Author: Myron Yau, Nutritionist at HKBioTek
Gout is a notorious disease affecting numerous modern citizens. Gouty patients regularly suffer from the pain of arthritis in different joints of their bodies.
Gout belongs to a disorder of purine metabolism and hence is characterized by hyperuria. When the metabolism of purine is altered in our body, the urea level in blood is elevated to a level even higher than saturation point of urea in blood. Prolonged hyperuria above its saturation concentration results in crystallization of urea salts in blood. These small crystals may then circulate around the body through blood and are finally deposited on the wall of joints. These crystals create the nuclei for further crystallization and become larger and larger. This may then trigger inflammation at the points of deposition leading to redness, swelling and pain in joints.
Despite the fact that development of gout contains genetic factors, it is still closely related to our daily habits, especially eating habits, as purine can be both endogenously synthesized or absorbed from foods. Therefore, via food manipulation, excess purine intake can be prevented so as to lower urea level in blood. Modern citizens live a material lives with meals rich in various kinds of meats and seafoods, which is the main cause of gout.
Primarily, foods contain highest amount of purine are internal organs such as brain, hearts, kidneys and livers, seashells like scallops, shrimps, craps, sardines, Narrow barred spanish mackerels, meat juice, concentrated meat soups, chicken essence, Bovril sauce, Marmite sauce, kelp and alcohol. All these foods should be eaten minimally. During the acute gouty attack, they should be avoided entirely. Secondarily, whole wheat foods, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, mushroom, green bea and soy bean products also contain significant amount of purine. However, researches showed that plant purine has a lower blood-urea-elevating ability than animal purine. Therefore, in spite of their high purine contents, these foods can be eaten in moderation.
What else we can do are drink 12 glasses fluid a day and do regular exercise, by which the blood urea can be excreted at a higher rate. Besides, research showed that eating more cherry is likely to reduce rate of gout attacks.