Before leaving South Africa, I thought long and hard about which medicines to stock on board. I downloaded suggestions from doctors on the internet and then went to see our regular doctor who helped us to compile a pharmacy designed around our needs. Whereas we have not used any of the medicines we took along ‘in case something happened’, pretty soon we had to have a second supply of gout medicine. Brent really suffers from this…and it means that sometimes he is unable to even move.
The odd night out with more than one beer combined with the other bad B’s, bacon and boerewors can make this very painful disease flair up.
Although a predisposition to gout is normally genetic, it can be controlled by diet. Gout really is a form of arthritis. It occurs when high levels of uric acid in the blood cause crystals to form and accumulate around a joint. This acid, uric acid, is produced by the body when it breaks down purines. And certain foods contain a high percentage of them. Chronic gout sufferes may also have white nodules under the skin which are called tophi. These are collections of uric acid concentration in the skin.
We have some magic pills which take the pain away, straight away! A combination of colchicine, pulmison 20 mg and coxflam 15 in a cocktail 3 times a day normally curbs the pain from the first dose administered. But seriously, I doubt it is good for one’s body to take this medication too often.
So what must we avoid eating to reduce the possibility of gout attacks?
- Choose to eat more vegetarian foods such as beans and legumes which help you cut down the amount of saturated fat in your diet.
- Obesity is linked to gout in most instances but remember that all meats and fish contain purines, so don’t go on one of these high protein diets to loose weight.
- Limit or avoid alcohol. Particularly BEER guys. Choose to drink one or two units of wine per day instead, BUT NOT WHEN YOU HAVE AN ATTACK!
- Prefer to drink water over soft drinks as many contain high fructose corn syrup. Choose 100% fruit juices to drink something sweet and try to go for blueberries and cherries. Cherries contain quercitin which helps to prevent swelling and cherries and blueberries are high in anthocyanins which help to shut down enzymes that cause inflammation. Dilute the juices with water as to reduce your sugar intake.
- Eat whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Combine this with dairy free products.
Which fruit and vegetables can I find easily across the Pacific Islands?
All sort of squashes: butternut, acorn, pumpkin …
Leek, onion and celery
Aubergines and tomatoes (when in season)
Local green/red peppers and cucumbers
Cabbage and pak choi
Bananas (when harvest not destroyed by cyclones), apples and pears
Mangoes and pine apple when in season
Combine this with frozen berries and green vegetables . My favourites are:
Whole leaf spinach
And canned or dried legumes and canned vegetables:
Black eyed peas
Which foods can you prepare to help a person with gout?
Toasted soy and linseed bread with salted butter and sliced banana
Coffee with milk
Bulgur and black eyed pea salad.
This recipe below normally uses 2 to 3 lemons. I have substituted lemon with cider vinegar as this is alkaline and helps to restore a healthy balance in the body.
Fried red snapper with plantain rosti and mango salad
This recipe uses just a small piece of fish as not to add too many purines to the diet.