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Gout and Diet: Foods That Trigger Flare-Ups and Foods That Help

The Role of Purines

To understand the connection between gout and diet, it's essential to know about purines. Purines are natural compounds found in various foods and are also produced by the body. When the body breaks down purines, it generates uric acid. For people with gout, the body either produces too much uric acid or has difficulty excreting it, leading to uric acid buildup and crystal formation in the joints.

Foods That Can Trigger Gout Flare-Ups (Purine-Rich Foods)

  1. Red Meat: Beef, lamb, and pork are high in purines and can increase uric acid levels. Limit consumption to prevent gout flare-ups.

  2. Organ Meats: Liver, kidney, and other organ meats are extremely high in purines and should be avoided if you have gout.

  3. Seafood: Certain types of seafood are purine-rich, particularly anchovies, sardines, mussels, and scallops. Moderation is key when consuming these.

  4. Alcohol: Alcohol, especially beer and liquor, can contribute to gout flare-ups. Beer contains purines, and alcohol can impair uric acid excretion.

  5. High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Processed foods and sugary beverages that contain high-fructose corn syrup have been linked to an increased risk of gout.

Foods That Can Help Manage Gout

  1. Cherries: Cherries and cherry products, such as cherry juice or extracts, have been shown to help reduce gout attacks. They contain compounds that may help lower uric acid levels and reduce inflammation.

  2. Low-Fat Dairy: Low-fat dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, can have a protective effect against gout. They contain proteins that may help lower uric acid levels.

  3. Vegetables: Many vegetables are low in purines and can be consumed freely. Focus on leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers.

  4. Fruits: While some fruits are high in fructose, which can be a gout trigger, fruits like bananas, oranges, and apples are generally safe to include in your diet.

  5. Complex Carbohydrates: Foods like whole grains, brown rice, and oats can be part of a gout-friendly diet. They provide energy without significantly increasing uric acid levels.

Hydration and Gout

Staying well-hydrated is crucial for gout management. Dehydration can lead to higher uric acid concentration in the blood, making it easier for uric acid crystals to form in the joints. Drinking plenty of water can help dilute uric acid and promote its excretion through the kidneys.


In managing gout, dietary choices play a significant role. To reduce the risk of gout flare-ups and prevent the development of this painful condition, it's essential to limit or avoid purine-rich foods like red meat, organ meats, certain seafood, and alcohol. Instead, focus on incorporating gout-friendly foods like cherries, low-fat dairy, vegetables, fruits, and complex carbohydrates into your diet. Additionally, remember to stay well-hydrated by drinking enough water to help flush out excess uric acid. Always consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to develop a personalized gout management plan that suits your specific needs.


Choi, H. K., Atkinson, K., Karlson, E. W., Willett, W., & Curhan, G. (2004). Purine-rich foods, dairy and protein intake, and the risk of gout in men. New England Journal of Medicine, 350(11), 1093-1103.


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