Gout is a painful disease of joints. Usually the big toe is swollen and inflammed.
It occurs due to faulty eating and in this condition, uric acid crystals form in excess in the body and deposit in the joints to produce the symptoms.
The cases increased during the lockdown, NHS states. What was the reason of this surge in gout cases during the pandemic?
Gout and its symptoms
Gout is a painful condition involving the body joints and connective tissue. It is a disease known since ancient times. The person affected experiences sudden and severe joint pain.
All joints of the body can be affected but the most common is the big toe. It gets swollen, hot, and the skin overlying it becomes red.
The reason for this inflammation of joints are the deposits of uric acid crystals in and around the joint tissue.
The foods that can trigger gout symptoms are sugary foods and drinks, high fructose corn syrup, alcohol, game meats, organ meats, some seafoods such as herring, scallops, and the like, red meats, turkey, meat sauces, and yeasts.
Surge in gout cases during the pandemic
NHS digital data reveals that there has been a huge surge in gout cases during the pandemic. The figures also reveal that the hospital admissions due to gout also rose dramatically during the same period.
The gout cases increased by 20% in three years. In 2021-2022, there were 234000 cases of gout that were hospitalized for it in the UK.
The reason for this uptick was the binge eating noticed in people during the lockdown. Firstly, people were at home and having nothing to do ended up eating their comfort foods.
Financial instability and job losses caused depression and this also caused over eating. Additionally, there was not much exercising during the lockdown period. Gyms were closed and walking was not possible due to the movement restrictions.
In the same period, the number of obesity cases also showed a huge rise.
Which foods are best for gout?
Certain foods can decrease uric acid formation and gout flare-ups. Milk is one of them. Skimmed milk is the best. It increases excretion of the formed uric acid crystals in the urine and decreases the inflammatory response to the uric acid deposits in the joints.
There is research ongoing on the benefits of cherries for gout. Cherries have anti-inflammatory properties and can thus help in gout.
Coffee is also good for gout. It diminishes the breakdown of purine into uric acid. Furthermore, it increases uric acid excretion for the body. Water is a very good medium to flush out uric acid and prevents its deposits in the body.
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Additionally, modify the protein source. Go more plant based. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables are good. Avoid sugary foods and remember that the high fructose corn syrup is present in packaged foods.