The accumulation of uric acid in the joints causes gout. It mainly occurs in the feet and toes. The body produces uric acid when processing purines. Purines and uric acid are both necessary chemicals in the body that help with a number of functions. Some of the purines in the blood enter the body through foods while others occur naturally. Preventing the painful formation of uric acid crystals in the joints means learning what food causes gout. Avoiding these foods will reduce the production of uric acid.
The most important association between food and gout involves animal proteins. Purines are present in all animal proteins in varying levels. Liver, mackerel and anchovies have the highest levels of purines. Red meats, poultry and fatty fish also contain significant levels. These proteins need to be limited or completely avoided. Not all foods that contain purines are associated with increased uric acid levels. Some plant-based foods like peas, mushrooms, spinach and beans have high levels of purines but do not dramatically increase uric acid production when eaten in normal portions.
Other gout foods to avoid are items containing saturated fats. These fats tend to be solid or semi-solid at room temperature. They are present in many dairy products including full-fat cheese, butter and milk. Reduced fat dairy products are a better choice for people suffering from gout. Saturated fats do not increase the production of uric acid. They do prevent the body from removing the uric acid at a normal rate. This could cause the accumulation of crystals in the joints over time.
Most forms of alcohol like wine do not trigger gout attacks. One exception is beer. Beer has the potential to cause a sharp spike in uric acid that could cause a sudden attack. Small amounts of beer do not always cause spikes if existing uric acid levels are low. Another important gout food that must be avoided is fructose. This is a form of sugar used in many types of processed foods. High fructose corn syrup will increase uric acid production in the body.
A good food to eat for gout is anything containing complex carbohydrates. These include whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These foods allow the body to eliminate uric acid quickly. A diet that includes complex carbohydrates also promotes weight loss that contributes to a reduction in gout symptoms. Fat-free dairy is another good food to eat with gout. Several glasses of water each day should accompany any diet for gout in order to provide the body with the fluids necessary for good metabolism and digestion.