Red, swollen, sensitive joints resulting from accumulation of uric acid crystals and fluid build up around the joints is characteristic of Gout. If you have given your blood reports and your result showed a uric acid level greater than 6 mg/dl or 7 mg/dl in women and men respectively, you are most probably suffering from the disease.
Uric acid is not just responsible for causing gout and resultant arthritis, but also increases your chances of having kidney stones and may also cause kidney damage if not attended at the right time. Our body makes uric acid by breaking down purines, normally found in RNA and DNA.
It is known that meat-based food is high in purines and thus we are asked to avoid these in our diet especially processed meat. Gout and You is a premium resource where you can learn various remedies to prevent gout and its associated pain. If you love your sausages and want to get an answer to your question Is processed meat healthy, read it here.
Processed meat – more harmful than organic produce
Any meat which is cured, dried, salted or smoked to increase its shelf life comes under the category of processed meat. The most common form of consumption of processed meat occur from bacon, sausages, ham, and hot dogs.
Meat as we discussed above is high in its purine content. By treating the meat, we remove its water content, thus increasing the content of purines even further. Smoked, dried, canned, and ready to eat meat products come in this category and are especially harmful for your health.
Let us learn why processed meat is so bad for us:
- Nitrites content of treated meat is carcinogenic especially when heated to high temperatures due to its conversion to nitrosamines.
- Even those products labelled as unprocessed some form of nitrates which when cooked with meat get converted to cancer causing nitrites.
- Addition of high amount salt to preserve meat reduces your ability to tolerate sugar, thus posing a risk of impending diabetes.
- Processed meats also contain harmful hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines, commonly found in smoked meats.
- Processed meats may also contain corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, dyes, hydrolysed proteins which are all harmful when consumed over a period of time.
- Processed meat has been associated with increased consumption of alcohol or cigarettes, and decreased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
How does consumption of processed meat act a trigger in Gout?
If the above-mentioned reasons are not enough to scare you, let us know what happens when you consume processed meat and also suffer from gout:
- High content of purine is directly linked to gouty arthritis.
- Higher sodium content in processed meat damages your kidney which then does not excrete the uric acid efficiently increasing your risk for developing gout.
- Salty foods are addictive leaving you to crave for more and will also make you to prone to hypertension.
- Addition of high fructose corn syrup to certain products is again harmful for everyone suffering from gout and other metabolic disorders especially type 2 diabetes.
If you are a meat lover and have been consuming processed meats for a while now, it would be a great start to replace them for organic and unprocessed produce. Also, cook at a lower temperature to further enhance its nutritive properties. Go for a frilled chicken breast instead of a chicken sausage and enjoy a much healthier meal.
How to consume meat to reduce the risk of future gout attacks?
Meat-based diet is naturally high in purines and puts you at increased risk of painful attacks post consumption. Now that you have made up a choice to change your diet in order to reduce your serum uric acid, we will list out your options for meat consumption that you can enjoy in moderation:
Proteins present in plant-based foods are considered less harmful, if you suffer from regular gout attacks. Moderate fish and occasional poultry consumption are also acceptable and will not cause any harm. Avoid red meat as much as possible.
Are Low-purine diets – the key to a pain free life?
When combined with your regular medication for gout, low-purine could be a game changer especially if you know what frequent gout attacks can do to your health and life in general. Adding more fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds could make a lot of difference.
In addition to avoiding high purine foods, also avoid refined flours, sugars, and sodas, dried fruits, and fruit juices. Abstain from alcohol as much as possible.
Below is the list of food that is low in purine content and you can happily enjoy as a part of your gout diet?
- Milk and milk-based products
- Vegetables excluding asparagus and spinach.
- Choose water and lemon juice over fruit juice and carbonated drinks.
- Nuts and seeds
- Some unprocessed meat and fish occasionally
Alcohol and gout attacks
Alcohol consumption can raise your serum uric acid levels anywhere from 10-50% despite being purine free. This happens because:
- It reduces the ability of kidneys to excrete purines by almost half.
- During the metabolism of alcohol in liver, purine content of ATP molecules is broken down to uric acid.
- Beer contains brewer’s yeast which is high in purine.
- Fructose content of some alcoholic beverages increase uric acid levels further.
Change in diet will lower as much as 30% of your serum uric acid level. A balanced diet can help not just help lower your uric acid level, but will also promote weight loss, and will reduce your risk of developing other metabolic disorders.
Never underestimate the role of medications prescribed to treat gout. Treating the root cause is as important as change in lifestyle to achieve maximum benefits and to enjoy a healthy pain-free life.
Also analyse and manage your triggers, the key to preventing a painful gout attack. Everyone is different and meat consumption will affect everyone is different ways. Processed meat is generally harmful and you must avoid its consumption regularly, if not completely.