Lifestyle Changes to Manage Gout

Lifestyle changes can't cure gout, but they can help control uric acid levels in the blood, which lead to gout attacks. Lifestyle recommendations include:

Avoid Certain Foods and Beverages

Uric acid is created by the breakdown of purines found in certain foods. Avoid or limit foods and beverages that are high in purines such as:

  • Organ meats, such as liver, kidney, and sweetbreads
  • Seafood and shellfish, such as lobster, crab, or sardines
  • Red meat, such as beef or lamb
  • Some vegetables, such as asparagus, cauliflower, and mushrooms
  • Salty foods, sauces, and gravies

Blood uric acid levels can also be influenced by some foods and beverages that aren't high in purines such as:

  • Alcoholic beverages, especially beer, during an acute attack—people with recurrent gout should always avoid alcohol
  • High-fructose drinks, which include sugar-sweetened soda and sweetened juice

Diet

A well-rounded healthful diet is important for overall well-being and maintaining a healthy weight. Be sure to get adequate amounts of calories, protein, and calcium. In general, eat less saturated and more mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Excess weight can put extra stress on your joints. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor or a dietitian about dietary options.

It's important to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Fluids help flush uric acid from the body and help prevent recurrent gout attacks.

Talk to your doctor about adding bing sweet cherries and/or vitamin C supplements to your diet. These may help reduce uric acid levels and gout symptoms.

Be an active participant in your care. Talk to your healthcare team about symptoms or treatments that you are having difficulty with. Other treatments options may be available to help you better manage your health.

Be an active participant in your care. Talk to your healthcare team about symptoms or treatments that you are having difficulty with. Other treatments options may be available to help you better manage your health.

Revision Information

  • ACR publishes guidelines for pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment of gout. Am Fam Physician. 2013;88(6):408-412.

  • Gout. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases%5FAnd%5FConditions/Gout. Updated September 2012. Accessed December 5, 2014.

  • Gout. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 28, 2014. Accessed December 5, 2014.

  • Gout. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Gout/gout%5Fff.asp. Updated July 2010. Accessed December 5, 2014.

  • Gout—treatment of acute attack. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 13, 2014. Accessed December 5, 2014.

  • Gout—prevention of recurrent attacks. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 3, 2014. Accessed December 5, 2014.

  • Gout testing. American Association for Clinical Chemistry Lab Tests Online website. Available at: http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/conditions/gout/start/1. Updated June 25, 2013. Accessed December 5, 2014.

  • Pittman JR, Bross MH. Diagnosis and management of gout. Am Fam Physician. 1999;59(7):1799-1806.