Gout is a form of arthritis with a strong association to dietary intake. Historically gout was known as the “rich man’s disease” as it tended to be linked with the frequent consumption of rich foods and alcohol. Gout is most predominant in men but does occur in women after menopause. The age of an individual may increase the likelihood of developing gout. Other factors that are linked to gout include: genetics, gender, age, medical condition, medications, and lifestyle factors. (1)
While the onset of gout may be affected by lifestyle factors such as stress and age, dietary patterns have also been shown to play a role. Foods high in purine content, specifically those foods of animal origin, may increase symptoms of gout. Therefore, the purine found in meats should be limited to Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations (Chapter 1). Alternatively, the protein found in non-meat sources is preferred (low-fat or nonfat dairy products, eggs, nut butters, and tofu). Vegetable sources of protein have not been shown to increase symptoms of gout. (2) Recently, studies have found the intake of cherries and cherry extract to decrease the risk of gout attacks. (3) This research has only been conducted in small sample sizes and warrants further research before recommendations can safely be made.
Lifestyle modifications, the use of medications, and diet can aid in managing this disease.
For more information Contact the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.