The food we eat has a large effect on the formation of uric acid crystals which causes pain and pain in the joints. One way to prevent gout is to avoid foods that cause gout production. Animal foods tend to form acids, while alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables can help neutralize the excess acid in the body which causes gout. Alkaline foods not only make the body more alkaline, but most also have powerful antioxidants so it is also good for people with cancer, kidney disease, and heart disease.
What is Gout?
Gout occurs due to excess uric acid levels in the blood so that it forms crystals like needles that surround the joints, and soft tissue causes intense inflammation. Symptoms of gout that are often experienced by most people include extreme pain in the joints such as the big toe joint and the symptoms may get worse at night. In addition to pain, the symptoms of gout also make the joints swell, and feel warm to the touch. This pain, warmth, and swelling in the joints occur due to inflammation.
Uric acid in the blood comes from purines, which are natural chemical compounds that are formed when there is a process of metabolism of food in the body. Foods that have high purines such as organ meats and certain types of fish can increase uric acid production in the body which then causes gout. Meat is not only high in purines, but also is an acid-producing food, so there is a link between acid-producing foods and gout. Avoiding purine-rich foods, not only prevents gout but also helps other conditions that accompany gouts such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Besides avoiding purine-rich foods, consuming alkaline foods is also recommended in dietary changes to avoid gout attacks. Alkaline foods can neutralize uric acid in the blood which is the main cause of gout. Therefore an alkaline diet is the choice of many people to prevent and treat gout.
The elements and compounds in food cause different reactions when digested. Protein and phosphorus in food, when digested in the body, will produce acid salts, while potassium, magnesium, and calcium will produce alkaline salt. These salts will end up in the kidneys and change the pH environment of our body. Therefore to test the pH level of the food we consume, measuring urine pH is a reliable way. The alkaline diet as mentioned in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in 2012 proved to be healthy and beneficial for bone health, reducing muscle waste, reducing other diseases such as hypertension and stroke. Our body needs food and water to form acids and bases in the body, with good composition is 80% base and 20% acid.
The alkaline diet increases the alkaline pH in the body by consuming lots of fruits (apples, avocados, bananas, melons, berries, oranges, apricots, cantaloupe, grapes, lemons, lime, peaches, pears, tomatoes, watermelons), vegetables (carrots, broccoli, beets, celery, cauliflower, garlic, asparagus, watercress, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, mustard greens, paprika, pumpkin, sprouts, barley grass, spirulina, wheatgrass, wild greens), protein (whey protein powder, chicken breast, almonds, chestnuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, tempeh, yogurt, tofu, eggs) spices (cinnamon, curry, mustard, ginger, chili) others (apple cider vinegar, green tea, coconut oil, mineral water, maitake, daikon, dandelion root, shitake, kombu, reishi, nori, wakame, umeboshi).
Apple cider vinegar and citrus fruits taste very acidic but the minerals left behind after being digested in the body help to take hydrogen ions which make them alkaline. The alkaline diet also requires to limit foods that can form acids in the body such as beef, pork, shrimp, turkey, venison, fish, milk, butter, cheese, eggs, alcohol, cashews, green beans, lentils, black beans, beans pinto, pecans, tahini, wheat, barley, rice, corn, lard, corn oil and olive oil.
How alkaline diet can help gout
Gout pain is usually treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that come from a doctor’s prescription. Another way to relieve pain and inflammation caused by gout is to inject corticosteroids. If you want another more natural way, dieting can also help overcome some of the symptoms of gout.
Alkaline foods can also help neutralize uric acid in the body, thereby reducing the risk of gout crystals accumulating in the joints. This is the theory of how an alkaline diet can help treat gout and prevent gout attacks. The alkaline diet also helps increase the pH in your body to become more alkaline. This diet requires consuming less sodium and more potassium which can prevent high amounts of uric acid. This diet also contains fewer purines, high uric acid-forming compounds, especially in animal products. An alkaline diet can also improve kidney function in processing uric acid in the body.
A Japanese study in 2011 showed that an alkaline diet, rich in fruits and vegetables increased uric acid removal better than a protein-rich diet. This study tested the urine pH for a protein diet and an alkaline diet, the result of an alkaline diet having a more alkaline urine pH than a protein diet. This study also shows that uric acid absorption occurs more readily in acidic urine when compared to alkaline urine and shows that an acidic diet has higher uric acid levels than an alkaline diet.
Another study in 2011 showed a correlation between high purine consumption and uric acid levels in the blood. Foods high in purines also make blood more acidic after being digested, and generally, they have high protein too. Therefore an alkaline diet is needed to make the pH of the blood more alkaline and can reduce the amount of uric acid produced in the blood
List of alkaline foods to prevent and treat gout
When you suffer from gout, your body needs lots of alkaline foods to make your pH balanced. Here are some alkaline foods that can be consumed to get rid of your gout.
Celery is a vegetable that has diuretic properties that are rich in vitamin C and high in potassium. Vitamin C and potassium in celery helps to cleanse the body from gout. You can add celery to smoothies and soups for maximum benefits.
Kale is not only good for eye health because it has the antioxidant including Quercetin and Kaempferol, lutein, but also has the benefit of keeping bones strong. Kale also has vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C which are not only good for bones and eyes but also to reduce the risk of gout.
Lemon has a high vitamin C content which can reduce uric acid attacks and reduce uric acid levels. Lemon is one of the strong alkalizing foods, even though it has acidic properties outside the body. Research in the international medical journal QJM has revealed that vitamin C supplementation has been shown to reduce gout attacks. One lemon contains 19 mg of vitamin C which can fulfill more than 30% of the daily value. You can make it as lemon juice, lemon tea, or add it to a salad.
Chlorella is an alga that has very basic properties and contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. Chlorella also has the strongest antioxidant protein and astaxanthin. The nutritional and antioxidant content in chlorella helps fight inflammation that triggers uric acid.
Soursop has anti-inflammatory compounds that can accelerate the healing of gout. You can use soursop stew by rubbing it in the area affected by gout to calm the pain and increase its flexibility.
Watermelon or cold watermelon juice is not only delicious to drink when it is hot, but watermelon can also be used to reduce high levels of uric acid in the blood. Watermelon is an alkaline fruit that can neutralize acidity in the blood. Watermelon also has vitamin C, potassium and calcium which can neutralize the effect of gout. Watermelon is also high in water content which is very useful for removing uric acid from the joints and blood.
Beets are not only a base-forming food in the body, but also have amazing benefits for gout. Beet juice is a source of betalain, phytonutrients and other nutrients that can cleanse the body of toxins and gout.
Asparagus is a vegetable that can maintain the pH balance of your body and has a variety of nutrients and antioxidants. Asparagus has a low purine level so it is safe for consumption for people with gout.
9. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is the only alkaline cooking oil and has several health benefits, one of which is to prevent gout. This oil is rich in healthy saturated fats and other fatty acids that can reduce bad cholesterol in the blood. Coconut oil also helps you lose weight because it has triglyceride fat, and has caprylic acid and lauric acid which is a powerful antimicrobial to kill parasites and bacteria in the intestine.
10. Almonds or walnuts
Almonds have alkaline properties so they can balance the body’s pH and have several health benefits, one of which is gout. Consuming almonds or walnuts can be used as a substitute for meat protein for people who are at risk of developing gout. Peanuts do not contain purines and have healthy fats and unsaturated fats, which makes your body weight remains ideal.
Cherry fruit in clinical trials can fight the symptoms of gout and reduce uric acid levels. Eating cherries for two days can reduce the risk of a gout attack by 35%. This fruit has antioxidant anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory plant pigments that can also prevent body damage from free radicals. Cherries are also rich in fiber, potassium, iron, and have a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
12. Edamame (steamed soybeans)
Edamame (steamed soybeans) is one of the foods for the alkaline diet because it can replace meat protein. Besides edamame, tofu, soy milk, and soybeans are other alternatives to substitute meat protein.
13. Low-fat dairy foods
Low-fat dairy foods such as low-fat yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese can reduce the risk of gout. Research published in the British Medical Journal in 2012 showed that consuming low-fat milk can significantly reduce uric acid levels. This happens because two milk proteins namely casein and lactalbumin increase uric acid secretion.
Consuming half a cup of pineapple per day can help when gout pain increases. Pineapple has bromelain, an enzyme that reduces inflammation and hurts when gout.
Broccoli can be an option for an alkaline diet and for treating gout. Broccoli vegetables have high vitamin C, a source of folate and potassium. Broccoli has a low purine that is 50-100 mg per 100 grams.
Carrots are not only good for eye health because they contain vitamin A, but carrots also can reduce high uric acid levels in the body. Carrots also contain the lowest purines, which are substances in food that contribute to producing uric acid in the blood.
Potatoes are not only good for liver health but also can reduce levels of uric acid in the body. Potatoes contain high vitamin B5 which is useful for removing uric acid and releasing it in the body.
Avocado juice or cold avocado smoothies are not only good for skin health but can also help reduce excess uric acid levels in the body. Avocados have oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that also exists in olive oil. Oleic acid in avocados is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation for gout sufferers.
Foods that should be avoided by people with gout
In addition to consuming alkaline foods, people with gout must also avoid foods that cause gout. Avoiding alcohol, especially beer, is your first choice. Alcohol can reduce the pH level of the blood to become more acidic, thus encouraging uric acid to crystallize. Alcoholic drinks can also limit uric acid excretion and increase the risk of kidney stones. According to medical experts, drinking alcohol more than twice a day can trigger gout attacks.
Gout sufferers should also avoid foods such as organ meat (thymus gland, pancreas, and kidney) even though it is delicious food. Organ meat must be avoided for gout sufferers because it has high purines. Harvard University research also shows that eating meat that is high in purines has a 40% higher risk of gout than those who eat less.
Not only organ meat, beef, lamb, and pork should also be avoided by gout sufferers because it also has quite high purines. It is recommended to consume lean beef no more than 4 to 6 ounces per day. Seafood such as shellfish, shrimp, and lobster also have high purines so gout sufferers should avoid it. Research published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology in 2016 showed that limiting seafood consumption for 30 days can reduce uric acid levels.
Besides shellfish, another seafood that must be avoided for gout sufferers is fatty fish. Fatty fish such as anchovies, redfish, herring, sardines, and tuna must be limited when consuming them because they include proteins that cause gout. It is recommended not to consume more than 6 ounces per day.
Gout sufferers should also avoid sugary sodas because according to the Healthy Study it can increase the risk of gout by up to 74% when taken daily than those who drink less than one serving per month. Fruit juices and fruits with high fructose can also cause a risk of gout pain. You should avoid fruits with high fructose such as apples and pears even though they have many health benefits.
What the next
An alkaline diet can be an option for gout sufferers, but consuming too much alkaline food can cause an alkalosis condition, which is to cause the body to be too alkaline. Alkalosis according to the University of Maryland Medical Center and the US National Institutes of Health can cause health problems such as vomiting, tingling, nausea, muscle spasms, mild headaches, tremors, and confusion. Make sure you don’t go on an excessive alkaline diet which can cause a lack of pH balance. The recommended ideal body pH level ranges from 7.30 to 7.45, you can measure it in the urine released by the body.
An alkaline diet can help manage gout, you can start by reducing and limiting the intake of high purine foods such as meat and seafood to reduce the production of uric acid in your body. Start consuming lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and drink more water at least 8 cups a day.
Limiting high purine foods is a must for gout sufferers, but purines actually only contribute about 30% in the production of uric acid. Most of the causes of gout are pH imbalances for each food that occur due to the selection of unhealthy foods, high heat cooking methods, artificial sweeteners, and genetically modified foods that contribute to the production of uric acid in the body.
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