Foods to Avoid if You Have Gout 


If you suffer from gout, which is a type of arthritis that causes swelling in the big toe, you’re no stranger to the sensitivity, burning, and extreme pain that the condition can bring. But, you may not know that certain foods can trigger this swelling and worsen your pain.

Foods can trigger gout, because this condition develops when there’s too much uric acid in the body. Normal amounts of uric acid are helpful, because the substance breaks down purines, which is a chemical compound found in foods.

However, if your diet is high in purines, your body needs to produce more uric acid. Unfortunately, if uric acid builds up too much, it can crystallize and collect in the joints of your big toes, resulting in gout. 

At Prima Medicine in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia, our board-certified internal medicine providers offer comprehensive internal medicine services. Through specialized care and lifestyle guidance, we have helped many patients get relief from gout symptoms. In this blog, we go over some of the foods that can trigger flare-ups and some of the foods that can reduce inflammation.

Avoid these foods

When you eat foods or beverages that trigger uric acid production or inflammation, it can make your gout worse. Foods that contain high levels of fructose or sugar are one example of foods to avoid, since they make your body boost the production of uric acid. 

The worst foods and beverages for gout are those high in purines. Foods that are most highly linked to gout flare-ups are:

  • Refined carbohydrates, such as baked goods, crackers, and white bread
  • Beer and yeast
  • Game and organ meats
  • Processed foods, such as canned foods, deli meats, and ready-to-eat meals
  • Seafood

If you suffer from gout flare-ups, reducing or eliminating your consumption of the foods above may go a long way toward providing relief. If you need help making changes to your diet, our internal medicine providers at Prima Medicine can help you get started.

Consume these foods 

While there are certainly a number of foods that can increase your body’s level of uric acid, there are also plenty of foods that can lower it. Eating the following foods, along with staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water, can help you manage gout. These foods are:

  • Coffee
  • Whole grains
  • Cherries
  • Vegetables, such as dark leafy greens, bell peppers, and broccoli
  • Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C, such as oranges, spinach, and strawberries

There are lots of fruits and vegetables on this list because plant-based foods are high in antioxidants, and these compounds can help reduce inflammation and excess uric acid in the body. It’s also important to know that while some vegetables can be high in purines, they don’t usually trigger gout

Talk to your internal medicine provider at Prima Medicine about foods you can eat if you have gout.

Managing gout 

Making dietary changes is often essential in managing gout. However, they should compliment, not replace, treatment from an internal medicine provider. If gout is untreated, it can lead to permanent joint damage

At Prima Medicine, your internal medicine provider discusses your symptoms, reviews your medical history, and examines your feet to determine the best treatment plan for you. They may also take a sample of joint fluid to confirm you have gout.

Your treatment plan may include anti-inflammatory medicines, steroid injections or medications, lifestyle changes, or other therapies. 

If you have gout and want treatment, or if you want to see if you have the condition, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today.

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