Gout can be a painful and debilitating condition brought on in part by dietary triggers. Actually a form of arthritis, gout (sometimes called gouty arthritis) develops when an over abundance of uric acid in the blood produces crystalline structures in and around joints resulting in painful inflammation, stiffness, tangible heat, tenderness, and swelling. Asymptomatic hyperuricemia is the name for the period before a gout attack where symptoms aren’t present but uric acid is generating needle-like crystals around vulnerable joints. After over-consumption of a trigger food, uric acid levels spike and a gout attack can come on with sudden force. Roughly 4% of American adults experience doctor diagnosed gout (75% are men, 25% are women).
Uric acid is a chemical compound manufactured in the body when cells and certain foods are broken down. The heavy amount of organic “purine” compounds in specific trigger foods serves as the catalyst for uric acid production in the body. While purines are found in very small amounts in virtually all foods, their higher concentration in some foods and beverages can bring on a fierce gout attack within 24 to 72 hours.
The latest evidence suggests that the purines in some vegetables are far less dangerous than those found in animal products, and that vitamin C (like is found in bell peppers, broccoli, and citrus fruits) can help lower the risk of developing gout. Watch out for the following foods to prevent gout and gout attacks:
Consuming alcohol regularly, especially beer, can precipitate an occurrence of gout rather quickly. Not only does the brewer’s yeast and alcohol content itself of beer contain high levels of purines, but consumption of alcohol triggers the body’s kidneys to excrete alcohol instead of uric acid. One of the main defenses for helping the body eliminate toxins and uric acid out of the blood and into the urine, the kidneys play a crucial role in the body’s filtration system. Too much alcohol can tip the scale of uric acid production and the body’s ability to get rid of it, resulting in a painful gout attack.