Little adjustments can make a big difference for gout

There's good news and bad news for gout sufferers. Here's the bad news first: A new study confirms that some of your favorite foods -- including beef and fish -- can bring on the pain.

Now the good news: You don't have to give those foods up.

The new study offers one of the most detailed looks yet at how gout attacks begin in people prone to the disease -- and of course, it starts with eating too many foods rich in purines.

But we already knew that.

Where this new study differs is in the numbers -- because for the first time, we can see the actual tipping point, and it's 0.07 ounces of purines over two days.

When the 633 men in the study had a gout attack, it was almost always after passing that level. And in random two-day periods that didn't precede an attack, they averaged 0.06 ounces or less.

Those numbers might sound incredibly small, and they are since even purine-rich foods contain very low levels of the stuff.

The 0.07 ounces responsible for gout attacks equal what you'll find in 3.8 pounds of beef or 7.9 pounds of spinach, while 0.06 ounces of purines are what you'll get from 3.1 pounds of beef or 6.4 pounds of spinach.

Obviously, you're not going to be eating just beef and spinach (not to mention you shouldn't be eating close to 2 pounds of beef a day even if you're not prone to gout). And of course, these are averages, so your own tipping point might be a little higher or lower.

But the new study offers an excellent starting point for working on your own purine-restricted diet -- and you can start by getting to know not only which foods contain purines, but how much you'll find in each serving.

In general, the foods with the highest levels include organ meats such as liver as well as seafood such as sardines, mussels, anchovies, and herring. Chicken has some as well, but not quite as much.

Vegetables have much lower levels, but the ones with the most include spinach, mushrooms, lentils, asparagus, and cauliflower.

You'll also find it in pasta and yeast. And, sorry beer lovers, but your favorite suds are bubbling over with purines.

If despite your best efforts you cross your own gout tipping point, there are natural ways to beat the pain -- including cherry, especially sour cherry, and celery seed extract.

And as I have written before, people with high blood sugar levels are more prone to gout, so get those under control as well.

For more on keeping gout at bay, read my free report "The right way to beat gout."