Positive lifestyle changes, like sticking to a healthy diet, are key to managing gout. This can include adding avocado to your diet.
The many health benefits of avocado can help prevent gout attacks and improve your overall health.
Read on to take a look at the health benefits of avocado, how it can help with gout, and for additional tips on treating the condition.
Gout is inflammatory arthritis that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness of a joint. It usually occurs in one joint at a time and most commonly affects your big toe, although it can also appear in your wrists, knees, and ankles.
Gout can develop due to high levels of uric acid in your bloodstream called hyperuricemia.
Your body makes uric acid when it breaks down purines (chemical compounds). It produces these naturally, but also gets them from certain foods.
The build-up of uric acid crystals in your joints, fluids, and tissues can lead to gout.
When treating gout, steps must be taken to lower the levels of uric acid in your bloodstream, which can help prevent flare-ups. Although there is no cure for gout, periods of remission can occur if there are no symptoms.
Following a diet that is high in foods low in purine and limited by foods high in purine can help control gout.
A 2017 study found that men who ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, low-fat milk, and whole grains reduced their risk of gout. Limiting your consumption of foods like red meats, fried foods, refined grains, and sweets also contributed to a reduced risk of gout.
Avocados are a useful addition to any healthy diet, including one that can help treat gout.
They are naturally low in purine and contain large amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. A 2016 report found that foods high in antioxidants can improve gout symptoms by reducing inflammation and fighting free radicals in your body.
Avocados offer a variety of nutritional benefits that can help improve gout symptoms and improve your overall health. They are a low-carb food that is high in nutrients, including potassium, fiber, and monounsaturated fats.
High levels of fiber and monounsaturated fat promote cardiovascular health by improving cholesterol levels. They do this by increasing HDL cholesterol (good) levels while lowering LDL cholesterol (bad) levels at the same time. Potassium further supports heart health by regulating blood pressure.
Avocados are also high in a carotenoid called lutein, which is beneficial for eye health and mental function.
Especially for people with gout, avocados are high in antioxidants. They also contain vitamin E, which plays a role in anti-inflammatory processes. These properties mean the fruit can help treat gout.
Most of the fat in avocados is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid or “good fat”. However, they’re still high in fat, so they’re a high-calorie food.
Since maintaining a moderate weight is part of gout treatment, you should eat avocados and other high-calorie foods in moderation.
That said, eating adequate amounts of dietary fats promotes satiety and can help you feel full longer, which can reduce snacking. Dietary fat also keeps blood sugar levels stable by slowing the digestion of carbohydrates.
How to add avocado to your diet
You can experiment with simple and creative ways to include avocado in your diet. Here are a few ways to get started:
- For a simple snack, lightly season an avocado with salt, pepper, or other spices. Enjoy it alone or spread it over whole grain crackers or toast.
- Add sliced avocado to salads, scrambled eggs, or sandwiches.
- Mix in an avocado to make guacamole, smoothies, or dressings.
- You can also drizzle avocado oil over your meals or use it in cooking, but it doesn’t offer the same nutritional benefits as eating the whole fruit.
In addition to following a nutritious general health eating plan, limit or reduce your intake of foods high in purine. They can also contain many foods that are low in purines.
Examples of foods high in purine are:
- All organ meat: including liver, kidney, sweetbreads and brain
- Game meat: including pheasant, rabbit, veal and game
- Fish: such as sardines, trout, anchovies, tuna, mackerel and haddock
- Other seafood: including prawns, crabs, scallops, clams and roe
- Sugary drinks: like soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks
- Foods High in Refined Sugar: including cookies, cakes and pastries
- Sweeteners: such as honey, agave nectar, and high fructose corn syrup
- Yeasts: including nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast and other yeast additives
- Alcohol: especially beer, fortified wine and port wine
Examples of foods that are low in purine include:
- All fruits: These include pineapple, banana, apples, grapes, red raspberries, watermelon, and cherries
- All vegetables: such as cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, peas, mushrooms, and dark leafy vegetables
- Most legumes: including lentils, beans, soybeans and tofu
- Most nuts and seeds: including cashews, walnuts and flax seeds
- Full grain: like oats, brown rice, and barley
- Eggs and all dairy products: especially low-fat dairy
- Certain drinks: Coffee, tea and green tea
- All herbs and spices: like chilli, coriander and turmeric
- Vegetable oils: including coconut, avocado, olive and flax
It is also important to try to maintain a moderate weight. Excessive body weight can increase the likelihood of flare-ups by:
- Increase in uric acid production
- Reducing the amount of uric acid leaving your kidneys
- Interfering with your body’s ability to break down sugar
However, if you are trying to lose weight, make sure to do it safely and avoid dieting. Such extreme measures can put extra strain on your kidneys, which can affect their ability to excrete uric acid and prevent gout attacks.
Research suggests that the Mediterranean diet, which includes avocado, may be beneficial for people with gout.
In addition to a balanced diet, there are several ways you can improve symptoms during a gout attack.
Here are some simple things that can help:
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to help your kidneys excrete uric acid.
- Stay physically active but give yourself enough time to rest, especially during flare-ups. Low impact activities like cycling and swimming can be most beneficial.
- During this time, avoid putting undue strain on your joints by taking a break from strenuous exercise and lifting heavy weights.
- Take the time to relax in an Epsom salt bath or a cold bath. Avoid hot baths if your inflammation is severe.
- Alternately apply ice packs and heating pads to the affected area several times a day.
Some of the natural remedies and supplements that you can try include:
- Cherries or tart cherry juice
- vitamin C
- Skimmed milk powder
- warm water with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and turmeric
- Celery or celery seeds
- Nettle tea
- Dandelion tea, extract or supplement
- Milk thistle seeds
- Bromelain extract
- Extract guava leaves
- Fish oil supplements
However, the general advice is not to rely solely on home remedies. Also, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate dietary supplements as strictly as medication, so use them with caution.
Before adding any new supplements to your diet, talk to your doctor to make sure they are right for you and do not interact with any medications you may be taking.
Even if you can’t cure gout, there are steps you can take to relieve your symptoms and reduce the recurrence of flare-ups.
Eating a healthy diet of avocado can help fight inflammation and help with weight management.
Talk to a doctor if your symptoms worsen or if you’ve taken steps to treat gout and they haven’t worked.