Beans & Walnuts
Gout is a metabolic disorder that manifests as a type of extreme inflammatory arthritis. Often beginning with a sharp pain in the big toe, gout occurs when the body cannot properly process uric acid, leading to painful uric crystals accumulating in the joints.
When you have a condition as strongly influenced by diet as gout is, it becomes easy to get caught up in what you can’t eat, instead of focusing on the things you can. Purines are an organic compound associated with gout flare-ups because they cause the body to produce higher amounts of uric acid. Foods that contain purines tend to be high-fat or yeasty products. While managing your diet can help control your gout, your food choices should not be centered only around avoiding purines. You should be trying to eat proactively at the same time—finding foods that will help keep your gout in check.
Beans are a great source of protein that don’t overwhelm your system with purines and high uric acid levels. Lentils and legumes, like peanuts, are also great plant-based sources of protein. However, other experts advise against legumes and beans, as there is some contradictory evidence that they may raise purine levels significantly. If the beans or legumes don’t disagree with you keep them in your diet—they allow you to keep the amount of saturated fat in your diet on the low end of the spectrum. This helps control gout by making it easier to keep cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight all at a healthy level—all of which are extremely important to keeping gout attacks at bay.
So even though peanuts are good for gout, what about other varieties of nuts? For the most part, you can eat them without worry. But be careful: again, some nuts may contain sufficient purines to be problematic, so if you notice something kicking off a gout attack, make sure to avoid it in the future.
Walnuts are a particularly good option for people with gout, and this variety of nut is recommended specifically by several organizations. About 10 to 15 nuts per day may be sufficient to gain the benefits of nuts without inducing excessive uric acid.
These nuts are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which your body uses for a number of different functions. Since many foods containing them are off-limits for gout patients, walnuts are a great way to sneak this essential nutrient into your diet. Additionally, the vitamin E in nuts helps keep the arteries cleared, making them good for heart disease, the risk of which increases with gout. Eating an orange or cherries after a large nut consumption may help move uric acid through the body as well.
Did you know...
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- Starting to feel claustrophobic? The smells of apples may help keep your claustrophobic feelings at bay according to a 1995 study by Dr. Alan Hirsch. Green apples, specifically, helped people change their perception of their space. Maybe they thought of expansive apple orchards? Cucumbers and barbecue made the feelings worse.
- Does your job make you stressed? We all know that stress is psychologically bad for you, but it also has an effect on…your allergies? A Harvard Medical School study has shown that stress causes your allergies to become worse because your body's defense response loses efficacy when repeatedly triggered by stress. Then, when you really need to physically fight something off, you're less able to!
- Just saying the words "thank you" can measurably improve your mood. Researchers can actually measure happiness and changes in brain structure when people practiced regular "grateful thinking." This included things like writing thank you notes, writing gratitude journal entries, mindfully counting their blessings, and thanking friends. It may be helpful in overcoming depression!