Gout is a very painful inflammatory condition of the joints, caused by crystallized uric acid collecting around the affected joint. The most common joint affected is the big toe; however, gout can affect the ankle, instep, heel, knee, spine, elbow, wrist, and finger. In severe cases, gout can deform the affected joint.
People prone to gout tend to have high uric acid levels in their blood. The high uric acid levels may be caused by the kidneys’ failure to adequately remove uric acid from the blood.
Uric Acid Level
You say, "Okay, my kidneys aren’t working properly. So what can I do to cure my gout?" The answer is you can do a lot.
First of all, certain foods and beverages heighten the body’s uric acid level, and certain foods and beverages don’t. So if you avoid the foods and beverages that heighten your uric acid level, and partake in the foods and beverages that don’t, you will never get a gout attack - thus curing your gout condition!
What are the foods and beverages that heighten the body’s uric acid level, causing a gout attack? Meats and seafood promote gout attacks. Do you like beef, pork, lamb, liver, bacon, fish, lobster, mussels, scallops, or shrimp? Sorry, you have to pass on these. To a lesser degree, chicken, turkey, and duck promote gout attacks. Do you like beer? Well you don’t anymore, because beer promotes gout attacks.
Avoiding meats and seafood puts you in a dilemma. You avoid these foods to avoid gout attacks, but your body cannot function properly without protein - meats and seafood are common sources of protein! What do you do?
Luckily, there are high-protein foods that don’t cause gout attacks. They are listed below categorically.
Eggs and Dairy Products: High in protein are milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, and eggs.
Grains and Cereals: High in protein are buckwheat, amaranth grain (usually sold in health food shops), and quinoa.
Nuts and Seeds: High in protein are peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds.
Beans including Soy: High in protein are tofu, soy milk, beans, soy beans, and split peas.
So all you have to do is substitute these high-protein foods for the meats and seafood that you usually eat. "But what about beer? Is there a substitute for that? I need to have a beer to unwind after work," you say. Once again, you are in luck.
Since red wine doesn’t elevate the body’s uric acid level, it doesn’t cause gout attacks. In fact, red wine may even lower uric acid levels! And certainly red wine is just as effective as beer in helping you to unwind.
High-Dose Vitamin C
Not only may red wine reduce uric acid levels, vitamin C may also do likewise. High-dose vitamin C reduces uric acid levels in most gout sufferers. However, for some gout sufferers, high-dose vitamin C worsens their condition.
A dose of 500 mg per day significantly reduces uric acid levels in most gout sufferers. But before you begin a vitamin C regimen, you should get your physician’s approval; because high-dose vitamin C might possibly eliminate uric acid from your body too quickly, causing kidney stones.
Is Protein Substitution Practical?
Some of you may be saying right about now, "Okay, this all makes sense, but it’s impractical. This protein substitution lacks variety; there’s no way I can follow it." Lack of variety? Let’s see. I’ll attempt to brainstorm a variety of gout-safe high-protein foods.
The following foods contain cheese, and can be served without meats and seafood: pizza, cheese ravioli, baked ziti, mozzarella sticks, eggplant Parmesan, cheese omelette, lasagna, muffin egg and cheese sandwich, macaroni and cheese, baked potato with cheddar cheese sauce, stuffed shells Italiano, cheese manicotti in marinara sauce, salad with blue cheese dressing, cheesecake, broccoli cheese soup, asparagus with Parmesan cheese, smoked mozzarella fonduta, fettuccine alfredo, penne with goat cheese, and ricotta gnocchi.
The following foods contain buckwheat, and can be served without meats and seafood: buckwheat pancakes, buckwheat breads, buckwheat muffins, buckwheat crackers, buckwheat bagels, buckwheat cookies, buckwheat tortillas, some breakfast cereals, buckwheat grits, kasha, buckwheat porridge, buckwheat salad with mushrooms and parsley oil, kasha varnishkes, buckwheat noodles, Japanese soba noodles, California buckwheat chapati, kasha knishes, and some blini.
The following foods contain peanuts, and can be served without meats and seafood: peanut candy, salted nuts, peanut butter, peanut butter sandwiches, vegetable salads mixed with peanut sauce, peanut-based dipping sauce, peanut butter crackers, mandelonas (peanuts soaked in almond flavoring), some health food bars, some breakfast cereals, peanut butter cookies, celery sticks filled with peanut butter, honey peanut steamed tea bread, cherry peanut granola, peanut squares, peanut butter crisps, trail mixes, some spaghetti sauces, boiled peanuts, peanut butter spread on toast, gorp (good old raisins and peanuts), Cajun flavored peanuts, peanut soup, peanut rolls, peanut muffins, peanut cake, peanut pudding, baked peanuts with rice, and peanut stuffing.
The following foods contain tofu, and can be served without meats and seafood: tofu with vegetable medley, tofu muffins, tofu and cheese omelet, sauteed tofu steak, tofu caramel custard, tofu anmitsu (traditional fruit salad), broiled tofu steak, tomato and olive tofu spread, braised cubed tofu steak with eggplant and zucchini, tofu steak with teriyaki butter sauce, tofu steak sandwich, tofu steak with salsa sauce, tofu steak nuggets, tofu steak fajita, tofu steak with Asian mushroom sauce, tofu and egg burger, tofu and vegetable burger, tofu burger, tofu quesadilla, oriental tofu salad, split pea soup with tofu, creamy oriental tofu dressing, tofu broccoli lasagna, grilled tofu and cheese, tofu spaghetti sauce, Spanish rice with tofu, tofu and vegetable stir-fry, zesty Italian pasta and tofu, spicy tofu chili, spicy tofu burritos, Tex-Mex tofu lasagna, pita stuffed tofu salad, tofu custard filled cake, pineapple tofu pie, and tofu custard with sesame flavor.
Attempting brevity, I only brainstormed gout-safe high-protein foods containing cheese, buckwheat, peanuts, and tofu. If I were to include gout-safe high-protein foods containing milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, amaranth grain, quinoa, almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, soy milk, beans, soy beans, and split peas, I would end up writing a novel. Though I only focused on foods containing cheese, buckwheat, peanuts, and tofu, you can see that there is plenty of variety.
Warnings, Interactions, and Side Effect
Gout attacks can be cured by following the dietary changes suggested here. However, please keep in mind that it is easier to prevent gout attacks than intervene in the middle of gout attacks. So it is best to use the suggested dietary changes proactively rather than reactively.
Some foods suggested here can dangerously interact with some prescription drugs or medical conditions. For example, eating cheese while taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) can kill you. Also, drinking red wine while having liver cirrhosis can worsen your condition. So to be on the safe side, you should get the approval of your physician and pharmacist before following the suggested dietary changes.
Gout-prone people can have a side effect from aspirin. Though normal people can take aspirin without having a side effect, gout-prone people can have the side effect of a gout attack. So if you are gout-prone and have a headache, it is best that you take Motrin (ibuprofen) instead of Bayer (aspirin).
Though prescription drugs such as allopurinol prevent gout attacks, some people prefer a more natural prevention. This article outlines a gout prevention plan, consisting of protein substitution, alcoholic beverage substitution, and taking high-dose vitamin C supplements. This article proposes that dietary changes alone can prevent gout attacks.