Ask A Practitioner: How can I Naturally Treat Gout?

Join every week for a Q&A session with one of Basmati’s practitioners, Melissa Hill (FDN-P)! We know that there is a lot of confusing information out there, which can make applying health advice overwhelming.  Sometimes, it’s best to ask a practitioner directly, so each week we’ll cover a common health question!

Do you have a health question you’d like to ask? Write to us at editors [at] basmati [dot] com () and your question could be chosen and featured in a future column!

Q. What is gout? What can I do to get rid of it?

A. Gout is an inflammatory disease that occurs due to a disorder of uric acid metabolism in the blood. In this condition, uric acid levels in the bloodstream become elevated, and the uric acid forms into crystals and deposits on the articular cartilage of joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues. This crystallization provokes an inflammatory reaction of these tissues. If this persists, it can also lead to the development of arthritis. Looking back in history, gout was referred to as the ‘disease of kings’ because it only occurred in those who were among the elite in society: they could afford to indulge in rich foods on a regular basis and tended towards more sedentary lifestyles. Nowadays, we have ease of access to more meats and processed foods on a daily basis, allowing for gout to be  a more common occurrence.

Symptoms of Gout

The onset of gout is typically marked by excruciating, sudden, unexpected, burning pain with swelling, redness, and stiffness in the joint. Gout usually appears in the big toe first; however, it also can affect other joints such as the ankle, heel, knee, wrist, elbow, fingers, and spine. One source of pain is the crystals inside the joint causing intense pain whenever the affected area is moved. Secondly, the inflammation of the tissues around the joint also causes the skin to be swollen, tender, and sore if it’s even slightly touched.

Acute gout symptoms usually go away in 3-10 days and the next attack may not occur again for months or even years. However, if you fail to address the condition, gout attacks may become more frequent and become more severe or last longer.

Causes of Gout

Gout may be caused by poor digestion due to intake of incompatible foods (particularly an excessive intake of proteins and rich foods), poor elimination of metabolic wastes from the body, hereditary factors, age, and gender (most often males after age 40, less common in females).

Consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has also been linked to gout. Many of the health conditions that HFCS causes, including high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity, also increase your risk of developing gout.

Treatment for Gout

The first choice and best approach to treating gout is a change in your diet. Eating a low purine and a low meat diet is encouraged. Purines are a specific compound found in certain foods that break down into uric acid in the body. Decrease or eliminate consumption of acid-forming foods like sugar, alcohol, vinegar, meat, and fried foods. Alcohol is known not only to increase uric acid production, but also to decrease the body's ability to excrete uric acid through the kidneys. High fiber, lower protein, alkaline-forming foods should be emphasized instead. Staying well hydrated is also crucial.

If a person with gout is overweight then weight reduction should also be a goal through a low-fat, high-fiber diet with an eye towards alkaline-forming foods and avoiding refined carbohydrates and processed meats. Appropriate daily movement and exercise can also be helpful.

Steps to Get Rid of Gout

  1. Avoid high purine foods that can trigger gout attacks. These proteins are found abundantly in various foods such as organ meats, red meat, dark meat poultry and seafood. Watch out for the following foods that are particularly high in purine:
  • Organ meats (heart, liver, and kidney)
  • Anchovy
  • Caviar
  • Venison
  • Buffalo
  • Mussels 
  • Sardines
  • Scallop
  • Shrimp
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach

2. Limit alcohol consumption, especially beer. Alcohol raises gout risks, but beer is the worst. The yeast and other ingredients in beer tend to trigger uric acid production. 

3. Increase the consumption of alkaline forming foods like fruits, vegetables, and high fiber foods. Things like bananas, avocados, nuts, seeds, squash, broccoli, brussels sprouts, string beans, and wild salmon are good choices.

4. Include specific remedies to quickly reduce inflammation and lower uric acid levels in the body like:

5. Drink plenty of filtered water.

Gout can be painful and inconvenient, but there are absolutely steps you can take to holistically treat this inflammation as well as prevent it from getting worse in the future. Movement and a healthy diet can prevent many dis-eases in the body.

Do you have any tips for treating or preventing gout? Share in the comments below!