Gout affects around 1 - 2% of the Western population at some point in their lives. It's become more common in recent decades and is aggravated by lifestyle factors. We discuss helpful tips to prevent gout with a healthy lifestyle.
ABOUT GOUT Gout is a common, painful form of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the body. It commonly rears its head in the big toes, although it can occur just about anywhere in your body. The cause of gout is generally a combination of diet and genetic factors. Gout occurs more commonly in those who eat a lot of meat, drink a lot of alcohol (especially beer), or those who are overweight and suffer from high blood pressure. Gout occurs mainly in middle-aged men; who represent around 90% of all gout sufferers. The remainder of gout sufferers are usually post-menopausal women. A gout prevention diet means addressing all factors related to disease risk and management. Above all, the goals for managing gout are a healthy weight and healthy eating. The principles are fundamentally the same as recommendations for a balanced, healthy lifestyle ' something we're all striving for anyway! Recent research on gout has created a clearer picture of the role diet plays in disease management. Know your purines. Purines are natural substances found in all the body's cells, and in virtually all foods.  A relatively small number of foods, though, contain concentrated amounts of purines ' like beer for example. Some foods should be avoided, but not all foods with purines should be eliminated. It's normal and healthy for uric acid to be formed in the body from the breakdown of purines. As your kidneys are responsible for keeping blood levels of uric acid balanced, kidney problems can lead to excessive accumulation of uric acid in various parts of the body, resulting in gout.   Being overweight can increase the production of uric acid by the body, which can aggravate gout. Gout is often associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. This is why it's important to maintain a healthy weight and follow a well-balanced diet to reduce the risk of long-term health concerns. Eating a diet high in fibre-rich foods and low or moderate in lean protein, limiting saturated fats and sugary drinks, and having a regular exercise routine will go a long way  in helping you to manage your weight, reduce symptoms of gout, and limit the risk of lifestyle diseases. There are a number of simple home remedies that can help alleviate the effects of gout. Here are 8 tips to help ease the pain and discomfort of gout: 1.     Drinking plenty of water is one of the best things you can do for overall good health. A minimum of 1.2 litres a day is required. Adding half a teaspoon of baking soda to your water can help too. This is because baking soda produces a more alkaline environment in the body, making it easier for your body to flush out uric acid. 2.     Fruit and vegetables have high amounts of fibre; and fibre helps lower uric acid levels ' so get plenty of these in your daily diet. Strawberries are especially great; not only are they delicious, they contain a chemical shown to neutralise uric acid. 3.     Mix a cup of apple cider vinegar with a tablespoon of cayenne pepper in a cup of water. Boil the mixture in a non-aluminium pot, pour it into a jug and let it stand to cool for 30 minutes. This miracle liquid remedy can be applied externally to the painful area and is effective as a natural pain-killer. 4.     Crush ice in a bag and place this on the painful area for quick relief. Be sure not to apply the ice for longer than a few minutes. This should reduce the inflammation and swelling. 5.     Avoid alcohol, especially beer, which contains high levels of purines. 6.     Raise the affected area; raising your foot with pillows so it's higher than your chest may help lessen swelling. 7.     Sometimes even wearing socks can be unbearable. Cut the big toe out of inexpensive socks or cut the toe section off completely so you can have warm feet without toe pain. 8.     Chill out whenever you can; stress can aggravate gout. Watch a movie, talk to a friend, read a book or listen to music you love. While these remedies may help alleviate the discomfort of gout, there's nothing quite as good as prevention. Avoiding gout trigger foods and eating a more alkaline diet, safely reaching a healthy weight, and regular exercise will help you avoid this painful malady. Keep track of what you eat and drink, and see whether particular foods are related to your gout attacks. Everyone's body is different; so some foods may have more noticeable effect on you than others. If you get severe pain in a single joint that comes on very quickly, or if you have swollen, tender joints that are warm and reddish see your health professional right away. It's wise to get checked out even when the pain from gout has stopped. The uric acid build-up that caused your gout attack may still be irritating your joints and could eventually cause serious damage. EAT MORE OF THIS:
  • Drink water with freshly squeezed lemon or spiked with bicarb.
  • Fresh fruit especially cherries
  • Vegetables especially sweet potatoes
  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Low-fat, dairy (milk and yoghurt)
  • Whole grains (like oats, brown rice, and barley)
  • Quinoa
  • Fizzy drinks, alcohol, beer
  • White bread, processed food, sugary foods, cakes, desserts, pasta,
  • Organ meats, like liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, and brains
  • Game meat and other meats including bacon, beef, pork, and lamb
  • Any meats in large amounts
  • Anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, and scallops
  • Gravy
DID YOU KNOW? Alcohol interferes with the removal of uric acid from the body. This is attributed to high levels of purine in alcoholic beverages. Breaking down purines into uric acid is normally done by the body and flushed out through the urine. When uric acid levels get too high this process is prevented. Crystals form around the joints, and gout develops. That's why it's best to avoid alcohol if you are prone to gout.

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