A diet that’s best known for promoting heart health may also help gout management. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, may lower serum uric acid (SUA) levels. In a study published in Clinical Rheumatology in March 2017, research findings showed that the diet reduced SUA [compared to the typical American (control) diet] within 30 days, with a sustained effect at 90 days. In an earlier study reported in Arthritis & Rheumatology in August 2016, researchers reported similar finding in some cases.
Gout occurs when excess uric acid builds up in the blood and forms crystals that are deposited around the joints, often leading to flares of intense pain, redness and swelling. Medication is usually needed to control uric acid levels, and people with gout are advised to avoid foods high in purines (such as red meat, alcohol and some seafood), which the body converts into uric acid.
Here are the recommended servings from each food group for the 2,000-calorie-a-day DASH diet.
- Grains: 6 to 8 servings a day – focus on whole grains
- Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings a day – fresh and frozen vegetables are good choices
- Fruits: 4 to 5 servings a day – edible skins contain health nutrients and fiber
- Dairy: 2 to 3 servings a day – chose low-fat or fat-free
- Lean meat, poultry and fish: 6 servings or fewer a day – ditch skin and fat and choose grilled over fried
- Nuts, seeds and legumes: 4 to 5 servings a week – keep serving sizes small
- Fats and oils: 2 to 3 servings a day – less than 30% of daily calories is best
- Sweets: 5 servings or fewer a week – watch portions carefully
The standard DASH diet meets the recommendation from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to keep daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg a day. There is also a lower sodium version of the diet where you can consume up to 1,500 mg of sodium a day.
Linda Rath for the Arthritis Foundation
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