In answer to your question about the foods you eat, changes to your diet may reduce the frequency of gout attacks, with uric acid levels potentially being lowered by as much as 15% and more than that in those who are overweight.
In the past, we recommended a diet low in purines. But, because purines occur in such a wide variety of foods — from spinach and mushrooms to liver — this can prove restrictive.
Nowadays, the suggested eating plan is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which involves an increased proportion of protein from low-fat dairy products, reduced red meat, seafood and saturated fat, along with replacing white carbohydrates with wholemeal versions.
There is also evidence that eating cherries — ten, twice daily — is of benefit to patients with gout in preventing recurrence because cherries contain bioflavonoids and anthocyanins, compounds that reduce levels of uric acid and also have an anti-inflammatory effect — though the details of these mechanisms are not yet fully understood.
Drinking four to five cups of coffee each day is also associated with a lower risk of attacks, but further studies on this are awaited.
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