Owners' Blog

Could Your Dad's Diet Impact His Gout? What Should He Eat?

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

Gout. It's a form of arthritis that affects over 3 million men and women in the U.S. It occurs when uric acid forms crystals build up in the joints. It's heavily linked to the foods people eat. Dietary changes can help reduce the number of flare-ups that occur.

Urate crystals are to blame for gout. They accumulate in several joints although the big toe is the most common. Ankles, elbows, fingers, knees, and wrists are also possible. Pain can grow to be debilitating during an attack. Even the weight of a bed sheet can be excruciating. The first 12 hours tend to be the most painful, but it can be days or weeks before the pain fully subsides.

To lessen the chance of a flare-up, your dad needs to switch his diet. Here are the foods he should and shouldn't eat when he's diagnosed with gout.

Foods Linked to Gout Attacks

Some medications help with gout flare-ups. Diet and exercise are very important measures, however. Your dad needs to watch what he eats and avoid foods that trigger the attacks. These foods include organ meat, red meat, certain types of seafood, and drinks high in fructose can trigger gout. Beer is another common trigger.

Switching to a diet that is high in fiber and vegetables will help. For protein, low- or non-fat dairy are better choices. Eat plenty of legumes and whole grains.

Seafood can be high in purines. Anchovies, sardines, and tuna have some of the highest purine levels. Fish is good for the heart, however, so nutritionists recommend fish like flounder and sole instead.

The diet should be low in fat. Instead of frying fish, have it broiled or grilled. Roast a turkey breast and skip the dark meat. Lower sodium content by using herbs and spices.

Lose Weight and Exercise

Doctors also say people with gout need to get out and exercise more. The recommendation is 30 minutes per day. Try to mix up exercises from day to day. Talk a walk four days a week, go swimming one day a week, and use a stationary bike the remaining two days. If encouragement is needed, caregivers could join your dad on his walks.

For those who are overweight, it's important to lose some weight. Ten percent of their weight is a good place to start. If a person weighs 220 pounds, losing 22 pounds is helpful. If that is too hard, set the goal for five percent and build from there. Eating healthy is important. Caregivers could help your dad by cooking gout-friendly meals that his doctor recommends.

Support Your Dad During Flare-ups

During a flare-up of gout, your dad may need additional help around the home. Caregivers can help.

Caregivers can cook, clean, do the laundry, make beds, and run errands. Call a home care agency to discuss your dad's senior care needs.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Marietta, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.