Gout: Dr. Rosemary Leonard advises on symptoms and treatment
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Gout is a painful form of arthritis that is caused by a build-up in uric acid, known as hyperuricemia. Although there are many causes of gout, lifestyle choices can play a vital role. Eating just one handful of nuts each day could be the key to slashing your risk of painful symptoms.
While consuming too much of certain foods and beverages can increase your risk, the opposite can also be said.
This is often due to the amount of purine in foods.
Foods that are high in purines, such as alcohol and some red meats, can force your body to create more uric acid.
Uric acid is a waste product found in blood, which is created when the body breaks purine.
According to medical research, incorporating certain low-purine foods into your diet can actually help manage flare-ups.
In fact, gout is one of the most manageable forms of arthritis through diet.
How can nuts help gout?
Certain nuts can be beneficial in reducing the risk of gout.
This is particulate true of tree nuts and peanuts, which are low in purines.
Low-purine foods are considered to be those which contain less than 50 milligrams of purines per serving.
According to a study published in 2015 in the Nutrition Journal, eating almonds as part of a balanced diet could lower uric acid levels.
Plant-based, whole foods are also cited as being beneficial in helping to manage gout flare-ups.
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Samantha Heller, a registered dietitian, exercise physiologist and senior clinical nutritionist, said: “Nuts are a good source of vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats.”
She added that they “play a significant role in plant-based eating.”
Thanks to their low-purine content, they are considered a great snack for those who are prone to gout.
However, people should be cautious of how many nuts they consume in one sitting.
One suitable portion of nuts is considered to be approximately a handful.
Experts also say a spoonful of peanut butter may also be beneficial for those who are trying to lower uric acid levels.
What risk factors make you more prone to gout?
While lifestyle choices are one way to increase the risk of uric acid build-up, there are also a number of medical conditions which put patients at a heightened risk of gout.
Risk factors include:
- Diets high in red meat, shellfish, alcohol or fructose-containing foods (a form of sugar)
- Being overweight
- Certain medications, such as those used to control hypertension
- Age and sex – gout occurs more often in men between the ages of 30 and 50 and women who have gone through menopause
- Family history of gout
- Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome or heart and kidney disease
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