Arthritis

Updated 23 June 2014

Gout and your diet

Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis. Research suggests that eating the right food can aid in reducing the symptoms. Here’s what to avoid and what to enjoy.

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Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis. Research suggests that eating the right food can aid in reducing the symptoms. Here's what to avoid and what to enjoy.

Restricting dietary purines
Dietary guidelines to restrict purine content - which causes uric acid - include the following:

 

  • Water – Drink at least 6 glasses per day and make sure that you have one of the glasses before you go to sleep. It helps getting rid of uric acid.
  • Tofu (bean curd) - Use as protein source. Research suggests that it increases uric acid secretion.
  • Macronutrients – Diet should be relatively high in carbohydrate (like bread, rice and pasta), moderate in protein (e.g. tofu) and low in fat.
  • Alcohol – An excess of alcohol should be avoided. Total abstinence and avoidance of alcohol may be required in severe cases.
  • Body weight – Maintenance of, or gradual reduction to, ideal body weight could prove helpful.

Foods with a high purine content
These foods contain 100 to 1000 mg of purine nitrogen per 100 g of food. Patients suffering from gout should not eat the foods included in this list:

 

  • Anchovies
  • Brains
  • Consommé
  • Goose
  • Gravy
  • Heart
  • Herring
  • Kidney
  • Mackerel
  • Meat extracts
  • Mincemeat
  • Mussels
  • Roe
  • Sardines
  • Yeast (baker’s and brewer’s, taken as supplement)

Foods with a moderate purine content
These foods contain 9 to 100 mg of purine nitrogen per 100 g of food. One serving of meat, fish or poultry (90 g) or one serving of vegetables (1/2 cup) from this group, is allowed per day, depending on the condition of the patient:

  • Asparagus
  • Dried beans
  • Lentils
  • Meat, fish and poultry (except the above-mentioned)
  • Mushrooms
  • Dried peas
  • Shellfish
  • Spinach

 

Foods with a low purine content
These foods contain negligible amounts of purine and may be used daily:

  • Bread (white) and crackers
  • Butter or margarine (in moderation)
  • Cake and cookies
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Cereals
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Cream (in moderation)
  • Custard
  • Eggs
  • Fats (in moderation)
  • Fruit
  • Gelatin desserts
  • Herbs
  • Ice cream
  • Milk
  • Noodles
  • Nuts
  • Oil
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Pasta
  • Popcorn
  • Puddings
  • Relishes
  • Rice
  • Salt
  • Sugar and sweets
  • Tea
  • Vegetables (except those mentioned in the first group)
  • Vinegar

Source: Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet therapy, 10th edition (Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S)

 

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Arthritis expert

Professor Asgar Ali Kalla completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 1975 at the University of Cape Town and his FRCP in 2003 in London. Professor Ali Kalla is the Isaac Albow Chair of Rheumatology at the University of Cape Town and also the Head of Division of Rheumatology at Groote Schuur Hospital. He has participated in a number of clinical trials for rheumatology and is active in community outreach. Prof Ali Kalla is an expert in Arthritis for Health24.

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