Being hydrated, eating a diet that is rich in grains and vegetables and avoiding the consumption of red meat helps to reduce the frequency of gout, a syndrome characterized by repeated episodes of joint pain and inflammation.
This metabolic disease is a type of arthritis that causes repeated severe episodes of pain, sensitivity, redness, heat and swelling to the joints. According to the Arthritis Foundation, gout is caused by an increase of uric acid in the blood and crystal formations of this substance in the joints.
The joint that is most frequently affected by this condition is the big toe of the foot; the ankle and knee are also often affected however. (See the section on “What is uric acid?”)
This is a condition that can be controlled if it is correctly diagnosed and if the recommended changes to one’s diet and lifestyle are made. Proper treatment may help to prevent joint damage later on.
What is uric acid?
Uric acid is a liquid that forms when the body decomposes waste products, called purines. It is dissolved in the blood and passes through the kidneys and is passed onto the urine. People with gout have high levels of uric acid in their body.
Phases of gout:
1. Sudden pain and swelling of the joints, which generally disappear after 5 to 10 days.
2. A period of time passes without symptoms, followed by new abrupt attacks of gout.
3. After some years, if no treatment is administered, chronic swelling, stiffness and slight to moderate pain may affect one or more joints.
Purine content in food
Liver, sweet breads, fish, eggs, beer, sardines, red meats and wine have high levels of purine. Limiting the consumption of these products helps to control acute episodes of gout.