carbohydrates such as whole grains.
Compared to proteins from other sources, dairy products — preferably low-fat or fat-free — are associated with lower uric acid levels.
High levels of uric acid in the blood increases the risk of developing gout which will lead to joint inflammation and arthritis.
Eu Yan Sang Uric Acid Health Tea helps to relieve heat and dampness from the body through detoxification mechanism such as urination. It also contains herbs with anti-inflammatory properties such as Desmodii Styracifolii Herba and Cat’s Whiskers. Great for people suffering from joint pain resulting from gout or high uric acid. Prevention is always better than cure!
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This is an adaptation of an article, “Routed by Gout”, which first appeared in Issue 3 of NATURA magazine
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