What Is Gout?
Gout is an inflammatory arthritis caused by the deposit of uric acid crystals within the joints. Gout is relatively common in men and older women. It can be quite painful.
Factors That Increase Risk
- Alcohol Avoid alcohol altogether or strictly limit your intake. Beer is associated with the greatest risk of gout. For example, five middies of beer daily increases the risk of gout by two-and-a-half times. But even one drink per day will raise it!
- Meat Avoid red meat. Men with the highest intake of red meat had a 41 per cent higher risk of gout than men with the lowest intake.
- Being overweight Attain and maintain a healthy body weight. High levels of body fat may lead to high uric acid levels.
- Seafood Shun shellfish—prawns, lobster, crab and mussels. Men consuming the highest amounts of seafood had a 51 per cent higher risk than men consuming the least.
- High blood pressure If you have high blood pressure, lower this through lifestyle medicine such as regular exercise and a low-salt, high-fruit and vegetable diet.
Decrease Your Risk
- Water Drink plenty of plain water daily. Aim for two to three litres.
- Vegetables Include at least five serves of different-coloured vegetables daily. Research shows that although some vegetables have a high purine content (which breaks down to uric acid in the body), they do not increase gout risk. A higher protein intake from all vegetables actually reduced the risk of gout by 27 per cent.
- Low-fat dairy Include low-fat milk (or calcium-fortified soy milk) or low-fat yoghurt in your daily diet. Dairy products have a low purine content and have been associated with a reduced risk of gout.
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