You can reduce your risk of kidney stones and the arthritic condition called gout by lowering blood levels of uric acid. Control of hyperuricemia (high uric acid levels) entails an anti-inflammatory diet, fluids to help the body flush out toxins, and lifestyle changes. Eliminate foods high in purine and emphasise those that help eradicate it. Exercise will help increase circulation and break up the uric acid crystals that contribute to joint pain. Medication may be warranted, but diet and lifestyle changes have safer and more permanent positive results.
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Avoid foods high in purine, a compound that creates uric acid when it is metabolised. That means avoiding organ meats and meat gravies, bacon, lamb, seafood, sardines, anchovies and yeast (including the yeast in beer and in yeast bread). Cut down on mushrooms, spinach, asparagus and cauliflower, which have more purine than other vegetables.
Include foods that remove uric acid. Eat high-fibre foods, including citrus fruit, tomatoes, green vegetables, whole grains and tofu. Black cherries can help relieve the inflammation caused by hyperuricemia. Season food with celery seed, another anti-inflammatory, and turmeric, which increases circulation.
Drink more water. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugared drinks, replacing them with unsweetened fruit juice and plenty of water. Your daily beverage intake should be at least 50 per cent water. Choose juices with a high vitamin C content, since ascorbic acid flushes other acids from the body.
Increase physical activity, which helps cleanse the body of impurities by keeping the blood flowing. Perform exercise of any kind, including sports and aerobics, in conjunction with an anti-inflammatory diet. Begin with an activity as low impact as walking, but make exercise a daily habit.
Tips and warnings
- Check nutrition labels when shopping for food, and choose those with the highest percentage of fibre per serving.
- Do not attempt to self- medicate. See a doctor for treatment of gout attacks, characterised by soreness and inflammation in the lower joints, most commonly the big toe, ankle and knee. Follow the anti-inflammatory diet and exercise plan in conjunction with any prescribed medication.
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