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Why You May Need to Avoid Purine-Rich Foods

Why You May Need to Avoid Purine-Rich Foods

When your feet or toes hurt, you may not be thinking about your diet as the cause. However, if you have a condition known as gout, what you eat can have a significant effect on how often you suffer from pain and its severity.

The podiatrists at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center in Arlington and Dallas, Texas, Dr. Michael Tran and Dr. Scott Floyd routinely treat patients suffering from gout, and want to provide guidance on how to manage gout with minor dietary changes.

Everything you need to know about gout

It’s estimated that 8 million Americans suffer from gout, which is a complex form of arthritis affecting mainly men aged 30-50 and post-menopausal women. While gout can affect any joint, it usually presents initially in the large joint at the base of the big toe.

Gout is caused when urate crystals collect in the joint, causing inflammation and pain. The crystals are formed because of high levels of uric acid in the blood. This occurs if your body has to process large amounts of purines. Purines are naturally produced by your body, but are also found in purine-rich foods and beverages.

The pain can range from a dull ache to a pricking sensation to agonizing pain that won’t allow you to even wear a sock or shoe or tolerate a sheet over your foot in bed. Pain can completely disrupt your everyday life and restrict your mobility, but there’s good news: changing your diet can help prevent flare-ups.

The connection between gout and purine

Purines are organic chemicals formed inside the body (mostly in the liver and kidneys) by the breakdown of DNA (cellular death.) This produces uric acid, which isn’t all bad; your body needs uric acid to support your immune system. However, too much uric acid can lead to gout.

Purines are also found in many things we eat and drink. For example, beer is extremely high in purines, and people who drink large amounts of beer are at higher risk for gout. If you already have gout, high intake of purines can make it worse: in fact, one clinical study noted that excessive purine intake increases the risk of recurrent gout attacks by almost 500% among gout patients. 

Creating a low-purine gout diet

Here’s what to eat and what not to eat if you’re trying to avoid excessive purines and prevent or relieve painful gout symptoms. 

Avoid these purine-rich foods

These foods are high in purine and can increase your risk of a flare up:

Interestingly, although many vegetables are high in purines, they don’t seem to provoke gout attacks like other purine-rich foods.

Consume these low-purine foods instead

These foods can help keep you from increasing uric acid levels:

By making the right food choices for a low-purine diet, you can help yourself escape the pain of gout.

Suffering from gout pain? We can help. Request an appointment with AllCare Foot & Ankle Center online or call one of our convenient offices to set up a consultation. 

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