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It can affect joints like the big toe, feet, ankles, and knees. “Gout is a type of arthritis that evolves from an imbalance of protein metabolism in your body,” said Dr. Andrew Belis, a podiatric surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Health.
A painful condition that can be triggered by what you eat. “Diet has a big part of that so avoiding particular foods are important especially animal products, chicken, animal organs tend to have these things called purines in them, and when purine builds up in our body it cause these crystals to form,” explained Ryan Morrison, a clinical dietitian with Lee Health.
A heavy protein diet can cause proteins to be deposited into the joints resulting in inflammation and pain. This is when gout occurs, and the joint becomes swollen and hot. “If you overload it by eating too much protein and too much shellfish and red meat, these proteins build up in your system, and your body cannot excrete it sufficiently through your kidneys,” said Dr. Belis.
Which is why health experts recommend eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. “If you do a drastic change, really controlling portion sizes of animal products, really increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption can definitely help with gout,” said Morrison.
Drinking plenty of water, limiting alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight can also lower your risk for gout. “I find that a majority of patients who have gout actually have dehydration,” said Dr. Belis.
With regular physical activity and high fiber foods, gout can resolve on its own. “Just a little bit of manipulation of the diet and watching and hydrating yourself and watching how much alcohol you take in, that can really make a big difference here,” said Dr. Belis.
Limiting animal protein and incorporating more fruits and vegetables can keep you healthy and prevent gout.