Gout is a common and painful condition in which joints become inflamed and exquisitely sensitive to touch. A gout sufferer may not even be able to bear the weight of a sheet over a swollen toe. High levels of uric acid in the blood appear to trigger gout flareups, so the treatment focuses on reducing uric acid. What role can diet play? 

How Can You Avoid Gout Flareups?

Q. Several years ago I developed gout. My physician prescribed allopurinol, but it made my kidneys feel like they were on fire.

I stopped eating shellfish and organ meats because I’d read they could make matters worse. Nonetheless, I continued to have intermittent gout flareups. Sour cherry juice was a bust, but I found that pineapple juice really helped!

Pineapple Juice to the Rescue:

I tested this myself. Every day for a week I ate one or more of the forbidden foods, and every evening I drank a glass of pineapple juice. The result–no gout flareups. It’s been four years.

A. Thanks for sharing this unique approach. We could find no studies on pineapple juice for gout, but it might not hurt. On the other hand, it is rich in fructose. This fruit sugar can sometimes trigger gout flareups (BMJ, Feb. 9, 2008).

Doctors frequently prescribed allopurinol to lower uric acid levels. They need to warn patients that, although the medicine is effective, it can trigger additional gout flareups and may cause a rash. Anyone who notices a rash should  seek medical attention right away, as it could be the harbinger of a more serious reaction. You were right to be concerned about your kidneys, as the drug can damage them.

Other Approaches to Managing Gout Flareups:

Experts frequently recommend lifestyle approaches, such as maintaining physical activity. In addition, they frequently recommend that people who suffer from gout avoid high-purine foods such as shellfish, organ meats, bacon (including turkey bacon) and fish such as anchovies, sardines, cod, trout and haddock. Beer and booze are also high in purines, so over-indulging could lead to gout flareups. You should also probably avoid soft drinks and other beverages or foods that are full of fructose. Fructose can trigger gout problems in people with a genetic susceptibility to this disorder (Frontiers in Endocrinology, Jan. 8, 2018).

Tart Cherry Juice:

Although tart cherry juice didn’t help you, some people sing its praises. Apparently, sour cherries can lower uric acid and keep the crystals from building up in the joints.

Celery Seed:

Many readers insist that a spoonful of celery seeds can help ease gout flareups. Celery seeds do have anti-inflammatory activity, although we have not found trials of celery seed to treat gout (Progress in Drug Research, 2015). 

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