By Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that effects about 2% of the US population. We have received many questions from Rebooters who are suffering from gout and wondering if a Reboot may help and what they should or should not include as part of their plan. You asked, we answer!
What is gout?
Gout results from a build up of uric acid in the blood and most often effects the joints but can also cause complications for the kidneys or urinary tract. Not everyone with too much uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia) develops gout, but for those who do it can be a very painful condition. When uric acid crystals deposit in the fluid surrounding the joints, it can cause inflammation, swelling and pain. The body recognizes the uric acid crystals as foreign and the immune system attacks and digests them, but in the process releases chemicals that contribute to inflammation or swelling, redness and pain. Approximately 15% of people with gout develop kidney stones caused by uric acid build up.
Who is at risk for gout?
Gout is more common in men, and women are more at risk after menopause. There appears to be a genetic component but aging and certain lifestyle-related and other heath conditions can also increase your risk of developing gout, including:
• High blood pressure
• Kidney disease
• Leukemia and other blood cancers
• Those taking medications that can affect blood levels of uric acid (certain diuretics)
Which dietary factors increase the risk of gout?
• Eating large amounts of meat, seafood, high fructose corn syrup containing drinks, sodas
• Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
• Rapid weight loss
What can you do to reduce your risk of gout?
Since diets high in meats and processed foods like soda and HFCS are triggers for a gout attack, a plant based diet can be a helpful and risk-reducing alternative to the standard western or American diet.
• If you are overweight, losing weight can help
• Choose whole grains over refined, processed grains
• Limit alcohol intake
• Limit intake of fatty foods, like fried foods
• Limit intake of purine-rich foods if you already have gout to prevent an attack, like organ meats (liver, kidney, sweetbread), anchovies, sardines, herring. For some, plant foods like legumes, mushroom, cauliflower, brewer’s yeast and spinach should also be reduced in the diet.
• Eat and drink more natural, Vitamin C rich foods including oranges, kiwi fruits, pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberries, cherries (which are particularly good for joints) kale and other dark green leafy veggies, red peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts.
• Including small amounts of coffee may decrease uric acid levels in the blood.
Are there special considerations for my Reboot if I have gout?
Since fasting can be a trigger for gout symptoms in those who already have the condition and also for those at risk for getting gout, planning your Reboot carefully is important. A Reboot is not technically fasting, since you are still ingesting vital nutrients but rapid weight loss may not be good for gout sufferers.
To avoid triggering gout during your Reboot, be sure to:
• Consult with your doctor before starting a Reboot
• Drink enough juice to nourish your body
• Consider eating veggies/fruits and drinking juice, like our Quick Start, Plus Dinner or Express programs
• Drink plenty of water
• Include Vitamin C rich fruits and veggies with all your juices, meals and snacks
• Limit the amount of purine containing veggies like spinach, mushrooms, cauliflower, asparagus.
Do you suffer from gout? Has a Reboot helped your gout? Did you follow any special guidelines during your Reboot because of your gout? We would love to hear from you!