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Gout is a painful form of arthritis that you can often manage by watching your diet.

Diet goals for gout include avoiding foods high in uric acid because eating these foods can worsen symptoms.

Fortunately, there’s lots of healthy and delicious foods out there that are low in uric acid. Broccoli is one of them. Here’s why broccoli is a good option for people living with gout.

Broccoli has a lot of things going for it when it comes to gout prevention:

  • Low in purines. Purines are a precursor to uric acid that can contribute to gout. In a 2014 study on the amount of purines in foods, broccoli had about 70 milligrams (mg) of purines per 100 grams (g). The study’s authors placed broccoli in the low purines group — very high purine foods have more than 300 mg per 100 g. This means broccoli is a good choice for those with gout (and for most people trying to eat a healthy diet).
  • High in vitamin C. Eating foods high in vitamin C can help reduce gout attacks, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Vitamin C helps to reduce uric acid levels in the body.
  • High antioxidant activity. Broccoli contains many antioxidant compounds (inflammation fighters). A healthy diet that contains broccoli could help fight many chronic diseases, including gout, according to 2015 research.

Whether you prefer the stems or the florets, all broccoli parts contain nutritious compounds that are beneficial for those with gout. You can serve broccoli on its own or add it to omelets, casseroles, stir-fry’s, or other dishes.

Gout is the result of a condition doctors call hyperuricemia. This is when you have too much uric acid present in your body. The excess uric acid starts to collect in your joints, tissues, and body fluids. As a result, some people develop gout symptoms.

The body breaks down purines from foods into uric acid. While your diet isn’t the only factor that increases the risk for gout, it’s one you can easily change.

Other risk factors for gout include:

  • being male
  • obesity
  • having chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, poor kidney function, or congestive heart failure
  • taking medications known to increase purines, such as diuretics that reduce the amount of water in the body

Preventing future gout attacks often requires a combination of lifestyle changes and sometimes medications. If you aren’t sure where to start, making dietary changes and talking to your doctor can help.

Low purine foods

Most healthy foods are also gout-friendly. Some of the best choices for reducing gout risk include:

  • cherries, which contain special pigments called anthocyanins that can help fight gout
  • coffee
  • foods high in vitamin C, such as grapefruit, oranges, pineapples, and strawberries
  • low-fat dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, which may promote uric acid excretion
  • vegetables, such as beans, peas, lentils, and tofu

In addition to eating gout-friendly foods, drinking plenty of water can help you fight gout. Drinking between 8 to 13 cups of water a day can help to flush uric acid through your body.

Foods with moderate amounts of purines

Some foods are moderate in purines. These are foods you shouldn’t eat in excess, but are usually okay to eat once or twice a day.

Examples include:

  • asparagus
  • cauliflower
  • lunch meats
  • mushrooms
  • oatmeal
  • spinach

Low-sodium diets with fruits, veggies, and grains

Doctors have found low-sodium diets high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy, and whole grains help to reduce the incidence of gout.

A 2017 study that compared the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet with a traditional Western diet that contains alcohol and red or processed meats found people who followed the DASH diet had a lower risk for gout.

First things first: We aren’t telling you to completely avoid high-purine foods — but restricting them in your diet can often help reduce gout symptoms.

Research backs this up. A 2014 study of people and their diets found that those with the highest amounts of purines in their diet had more gout attacks. Those with the lowest amounts had fewer attacks.

Foods high in purines

The following foods are high in purines:

  • alcoholic beverages, especially beer
  • organ meats such as liver
  • red meats such as beef and venison
  • seafood such as shrimp or scallops
  • shellfish such as oysters or mussels
  • sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fruit juices

Reserving these foods for special occasions can help.

Diet is a lifestyle factor that you can adjust when you have gout. Avoiding foods high in purines can help — so can eating a healthy, low-sodium diet that includes veggies like broccoli.

If you experience repeat gout attacks, talk to your doctor about other treatment options that can help.