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Over 9 million Americans have gout, a painful form of arthritis that causes your joints to become inflamed and swollen. Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the body.

Some foods can increase the levels of uric acid in your blood and cause gout flares. Research suggests that tomatoes are one food that can raise uric acid for some people.

Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of tomatoes for people with gout.

There have been some reports showing a link between tomatoes and gout flares. Research shows that people who eat more tomatoes tend to have higher levels of uric acid, a known cause of gout flares. However, this isn’t the case for everyone with gout. Your genetics and overall health can make a bigger difference in how foods such as tomatoes trigger gout.

That means that tomatoes could cause a gout flare in one person, but not cause any reaction at all in another. Additionally, research has found that most serum uric acid (500-600 mg/day) comes from sources within your body, while a smaller portion (100-200 mg/day) comes from eating purine-containing foods.

This is why cutting out foods that cause uric acid production may help control flare-ups for some people, but other people won’t feel a difference no matter what foods they eat. Carefully tracking the food you eat and paying attention to any gout flares that follow can help you determine if tomatoes, or any other foods, are triggers for you.

How to know if tomatoes are a gout trigger for you

Keeping a food journal can help you know if tomatoes trigger your gout. You can eliminate tomatoes from your diet for a few weeks and track your symptoms. Tomatoes might be triggering your gout if your symptoms improve when you remove them from your diet. Keep a detailed record that includes:

  • everything you eat each day
  • everything you drink each day
  • how much water you have each day
  • how much sleep you get each night
  • all the medications and supplements you take each day
  • all the exercise and activities you do
  • your mood each day
  • your energy levels each day
  • the level and location of any pain throughout each day
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Gout is a form of arthritis that is caused when a chemical called purine is broken down into uric acid. Purine is found naturally in your body and in some foods. High levels of uric acid can cause your blood to form crystals around your joints. The crystals lead to inflammation and joint pain. Avoiding foods that are high in purine can lower how much uric acid your body makes. For some people, this is enough to prevent painful gout flares.

Tomatoes are a gout trigger for some people. If tomatoes cause you to have gout flares, it’s a good idea to replace them with other healthy ingredients. This might include:

  • bell peppers
  • squash
  • eggplant
  • beets

You can experiment to find what works best for you. You might find that the best substitute for tomatoes depends on the dish. For example, you might use roasted red peppers to substitute for tomatoes on sandwiches, but use an eggplant paste to substitute when you’re making a sauce that calls for tomato paste.

You can develop recipes and substitutions as you learn what substitutes you enjoy the most. Online cooking and recipe apps can be a great source for finding creative substitutions.

Other food you may need to avoid if you have gout

Foods high in purine can lead to increased gout symptoms. Eliminating or reducing these foods in your diet can make your gout easier to manage. Other foods to avoid include:

  • meats and meat products like gravies
  • seafood
  • beans, peas, and lentils
  • oatmeal
  • spinach
  • asparagus
  • mushrooms
  • yeast
  • alcohol
Was this helpful?

Tomatoes are linked to a higher level of uric acid in your blood. That means that they can be a gout trigger for some people. However, tomatoes aren’t a gout trigger for everyone. In fact, tomatoes might help reduce inflammation and gout symptoms for some people. The best way to know if tomatoes are a trigger for you is to keep a food journal.