By definition, gout is actually a form of arthritis which is characterized by an acute onset of pain, redness, swelling and tenderness on the joints, most often the big toe. Most often known to be a man’s disease, more and more women today are also experiencing the attacks especially when they are in the postmenopausal stage. The pains could be so incredible that it could wake anyone from a deep sleep at night. The big toe gets so swollen that even the weight of the blanket or a thin sheet is unbearable.
What causes the pain is actually the accumulation of urate crystals around the joint area. The accumulation causes the joint to swell causing the intense pain. Urate crystals are formed when there are high levels of uric acid in the blood.
Purines which are normally found in the body and in some foods that we eat, breaks down into uric acid which normally passes through the body as urine via the kidneys. However, there are times when the body somehow produces too much of the uric acid or the kidneys are just not processing them well enough to excrete the necessary and healthy amounts.
With a lot of uric acid in the body, they will obviously build up in quantity and will form the sharp, needle-like urate crystals which somehow manage to gather around the joints, like the big toe. So literally, the crystals’ needles pierce the soft tissues and the cartilages, which is what is causing the pain.
Now, there are a lot of things in our diet containing high levels of purines which cause the gout. To list a few: cattle organs (heart, liver, kidney, etc) found in processed meats or eaten as is, sardines, yeast, sweat breads, mussels and some clams, asparagus, cauliflower and mushrooms. Now coffee does not cause the gout, but it can increase the breakdown of proteins and can aggravate the gout.
Then there are those junk foods that we eat: soft drinks, soda, carbonated or fizzy drinks, artificial sweeteners, high vinegar content foods, even black tea and high salt containing foods.
There are actually a lot of things that we eat, junk or not junk, that contains all the purines. However, simply because they contain them does not mean that they are the main culprits to gout. What one should understand that if you take these foods in a balanced way, they would be harmless, they are actually beneficial. But if you take the foods in abusive quantities, then that is the time when the danger signals come in.
The cause of gout are plenty, the secret is to just take it easy and avoid taking too much of everything at one given time. Usually the gout attacks happen after an over-indulgence in foods that contain several levels of purines.