Gout is a type of joint disease that occurs often on the big toe joint but can occur in other joints. It is characterized by swelling and sudden intense pain. It is caused by an accumulation of uric acid in the blood.
Uric acid is waste that comes from the breakdown of purines. Purines are organic properties highly found in red meat, seafood, sugary drinks, and alcohol.
The body normally gets rid of uric acid through the kidneys. The levels of uric acid rise in the blood when your diet is high on purines. Uric acid then is deposited on the joints causing pain and swelling.
This medical condition proves that you need to be watchful of your diet whether or not you are experiencing any symptoms. Drinking coffee may not be advisable for some medical conditions. It is important to find out if coffee causes or prevents gout.
Coffee Health Benefits
Drinking coffee regularly and in moderation may lower your risk of developing gout. This is because coffee may increase the rate at which your body eliminates uric acid. Caffeine in coffee increases your metabolic rate thus helps in the breakdown of purines lowering uric acid levels in the body.
Coffee also contains antioxidant compounds that reduce insulin in the blood. Low insulin levels in the blood have been associated with low levels of uric acid.
Caffeine has also been found to mimic the working of one type of gout medication. The type of medication that acts as xanthine oxidase inhibitors, blocks the metabolism of purines. Caffeine is in a class of stimulants called methylxanthine that perform in the same way as this medication.
It is worthy to note that coffee can prevent gout in individuals who do not have it already.
Coffee and the Risk of Gout
If you already have gout, coffee may trigger gout attacks especially if you do not drink coffee regularly. This is due to the chemical structure of caffeine that resembles gout medication. It tends to trigger gout flair-ups causing intense pain on the affected joints.
Other risk factors to develop gout are;
- Diet rich in seafood especially shellfish, red meat, sugary drinks, and alcohol.
- Being overweight, because the body produces a lot more uric acid than the kidneys can excrete.
- Untreated chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart complications, and kidney ailments.
- Genetic predisposition.
- Men above 40 years of age are more likely to develop gout as compared to women.
A lot of research has shown that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of developing gout. Even though this may not be advisable for people who do not consume coffee in the regular. Other measures you can take to reduce gout risk are;
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat foods low in purine like whole grains, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables
- Avoid alcohol and drinks high in sugar
- Avoid adding sugar and high-fat milk to coffee
If you are living with gout keep talking to your rheumatologist about your treatment options as you also enjoy the benefits of drinking coffee. If you are worried that you may develop gout because of the risk factors, consult your doctor as well to find the needed information.