Top 7 Foods To Prevent Gout

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Top 7 Foods To Prevent Gout
Infographic – photo sources – see foot of article

Have you ever been jabbed with hundreds of minute white-hot needles? I hope not, but that’s how people suffering from gout often describe the pain. The joints in some acute cases of gout swell up within a few hours and they become very sensitive to pain such that the weight of a thick blanket over an inflamed joint can be agonizingly discomforting. But luckily, new research is demonstrating these gout attacks may be avoided with simple measures.

What Causes Gout?

A 2003 article from Forbes labels gout as “the disease of kings” because of the clearly inaccurate fallacy that it is a self-inflicted disease of the upper classes who overindulge in wine and food. [1] It was even defined by Ambrose Bierce, an American humorist and writer, in his Devil’s Dictionary (1881) as “a physician’s name for the rheumatism of a rich patient”. [2] Gout is actually a metabolic disease just like diabetes, and just like diabetes, it carries with it an increased risk of problems related to our cardiovascular system. Gout is a condition wherein there is a buildup of uric acid in the body or the body cannot efficiently eliminate this acid, resulting in the formation and deposition of crystals in joints, often in the big toe. It is primarily caused by consumption of alcohol and foods rich in purine. It has also been linked to obesity and hereditary disorders that can cause impairment in the proper excretion of uric acid. [3] Purines are organic compounds whose metabolism or breakdown produces uric acid in the liver. These can be found in high concentrations in meat, internal organs such as liver and kidneys, and seafood. [4]

Anti-gout Foods

As mentioned earlier, the key to preventing gout is easy: avoid the foods and substances that trigger them! And what you need to further prevent gout from happening are just conveniently stored in your kitchen. Here is a list of foods bearing therapeutic potential against gout.

1. Pineapple

Beyond its juiciness and sweet yet tangy tropical flavor, the pineapple has served for decades as a medicinal plant in several native cultures. The fruits and stems of pineapples are a commercial source of an extract called “bromelain,” which, based on data from in vitro and in vivo studies, exhibits anti-swelling and anti-inflammatory activities and brings relief against pain in arthritis by directly influencing some chemicals called “pain mediators” in the body. [5] Additionally, the fresh ripe pineapple fruit and the juice derived from it are rich in essential minerals and vitamins that are beneficial to gout sufferers such as calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. [6]

2. Ginger

There’s more to ginger than just being a spice and condiment that adds flavor to dishes. The rhizome holds a reputation of use as a traditional health-promoting herbal medicine that spans centuries. A number of research studies have confirmed its potential to treat degenerative ailments such as arthritis and rheumatism due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. [7] It was discovered that ginger has the same pharmacological properties as today’s non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Evidence from various laboratories scientifically supports the claim that ginger contains several constituents that exert anti-inflammatory activities, which are of value in relieving the pain and swelling during gout attacks. [8]

3. Turmeric

Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional Indian system of healing, prescribes the use of turmeric for various disorders and conditions. [9] Just like ginger, turmeric has been extensively researched for its anti-inflammatory properties, and research using cell culture and animal models confirms the therapeutic benefits of turmeric in inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, and arthritis. [10] Several human trials have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin, the primary active chemical of turmeric that gives it a bright yellow color. Curcumin does this by inhibiting many different molecules in the body that play a role in inflammation. [9]

4. Cherries

Cherries help decrease uric acid levels in the blood and prevent the inflammation associated with gout [11] They contain water-soluble chemicals that boost the integrity of collagen, an important structural protein, and reduce inflammation. [12] A half pound of cherries can be blended with a handful of parsley (a natural diuretic), a green apple, and a peeled lemon to produce a healthy juice that can unload the excess uric acids. [11] Cherie Calbom in her The Juice Lady’s Guide To Juicing for Health recommends a daily intake of one-half pound of fresh or frozen cherries or 8–16 ounces of fresh cherry juice for two weeks to help prevent gout attacks.

5. Peppers

For thousands of years, peppers have been spices that have been integral to our diets and commerce, and studies that point out the bioactive constituents present in them have made pepper even more valuable because of their remedial potential against many ailments. The black pepper or Piper nigrum has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial to gout sufferers. [13] On the other hand, the red pepper or Capsicum annuum has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and contains substances scientifically confirmed to bear clinical value for pain relief. The main pharmacologically relevant substance in red peppers, capsaicin, has been proved to alleviate pain in arthritis when topically applied and to suppress acid secretion. [14]

6. Watercress

The great Hippocrates considered the watercress as a stimulant. Whereas moms like the pungent yet nutritional leaves of watercress in soups and salads, modern herbalists value the plant as a diuretic that helps the body flush out toxic wastes from tissues and blood, including excess uric acids [15] Watercress is an outstanding source of vitamin C, which may assist in diminishing the serum uric acid by increasing its excretion through urine. [8] The leafy aquatic plant is customarily pulped with sea salt to make a poultice for gout and arthritis. [15]

7. Lemons

Similar to watercress, lemons are excellent juice sources of potassium, a mineral that aids in causing uric acid crystals to convert to a form that can easily be eliminated by the body. The juice from a freshly squeezed lemon in a glass of lukewarm water has been suggested to trigger the formation of calcium carbonate in the body, which helps neutralize acids, including uric acid. [12]


[1] C. Dubow, “The Disease Of Kings,” Forbes, 1 April 2003.

[2] A. Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, USA: World Cultural Heritage Library, 1881, p. 63.

[3] A.-K. Tausche, T. L. Jansen, H.-E. Schröder, et al., “Gout – Current diagnosis and treatment” Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, vol. 106, no. 34–35, p. 549–555, 2009.

[4] “Gout: List of Foods High and Low in Purine Content,” Dietary Fiber Food, 8 April 2016.

[5] R. Pavan, S. Jain, Shraddha and A. Kumar, “Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain: A review” Biotechnology Research International, vol. 2012, p. 976203, 2012.

[6] M. F. Hossain, S. Akhtar and M. Anwar, “Nutritional value and medicinal benefits of pineapple” International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, vol. 4, no. 1, p. 84–88, 2015.

[7] N. S. Mashhadi, R. Ghiasvand, G. Askari, et al., “Anti-oxidative and anti-Inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: Review of current evidence” International Journal of Preventive Medicine.

[8] R. Grzanna, L. Lindmark and C. Frondoza, “Ginger – an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions” Journal of Medicinal Food.

[9] N. Chainani-Wu, “Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa)” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2003.

[10] J. Jurenka, “Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research” Alternative Medicine Review, 2009.

[11] C. Calbom, The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution: Eat Your Way to Health, Detoxification, and Weight Loss with Delicious Juices and Raw Foods, Canada: Siloam, 2011.

[12] C. Calbom, The Juice Lady’s Guide To Juicing for Health: Unleashing the Healing Power of Whole Fruits and Vegetables, New York: Penguin Group, 2008.

[13] M. Butt, I. Pasha, M. Sultan, M. Randhawa, F. Saeed and W. Ahmed, “Black pepper and health claims: a comprehensive treatise” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2013.

[14] K. Srinivasan, “Biological activities of red pepper (Capsicum annuum) and its pungent principle capsaicin: A review” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2016.

[15] R. Mabey, A. McIntyre and M. McIntyre, The New Age Herbalist: How to Use Herbs for Healing, Nutrition, Body Care, and Relaxation, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.

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