Healthy lifestyle is a key part of an effective gout treatment plan. Eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity and losing weight if needed can lower your risk of repeated gout attacks, as well as the chances of developing heart disease, which is common in people with gout.
Developing a lifelong eating strategy that focuses on following a heart-healthy diet should be the goal for people with gout. This diet includes all the food groups, especially vegetables, whole grains, plant proteins such as nuts and legumes, and low-fat dairy. Refined carbohydrates and processed foods should be kept to a minimum.
The following foods either lower uric acid levels or are good for the heart:
- Skim milk and other low fat dairy products
- Whole grain foods
- Plant oils (olive, canola, sunflower)
- All vegetables
- Some fruits (those that are less sweet)
- Vitamin C supplements (500 to 1,000 milligrams daily)
- Coffee – if you already drink it
The following foods are high in purines, or are known to trigger gout attacks:
- Red meat and organ means (liver, tongue and sweetbreads)
- Shellfish such as shrimp and lobster
- Sugary beverages
- Excessive alcohol (more than one alcoholic drink for women and two for men within 24 hours)
Physical Activity and Weight Management
Reaching and maintaining a proper weight is an important part of managing gout. Not only does losing weight help reduce the uric acid in the blood, it can lessen the risk of heart disease or stroke, both common in people who have gout. Being physically active is an important part of managing weight. But getting started on losing weight or being active isn’t always easy. A doctor can help patients set realistic goals and choose appropriate exercise.