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6 Lifestyle Tweaks To Prevent Or Manage Gout

6 Lifestyle Tweaks To Prevent Or Manage Gout

Gout is a very painful condition that many people experience. A form of arthritis that triggers painful inflammation of some joints, gout strikes when the body is unable to flush out excess uric acid. This leads to the formation of urate crystals around certain joints, triggering agonizing inflammation and tenderness that can last several days. Uric acid in humans comes from the breaking down of purines, which occur naturally in our bodies and in some foods we eat.

Living with gout is a painful reality for millions around the world. Because the pain is so severe, it can be debilitating at times. Fortunately, there are different ways that people can control and prevent this condition from flaring up. Some health professionals have stated that some small tweaks in one’s lifestyle can eventually reduce the frequency and severity of gout flareups.

1. Watch what you eat

As a general rule of thumb, here are some foods that will cause and exacerbate the condition:

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Seafood

There are people in the world that love their seafood. In fact, any food that comes from the sea can be the start of a wonderful meal.

Sadly, when people who love these foods begin to suffer with gouty arthritis, it is important for them to switch their diets right away. Some kinds of seafood may be eaten every once in a while, while others should be removed from the list completely to keep gouty arthritis at bay.

Specifically, seafood that should be removed from the diet include anchovies, herring, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, haddock, mackerel, and tuna. The culprit that causes problems with consuming seafood is the high concentration of purines, since the body does not store purines but breaks them down into uric acid.

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Meats

“Health is a very basic and important necessity,” — Mo Chapman, Aberdovey Lifeboat crew

Everyone can agree with that statement. No matter if you have a gout condition or not, we all have to be careful about what we eat, especially in today’s world of processed and fast foods. As for those with gout, red meats and turkey should avoided. Even though white meats and red meats are normally placed on the family table, gout sufferers must be informed and make the right dietary decisions when given these two choices. Typically, white meats are relatively safe because they have lower purine contents. On the other hand, this statement is not true for red meats — these meats have higher purine contents and will produce higher levels of uric acid.

Other specific foods

Other foods and beverages to watch out for are organ meats like liver and kidney, drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and poultry like turkey and goose. Some vegetables like asparagus and cauliflower are high in purines, but they are safer to consume than purine-rich meats.

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2. Keep weight gain in check

Maintaining a healthy weight is the best management strategy for gout. Weight gain increases the risk of flareups. If you have gained weight, try to shed the pounds by following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Cardiovascular exercises such as swimming or doing water aerobics on your own will help lower body muscle strengthening and improve lung function, along with increasing mobility and joint functions without the pull of full gravity. This means less stress on your joints.

Drastic crash diets, however, are not recommended because they disrupt the body’s natural rhythms and can spike uric acid counts, ending up doing more harm than good.

3. Keep hydrated

Optimal hydration is a great defense against gout attacks. Keeping the blood and urine flowing helps flush out excess uric acid. Water is the best bet and you should drink lots of it. You can also consume decaffeinated tea and coffee. But steer clear of drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.

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4. Cut alcohol consumption

Beer is a no-no for gout sufferers because it spikes levels of uric acid and prevents the body from flushing it out. Wine is a better choice, but only in moderation. Excess of any form of alcohol is a bad idea for health in general, and gout patients in particular.

5. Monitor uric acid levels

Visit your doctor regularly and make sure your uric acid level is closely monitored. The ideal is a count below 6 milligrams per deciliter. If your gout is severe and chronic, the doctor might recommend regular medication to bring it under control.

6. Load up on vitamin C

There is growing medical consensus that vitamin C is beneficial for patients with gouty arthritis. Talk to your doctor about whether you should consider taking supplements. If not, you could always include more vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits in your diet.

It’s easy to make these tweaks because none of them involves drastic changes to one’s lifestyle. All it takes is your own discipline and willingness. Making these changes can spell the difference between getting gout under control or letting it control your life.

Featured photo credit: Shayneppl via shutterstock.com

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Junie Rutkevich

Lifestyle writer and author of "Healthy Eating Habits: A Get-Healthy Guide To Tweak And Balance Your Daily Diet"

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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