A diet rich in fruit and vegetables, nuts and whole grains and low in salt, sugary drinks and red and processed meats, is associated with a lower risk of gout. A typical 'Western' diet, on the other hand, is associated with a higher risk of gout.
Gout is a joint disease which causes extreme pain and swelling. It is most common in men aged 40 and older and is caused by excess uric acid in the blood which leads to uric acid crystals collecting around the joints.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet reduces blood pressure and is recommended to prevent heart disease. It has also been found to lower uric acid levels in the blood and may, then, protect against gout.
To investigate, a team of US and Canada based researchers examined the relationship between the DASH diet and Western dietary patterns and the risk of gout.
They analyzed data on over 44,000 men aged 40 to 75 years with no history of gout who completed detailed food questionnaires in 1986 that was updated every four years through to 2012.
Each participant was assigned a DASH score (reflecting high intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, such as peas, beans and lentils, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, and low intake of salt, sweetened beverages, and red and processed meats) and a Western pattern score (reflecting higher intake of red and processed meats, French fries, refined grains, sweets and desserts).
During 26 years of follow-up, a higher DASH score was associated with a lower risk for gout, while a higher Western pattern was associated with an increased risk for gout.
These associations were independent of known risk factors for gout, such as age, body mass index, high blood pressure and alcohol and coffee intake.
The authors point out that this is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.
Nevertheless, they say the DASH diet may provide a preventive dietary approach for the risk of gout as it also treats high blood pressure, which affects the vast majority of gout patients.
Source: BMJ, May 10, 2017.
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