Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis where the affected joint becomes hot, red, swollen, and tender. The pain usually begins rapidly and reaches its peak within 12 hours. In about 50 percent of cases, the joint at the base of the big toe is involved. Gout can also cause other issues such as urate nephropathy, tophi, and kidney stones. Gout occurs when there is a persistently high level of uric acid in the blood due to a combination of factors such as genes, existing comorbidities, and diet. When the levels are high, there is crystallization of uric acid, which deposits in the tendons, joints, and its surrounding tissues leading to joint inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Gout tends to occur in those who regularly drink beer, are overweight, and consume seafood and meat. The diagnosis can be made based on the presence of uric acid crystals in the joints or joint fluid. Gout can be treated with medications such as steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and colchicine. Once the acute attack has resolved, gout can be further managed with allopurinol or probenecid along with lifestyle changes. Gout is estimated to affect 1 to 2 percent of the Western population at some point in their lives. In recent decades, it has become increasingly common, which may be due to increasing prevalence of metabolic syndrome, dietary changes, and a longer life expectancy.
Dietary causes of gout have been estimated to account for approximately 12 percent of gout cases. There is a strong association between gout and the consumption of seafood, meat, fructose-sweetened drinks, and alcohol. Individuals with gout should also avoid foods that are rich in purines such as shrimp, dried anchovies, seaweed, organ meat, beer yeast, and dried mushrooms. Alcohol is a great risk factor. While there are foods that can cause gout, there are also foods that can help gout. Some of the foods that could be beneficial include the following.
Helpful Gout Food #1: Tofu
Tofu, or bean curd, is a food made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the curds into a solid block. It is part of the traditional cuisine of Southeast Asia and East Asia. In China, it has been consumed for more than 2,000 years. Tofu can have varying degrees of softness and is generally divided into extra firm, firm, soft, or silken. It is low in calories while being high in protein, iron, calcium, and magnesium. It is a popular protein source among vegetarians.
For individuals with gout, tofu can also be a substitute for meat whilst being a gout-friendly food. Since it is low in calories, it can also help with weight loss, which can be beneficial to reduce gout attacks.