Gout is a painful inflammation of the joints that strikes eight million U.S. adults.

A major risk factor for gout: high blood levels of uric acid.

Two recent studies of diet and gout risk

In one study, researchers randomly assigned 103 people with high blood pressure or prehypertension to either a typical American diet or a DASH diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and low-fat dairy, and low in red and processed meats and sugary drinks). Uric acid levels dropped on the DASH diet in those who entered the study with higher levels.

In another study, scientists tracked roughly 44,400 men for 26 years. Those who ate a DASH-like diet had a 32 percent lower risk of gout than those who ate less of the DASH-diet foods. And those who ate a typical Western diet (high in red and processed meats, french fries, refined grains, sweets, and sugary drinks) had a 42 percent higher risk of gout than those who ate less of those foods.

What to do

Eat a DASH diet, or an OmniHeart variation that replaces some carbs with unsaturated fat or protein (including plant protein). DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, so the diet may also lower your risk of stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease.

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