If you have gout, a painful type of arthritis, you know that the swelling it causes in the joint of your big toe can cause burning, sensitivity, and extreme pain. Our board-certified providers at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers offer specialized care to help you manage this troublesome condition.
Our podiatrists also believe in helping our patients reclaim control of their foot and ankle health through lifestyle changes, like your diet. And when it comes to gout, the foods you eat can help — or hurt — your condition.
Keep reading to learn about five healthy foods that can help reduce gout flare-ups and improve your condition — and the foods to avoid to minimize pain.
Five healthy foods for reducing gout flare-ups
You develop gout when you have too much uric acid in your body. This type of acid helps break down purines in some foods you eat. Your body produces more uric acid when your diet is high in purines.
This can be difficult for your kidneys to process. When your kidneys can’t keep up, the result is a buildup of uric acid, which turns into crystals that can collect in the joints of your big toes, leading to gout.
The good news is that you can make different food choices to help lower the level of uric acid in your body. In addition to drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated, some of the best foods for managing gout include:
- Fruits and veggies high in vitamin C (e.g., spinach, oranges, strawberries)
- Vegetables (especially broccoli, dark leafy greens, and bell peppers)
- Whole grains
You might notice that these foods are plant-based, and there’s a reason: even vegetables with high purine levels don’t trigger gout. And plant-based foods are high in antioxidants, reducing excess uric acid and inflammation.
Five foods that make gout worse
Unfortunately, you can make gout worse by eating certain foods or consuming certain beverages that trigger uric acid production or inflammation. For example, beverages high in sugar or fructose cause your body to boost uric acid and can trigger gout flare-ups.
The worst foods for gout, however, are those high in purines. Foods and beverages especially linked to gout flare-ups include:
- Processed foods (e.g., canned foods, ready-to-eat meals,; deli meats)
- Foods made with refined carbohydrates (e.g., crackers, white breads, cookies, baked goods)
- Game and organ meats
- Beer and yeast
Gout flare-ups are incredibly painful and can make it difficult to participate in your normal activities. You might not be able to walk or get around without significant pain, so be sure to eliminate the above foods to keep these flare-ups at bay.
Professional help managing gout
Dietary changes can go a long way toward managing gout, but it’s important to have medical treatment if you suspect you have this disease. This is because untreated gout can not only cause chronic pain, it can lead to permanent joint damage.
At Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers, your provider first reviews your medical history, discusses your symptoms, and examines your feet. They may take a small sample of joint fluid to confirm your gout diagnosis.
Your podiatrist then creates a customized gout treatment plan based on your unique needs. This plan may include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Oral corticosteroid medications
- Corticosteroid injections
- Colchicine medications to reduce uric acid crystals
Get effective gout treatment by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone at the Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers nearest you.