Finding your triggers is as important as changing your lifestyle and your dietary habits. Vegetarian diet tips could be your first step to a pain-free life. Explore appropriate websites to know different remedies, to gather more information, and share your gout stories and discuss potential changes you have made to lead a healthier life. So let’s continue reading the article and tips provided by Spiro Koulouris.
What is Gout?
When there is excess uric acid in the blood, it can fluid build-up around the joints resulting in the formation of uric acid crystals, which in turn results in inflamed and painful joints. This condition is known as Gout and causes intense, and sometimes debilitation pain referred to as gouty arthritis. Too much uric acid build-up can happen in your body if:
There is too much production in comparison to the amount excreted by the kidneys, or,
You are consuming too much purine in your diet. Purines usually come from seafood, meat, and alcohol.
Some other risk factors that can increase your chances of developing this painful and debilitating condition are:
- Genetic or family history of Gout.
- Men are more likely to suffer than women in general.
- Obesity and old age.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Kidney disease.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
In certain inflammatory conditions, your blood uric acid levels could come back normal while you are still suffering from intense pain. This occurs because your kidneys are excreting too much uric acid in the urine, causing the blood levels to drop.
How does diet affect Gout flare-ups?
The usual food triggers in most gout sufferers are foods rich in either;
When metabolized, purines are broken down into uric acid.
Normally this uric acid is excreted from the body through urine. However, increased excessively high levels of uric acid in blood results in the formation of uric acid crystals resulting in the development of gout.
Seafood, red meat, yeast, and alcohol have very high purine content.
The high content of purines in alcohol causes disruption in the excretion of uric acid from the body.
Sugar rich food products are high in nutritionally devoid calories, increasing your risk for obesity and other metabolic disorders.
Metabolic disorders or more commonly known as metabolic syndrome is a risk factor in the development of gout.
Also, sugar breaks down to glucose and fructose, and uric acid is formed as a by-product of fructose metabolism.
Is a vegetarian diet the solution?
A vegetarian diet is beneficial because of its:
- High antioxidant content
- Low content of saturated fats
- High fiber content
- High vitamin C content which reduces uric acid concentration in blood.
- High alkalizing properties, reducing the acidic environment as is present in conditions such as gout.
- The high nutrient density that counteracts the bad effects of purines.
Apart from this, the vegetarian diet is easy to digest, and thus you feel more energetic. A plant-based diet is proven to help reduce weight and lifestyle-related disorders.
A person consuming a plant-based diet lives longer than non-vegetarians.
However, only a vegetarian diet is not enough for a healthier lifestyle, and to avoid gout induced pain, you will need to cut on alcohol, sugar, and processed food as well. It has been proven in a study that a vegetarian diet lowered the uric acid levels of the participants by 93% over a period of a few weeks.
You don’t need to go vegan to get the benefits of plant-based food. Diary and eggs have been known to have multiple benefits to the human body. In fact, milk is essential if you suffer from gout. Occasional seafood will also not do much harm if you cannot completely switch to vegetarianism.
The addition of soy food can also decrease the risk of the occurrence of gout. However, one study indicated that uric acid levels varied after consuming different types and amounts of soy products. Also, men are having increased sensitivity to uric acid responses post soy consumption.
How to transition successfully from a meat-based diet into a vegetarian diet?
If you thrive on a meat-based diet, transitioning to a completely vegetarian diet could present some hurdles. Some of these tips can make your adaption easier:
Fill your day with vegetables and fruits.
Fruits are especially anti-inflammatory and minimize symptoms of Gout. Also, they make your urine more alkaline, thus increasing the flushing of uric acid.
Almost all berries and even cherries contain anthocyanins that break down uric acid and promote its urinary excretion.
Slowly increase the number of days you go meatless in a week.
Avoid processed and nutritionally devoid foods.
Avoid sugar-based beverages and colas.
Consume nuts, beans, seeds, and whole grains to make up for the loss of a protein that you would normally consume with meats and seafood.
Vitamin C and iron-rich foods must be included to avoid lethargy.
Foods such as walnuts and seeds can make up for the lack of Omega 3, which comes from seafood and eggs.
Take supplements for Vitamin B12 as this vitamin is only found in a meat-based diet.
Include low-fat dairy in your diet.
Try different variations and make vegetarianism a part of your lifestyle gradually.
Vegetarian foods to avoid if you suffer from Gout
Yes! A shift to vegetarianism is proven to be helpful in preventing painful attacks. However, there are many vegetarian foods that could act as triggers for you and also cause nutritional deficiencies. Avoid these foods at all costs:
Dried and dehydrated fruits, especially raisins, figs, dates, and apricots; these have very high fructose content.
Any sweetener that is high in fructose or contains corn syrup.
Yeast as it is very high in purines. The sourer the bread, the yeastier it is.
Sugar and sugar substitutes.
In the end, follow a balanced diet. Make sure you are consuming enough vitamins and minerals required for a healthy body. Although the plant diet is not completely purine free, it definitely has much lower purine content than a meat-based diet.
Identify and avoid your triggers, lose some weight, control your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, lower down your blood pressure, and get active to reduce the incidences of a gout attack.