Guide To Foods That May Trigger Gout Flares

Gout, a type of arthritis, seems to cause sudden, severe joint pain and swelling. These gout flares may occur most often at night. The most affected joints appear to be the big toes, ankles, wrists, elbows, and knees. Some individuals with gout may deal with a limited range of motion and prolonged discomfort after a flare. This condition seems to be the result of uric acid building in the blood and forming urate crystals. The body may make uric acid as it breaks down purines in food.

Patients seem to take colchicine tablets and other gout pills for their condition. These may help with gout pain relief. However, there may be more to treatment than uric acid medicine. Patients may benefit from following a healthy gout diet. They may want to consult a doctor or nutritionist for this. Of course, understanding the basics of what foods may trigger gout flares first can help.


Shellfish seems to be a seafood category that includes shrimp, crab, mussels, lobster, and scallops, among others. It appears that shellfish contain a high amount of purine. Thus, individuals with gout may want to avoid eating shellfish. Sadly, eating shellfish seems to increase their risk of dealing with a gout flare. At the very least, patients should consider minimizing their intake. Of course, avoiding shellfish entirely appears to be vital during a flare. Some individuals may be able to consume a small amount of shellfish each week when they are not going through a flare-up of gout symptoms. They should consider sticking to shellfish with moderate purine levels, such as oysters and crabs. Patients may also want to speak to their doctor first.

Gout patients may reduce the purine content in shellfish through certain cooking methods. Boiling appears to work the most, as it should decrease purines by up to sixty percent. Steaming also seems to help. However, microwaving does not appear to have any effect. Freezing may reduce purines a small amount after ten weeks.

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Veal And Venison 

Veal and venison seem to be fairly high in purines. Gout patients may want to stop eating these meats since they appear to be a common cause of symptom flares. This seems to apply to liver and other organ meats as well. Doctors may recommend that gout patients limit their meat intake to no more than four ounces a day. In addition, they may only want to eat white meat, such as turkey or chicken, instead of veal and venison. White meat appears to have fewer purines. 

However, most individuals may consume too much protein, particularly from meat. Thus, patients should consider getting some protein from plant-based sources instead of veal and venison, as well as other meats. Gout patients may get help with this through a nutritionist.

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Drinking alcohol appears to increase an individual's risk of developing gout. When they already have gout, it may also be a common trigger for symptom flares. In fact, it seems that alcohol accounted for over fifty percent of gout flares in recent studies. Beer appears to have more purines than other alcoholic beverages. It also contains brewer's yeast, which may be another risk factor for gout flares. Wine seems to be lower in purines. However, all alcohol may force the kidneys to excrete alcohol rather than purines. Thus, patients may be left with more uric acid in their blood. This may trigger a gout flare in one to two days.

Gout patients may need to significantly limit their alcohol consumption or eliminate it. This may help them avoid symptom flares. Women seem to benefit from a limit of one serving per day. Men under sixty-five years old may be able to have two servings in a day. However, older men may need a limit of one serving. One serving of alcohol appears to be equal to twelve ounces of beer. However, the beer should be five percent alcohol by volume. Overall, patients should consider talking to their doctor about alcohol and gout.

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Kidney Beans And Lentils 

Kidney beans and lentils seem to have more purines than other legumes. For the most part, gout patients appear to have been told to avoid eating these legumes. However, this may not be necessary. Plant-based protein, such as kidney beans and lentils, do not seem to carry the same gout flare risk as animal protein. These legumes have fewer purines than meat, which may make them a healthier choice. Patients may want to try using kidney beans or lentils in place of meat in some meals. 

However, patients should not simply eat as many kidney beans and lentils as they want. They may still result in gout flares, which is why patients may want to watch their portions. One serving appears to be a half-cup of cooked kidney beans or lentils. Patients should be able to consume a few servings each week.

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One hundred grams of spinach appears to contain fifty-seven milligrams of purines. Most sources seem to consider this a moderate amount. Thus, some experts may suggest that individuals with gout limit their spinach consumption. However, this may not always be needed. Meat seems to be much higher in purines. Thus, patients should be better off eating spinach in their meals.

However, individuals may still want to watch their portion sizes. They may start by switching meat for spinach in some meals. A side spinach salad may work. Adding spinach to soup should be helpful as well. Both options seem to allow the portions to stay under control.

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Emily Fowler