Gout and the Mediterranean diet

Gout and the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is perhaps one of the healthiest diets in the world. It’s a popular diet followed by health nuts around the world due to its purported benefits such as weight loss, improved blood sugar, better heart health, and longevity.

The question is, is it good for gout?

Looking at the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, you should already see some signs that it is indeed a beneficial for gout sufferers. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at what the diet exactly looks like.

What The Mediterranean Diet Looks Like

Mediterranean diet revolves around eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains on a daily basis. These foods items are high in fiber, flavonoids, and antioxidants all of which are very good for the body.

Then there’s olive which replaces other types of oil that tend to have higher saturated fat. Olive oil can be used in salads, marinades, cooking, and even dips! There is an emphasis on using extra virgin olive oil here because it’s rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which help improve HDL cholesterol. This is the good type of cholesterol which takes away the bad cholesterol out of the arteries.

Dairy products such as yoghurt are allowed daily, although they should be consumed moderately. Fish and poultry is recommended twice a week while eggs can be eaten daily. You may also consume red meat but it should be limited to only a few times per month. To replace the lack of protein are the fish, poultry, and legumes.

As for alcohol, the Mediterranean diet advocates drinking 1 glass of red wine per day for women, and 2 glasses per day for men. All other alcohols such as beer, hard liquor, and spirits are not included in this diet.

Mediterranean Diet: The Evergreen Diet

If you’re already familiar with the diet, it’s probably because you’ve seen it among your friends or on media about people doing it. Because it’s so popular, it’s not hard to come across advice saying you should be eating the same kinds of foods recommended in the diet.

The growing popularity of healthy eating has paved way for people to become creative with how they prepare their meals. In my book, I share some good recipes whose principles closely follow the Mediterranean diet. However, if you haven’t yet, you can always check the internet. It’s home to millions of recipes that teach you how to prepare Mediterranean meals.

What sets it apart from other diets is that it has managed to maintain its popularity throughout the decades. Most diet fads don’t last as long. This is because the Mediterranean diet is supported by many studies confirming its benefits.

Since this blog is all about gout, we’ll focus on how the diet can benefit you.

 

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What the Mediterranean diet does for gout sufferers?

The diet helps you prevent gout attacks for many reasons:

  • Avoiding or limiting red meat. Red meat takes more work for your kidneys to process, making it prone to damage. Certain meats like organs are also very high in purines.
  • Avoiding sugar and processed foods. The diet is all about eating whole foods like fruits, veggies, and grains. These are foods that are not laced with sugars and artificial ingredients.
  • Eating only fish and poultry. Poultry and fish are good sources of protein, not to mention that certain fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have a protective effect against gout attacks.
  • Nuts and legumes. Both are also great sources for protein and fiber. In addition, certain nuts possess omega-3 which is also good for you.
  • Eating dairy. Dairy products are found to have a uricosuric on gout. If you don’t have gout yet, full-fat dairy products might just even help you avoid developing the dreaded disease.
  • Limited alcohol intake. The Mediterranean diet only recommends drinking wine. Although wine is not all that bad, as a gout sufferer, you should still limit your alcohol intake to prevent flares.
  • Consuming olive oil. The wonder oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory which can help alleviate symptoms of gout.

There are already numerous studies that prove that the diet is beneficial for gout sufferers as well as those with hyperuricemia. One study involving 281 females and 257 found that eating the Mediterranean way had a significant impact on lowering uric acid in the body.

Another study followed 4449 individuals between the ages of 55 and 80 with some participants having conditions such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart diseases. Three types of diets were tested with two being some variation of the Mediterranean diet. One was enriched with extra virgin olive oil, the second was enriched with nuts, and the third one followed a low-fat diet.

After five years, researchers found that all the participants adhering to the diet drastically reduced their serum uric acid levels, including those who didn’t exercise regularly! The greatest factors that contributed to the increase in uric acid levels were alcohol particularly beer, meat, and fish (particularly seafood).

Stick to fish and not seafood when it comes to the Mediterranean diet. Seafood will raise uric acid levels rather quickly. Again remember when eating protein in the 80-10-10 diet you want to stick with 10% of your daily calories as meat or fish.

In Conclusion

To put it simply, the Mediterranean diet promotes the consumption of low-purine foods that have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content in them. This is what makes it so great for gout sufferers. In addition, it helps you lose that excess weight which could be a contributing factor to developing gout and experiencing frequent gout attacks. I’m not saying that the Mediterranean diet will not be a cure-all for gout. But because of its popularity, its principles might just be easy enough that you can follow it yourself.

If you aren’t on a diet regimen for you gout diet, the Mediterranean diet is a good place to start. There are plenty of resources online that help you get started (including this one!)

Has this article help convince you to make the switch? What are your experiences with this diet? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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7 Comments

  • Jim Marcum

    Reply Reply October 19, 2018

    Is honey and agave a safe replacement for sugar?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply October 22, 2018

      Sugar is sugar at the end of the day but raw honey and agave are metabolized differently then table sugar, so if you want some sugar, choose some raw honey for example which has many other health benefits. Check out my post here on Gout and Honey.

      Make sure to not eat more than 25 grams daily in sugar in your gout diet.

  • Jay Menton

    Reply Reply October 12, 2018

    Been following your gout diet Spiro I had it in my elbow then shoulder, red meat , ground beef is deadly for me now. Everything has to change even beer is not good anymore.

  • Larry Acee

    Reply Reply October 12, 2018

    Hi Spiro,

    I have actually made a dramatic change in diet. I switched to a Whole Foods, plant based diet in July. Cut out all meat, fish, poultry, dairy and even cooking oils. My wife and I have adopted the Forks Over Knives lifestyle and in a little over two months she has dropped 38 pounds and I have dropped 20 pounds. My blood pressure dropped from highs of 155/86 to normal ranges such as 118/78. Of course I am still on meds but am hoping that I can get to the place where I reduce the dosage or am able to come off of it altogether.

    Thanks for your support.
    Larry

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply October 12, 2018

      That’s great Larry!!

      Thank you for sharing your success.

      Discipline is the key, stick to it and you are gonna not only live longer but also live healthier from these positive changes.

      Keep it up!

  • Joe Stanzione

    Reply Reply October 4, 2018

    I had to change my diet after a triple bypass. I started eating more fish, twice a week. Four months later I developed gout. I was told fish like salmon was a no no. How come you recommended it? And what about peanut butter, is it okay?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply October 4, 2018

      Hi Joe!

      You can eat salmon but it should never be more than 10% of your daily calories since it is protein. Too much protein causes our gout to worsen. So you must be disciplined in your gout diet and not eat much of it. But a few ounces of salmon during lunch or supper is fine for most.

      Peanut butter is great, I have it almost every morning but make sure it is natural peanut butter where the only ingredient is peanuts. It’s a healthy fat.

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