Spiro Koulouris, Author

What Diet is Best for Gout?

When you have gout, it can be a terrifying ordeal to go through on your own. But the truth is, gout is one of the most common forms of arthritis that affects millions of individuals. Gout produces flare-ups in joint pain when crystals develop around joints as a result of increased uric acid levels in the blood.  

There appears to be a lot of misinformation and myths about the perfect gout diet on the internet/media. Nonetheless, there is some uncertainty among experts such as doctors, health professionals, and dietitians.   We're going to clear up any confusion in this post regarding what foods you should eat to reduce your uric acid levels and prevent severe gout attacks.

What Is a Gout Diet?

Although it isn’t a cure, following a gout diet is an excellent strategy to treat the symptoms of this painful ailment. A gout diet is usually part of a comprehensive regimen that is prescribed after being diagnosed with the disease.   You will work with your healthcare physician to manage a variety of lifestyle factors. To reduce the frequency and severity of gout attacks, diet, weight control, physical activity, and maybe medication is routinely employed.  

Gout is a type of arthritis characterized by an excessive amount of uric acid in the blood. On the other hand, uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purines. Purines are organic compounds produced in your body and found in some foods.   A gout diet typically consists of foods low in purines, such as citrus fruits and lentils. Also, you want to stay away from meals high in purine, like organ meats, alcohol, and soda.   Regardless, many people will still disagree with my recommendations for which foods to eat, avoid, or limit.  

If you believe in your body's natural ability to heal, then you're definitely going to want to keep on reading. However, if you're still hoping to achieve good health by using capsules, you might be in for a big letdown!   Note that prescription medicines can cause up to 20% of cases of renal failure!1   Adopting a healthy gout diet will not only reduce the risk of attacks but also prevent the deterioration of joint damage caused by gout.

Understanding the Goals and Benefits of Your Gout Diet Following a gout diet has been shown in studies to reduce the frequency of gout attacks and the severity of symptoms in some people.   In fact, research published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases discovered that eating a purine-rich diet increased the likelihood of recurrent gout attacks by five-fold in people who already had gout. Reducing purine-rich meals, on the other hand, helps minimize the likelihood of gout attacks.  

Some of the most important goals of a proper gout diet are as follows:  
●     Consuming nutritious foods that aid in the elimination of uric acid.
●     Keeping a healthy weight to help reduce joint pressure and pain, as well as slow the progression of arthritis.
●     Purine-rich foods should be avoided or reduced.  

You can treat this condition by adhering to a gout diet plan that includes foods that alleviate gout-related symptoms and excludes meals high in purines.

Foods to Include in a Gout Diet

It was previously assumed that specific vegetables should be avoided if you have gout. However, new research indicates that eating purine-rich plants like asparagus, spinach, and cauliflower has no effect on uric acid levels or increases the likelihood of a gout attack.   Furthermore, eating vegetables can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight while also providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals.

Dairy Products
According to research, the proteins in dairy products can naturally lower uric acid levels. Selecting low-fat items such as skim milk or low-fat yogurt will also help you maintain a healthy weight.

Whole Grains, Beans, Lentils, and Tofu
Plant-based proteins will assist you in managing your condition and eating a balanced diet. You limit your consumption of meat and shellfish while on the gout diet. You should still try to get 15% to 30% of your calories from protein if you want to follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines.   There is also some evidence that plant-based proteins and oils (such as olive, sunflower, and soy) may help prevent gout attacks.

Citrus Fruits
Daily consumption of 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C has been demonstrated to be an effective strategy to lessen the frequency of gout flare-ups. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which aids in the removal of uric acid from the body.   Instead, choose for low-fructose fruits such as grapefruit, oranges, or pineapple, as this natural sugar can boost uric acid levels.   Some people who suffer from gout take vitamin C supplements. Consult your healthcare physician to determine whether supplementation is necessary and whether it will work with your diet and treatment regimen.

According to some studies, consuming cherries lowers serum uric acid levels and may reduce the incidence of flare-ups in gout patients.   Cherries and cherry products are high in anthocyanins (such as tart cherry juice). These are flavonoids with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help with gout pain and inflammation.

Foods to Avoid in a Gout Diet

Organ Meat and Red Meat
Purines are found in larger concentrations in red meat than in white meat. Consuming more red meat (such as cattle, deer, and bison) and organ meats (such as liver, sweetbreads, tongue, and kidney) increases the likelihood of recurrent gout attacks.

Shellfish and Coldwater Fish
Certain fish varieties should be avoided in a gout diet since they are known to have more purines. Purines can be found in cold water fish including tuna, trout, herring, sardines, and anchovies, as well as shellfish like shrimp, oysters, crab, and lobster.

Yeast Extract Products
The use of nutritional yeast, brewer's yeast, and ready-made yeast supplements might raise uric acid levels and aggravate gout symptoms. In addition, some spreads, include yeast extract, which is high in purines. Needless to say, you should avoid these products to minimize the risk of flare-ups.

Until recently, doctors advised patients to avoid grain-based liquors such as beer and whiskey. Nevertheless, new evidence reveals that if you have gout, you should avoid alcohol - even wine. This is because symptoms are usually produced by ethanol in alcohol rather than the products employed in fermentation.

Sugary Foods and Drinks
In a gout diet, foods and drinks with fructose should be avoided, especially those with high fructose corn syrup. Limiting or avoiding the consumption of sodas and other sugary beverages, canned fruit or fruit juice, and other products like snack bars, candies, and breakfast cereals will help to lower uric acid levels.

What a Gout-Friendly Menu Looks Like

Here is a quick breakdown of a healthy menu that would be appropriate for someone with gout. Having said that, dietary adjustments should only be made after consulting a physician.

●     Berries sprinkled on top of plain yogurt
●     A piece of toast or English muffin made with whole grains
●     A cup or two of coffee

●     A salad composed of leafy greens and other desired vegetables, 3–4 ounces of cooked salmon, a scattering of almonds, and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing
●     Drink some green tea Snack
●     A bowl of cherries, some nuts, or cheese made from skim milk
●     Drink some water

●     Roasted chicken breast weighing 3 oz
●     Broccoli with brown rice on the side, seasoned with your choice of herbs or spices and olive oil ●     Drink some water

Exercise to Lose Weight and Improve Your Physical Health

When you have a gout attack and your joints are painful and swollen, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. However, there are numerous situations where it makes sense to put off exercising for the time being. In fact, one of the best things you can do for your body during a gout attack is to rest.  

Yet regular activity will also help you lose weight, which is crucial for people with gout. Gout is exacerbated by excess weight because it boosts uric acid levels in the body. Moreover, lowering weight will lessen pain because your joints won't be under as much strain.   Of course, doing exercise on a regular basis also brings numerous benefits to your heart. This is important because many gout sufferers are at risk of developing heart disease.  
Before beginning an exercise program, consult your doctor.

An optimal exercise routine consists of three parts:  
●     Aerobic exercise: These activities raise your heart rate and improve your endurance. Try to incorporate 30 minutes of aerobic activity into your routine three to four times each week.
●     Flexibility exercise: These workouts will help you increase your range of motion. Flexibility improves other sorts of exercise and allows you to move about more comfortably during the day.
●     Strengthening exercise: Your muscles might be weak if you haven't been moving around because of uncomfortable or inflamed joints. Your strength will improve as a result of resistance training, which will also support your joints and help you stay injury-free.  

The Bottom Line
A gout diet can help in lowering uric acid production and boosting its excretion. Additionally, by assisting you in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, calorie restriction and regular exercise can also benefit your general health.


Spiro Koulouris was diagnosed with gout over 10 years ago. Since his diagnosis, he has researched gout and written a book called Gout and You:  The Ultimate Gout Diet & Cookbook.  Learn more about Spiro and what he does at GoutAndYou.com