The number of women with gout (a form of arthritis that typically attacks joints in or near the feet) has doubled in the last decade. And it isn’t just painful — according to University of Pittsburgh researchers, it can also raise your risk of heart disease 30 percent. Having high levels of uric acid in your blood (which is the cause of gout) can also trigger inflammation in your arteries. Our simple tips can help you avoid it.
Consume sugar-free drinks.
Just replacing sugary sodas with diet drinks, water, seltzer, tea and/or coffee is enough to lower your odds of gout 86 percent, Canadian researchers say.
When high fructose corn syrup — the sweetener in most sodas — breaks down, it forms uric acid in the bloodstream, explains Richard Johnson, M.D., author of The Sugar Fix.
Check your prescriptions.
A slew of medications — including some diuretics, painkillers and blood pressure meds — can make it harder for your kidneys to efficiently get rid of uric acid. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking any potential troublemakers, so you can replace them with safer alternatives.
Get enough dairy.
Fitting in three daily servings of yogurt, milk, or cheese could cut your risk of gout as much as 50 percent, reports the journal
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Healthy proteins in dairy help your kidneys flush away uric acid before it can harm your joints, explains lead researcher Nicola Dalbeth, M.D.
Take celery seed extract.
Try taking 1,000 milligrams of celery seed extract daily. Australian research shows that celery seeds are rich in active compounds
(phthalides) that can stop gout flareups by keeping uric acid in check. To maximize the benefit, choose a supplement standardized to contain 85 percent phthalides (sometimes
called 3nB on labels). Try this one from Natural Factors ($15.37, Amazon).
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.