Helping to ease the pain of gout through diet

Gout is a condition that happens when uric acid builds up in a joint.  Uric acid is usually broken down, and removed from our body by the kidneys. But if the body produces too much, or the kidneys can’t get rid of it, uric acid builds up in joints like toes, ankles, wrists, elbows, or fingers.

Gout is a very painful condition.  It’s more common in older age, and may be hereditary. It is also more common in men than women, because oestrogen increases the removal of uric acid through the kidneys. However, the risk of developing gout can be increased by:

To minimise your risk of developing gout you should:

  • Aim to maintain your weight within a healthy weight range for your body
  • Reduce your blood pressure
  • Ensure you are well hydrated and drink enough water throughout the day
  • Reduce or eliminate your intake of alcohol
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Limit your intake of foods with added sugars including soft drinks
  • Limit your intake of foods high in purines.

Food containing purine will produce more uric acid. It is often recommended that people limit foods that are high in purine, but there are no foods that need to be avoided altogether. Examples of foods high in purine include:

  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Offal foods such as liver, kidney
  • Sweetbreads
  • Gravy
  • Stock cubes
  • Meat and yeast extracts (e.g. vegemite)
  • Beer and other alcohol.

Individuals wishing to reduce their risk of new gout or recurrence of gouty attacks are encouraged to enjoy a healthy diet according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines. An emphasis should be placed on keeping the number of servings and portions of meat and seafood between two to three servings each day.

It is important to contact an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) for individualised dietary advice on gout. An APD can assist you to reduce your risk of a gout attack and also ensure you are receiving adequate nutrition.