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Any activities that increase energy demands on the body also increase metabolism of purines, which produces uric acid. Avoiding stress and staying healthy are important for the prevention of attacks.
Because uric acid levels are only mildly affected by diet, dietary therapy does not play a large role in the prevention of gout. Still, people who have had an attack of gout may benefit from reducing their intake of purine-rich foods, particularly if they eat unusually large quantities of such foods.
While meat and certain types of seafood and shellfish do produce high levels of purines in the blood, research has suggested that not all purine-rich foods are associated with gout. Eating a moderate amount of purine-rich vegetables (spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms, legumes) does not appear to increase the risk of gout.
Dairy products, especially low-fat products (low-fat yogurt and skim milk), may actually protect against gout. Researchers have also found that taking 500 mg a day of vitamin C significantly reduces uric acid levels. They are investigating whether vitamin C can be used to prevent or treat gout.
Foods to Avoid:
A supervised weight-loss program may be a very effective way to reduce uric acid levels in overweight patients. Crash dieting, on the other hand, is counterproductive because it can increase uric acid levels and may cause an acute attack.
Drinking plenty of water and other nonalcoholic beverages helps remove MSU crystals from the body.
Alcohol should be avoided, since it promotes purine metabolism and uric acid production. It also may reduce excretion of uric acid. Heavy drinking, especially binge drinking of beer or distilled spirits, should be avoided.
People with gout should also attempt to avoid activities that cause repetitive joint trauma, such as wearing tight shoes.
Travel is an example of an activity that increases the risk of gout attacks. It not only increases stress, but eating and drinking patterns may change. Before traveling, patients should discuss preventive measures with their health care providers. The doctor may prescribe a prednisone tablet to be taken immediately at the first sign of a gout attack. In most cases, this stops the episode.
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