By Lindsey Konkel Medically Reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD

Certain foods may trigger gout attacks, and some claim that cherry juice might help.

Certain foods may trigger gout attacks, and some claim that cherry juice might help.

Gout is a painful form of arthritis caused by having too much uric acid in the blood.

Uric acid is a normal waste product in the blood that comes from the breakdown of certain foods.

It’s processed in the kidneys before being eliminated from the body in urine.

Being overweight is associated with higher-than-normal uric acid levels. Since this is a major risk factor for gout, losing weight is often the goal of a gout diet.

The main principles of a gout diet are usually the same as those of any healthy, balanced diet. They include:

  • If you’re overweight, reduce the number of calories you consume.
  • Choose unrefined carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and foods
  • Limit your intake of organ meats (such as kidney, liver, or sweetbreads).
  • Cut back on saturated fats.
  • A diet that’s high in a substance called purine can also lead to excess uric acid in the blood.

    Some people with gout find it helpful to eliminate specific high-purine foods from their diet. Certain high-purine foods may trigger gout attacks in some people.

    Most people with gout will still need medication even if they follow a strict gout diet.

    Scientific studies have shown that dietary changes alone typically lower your uric acid levels by about 15 percent.

    It’s not necessary to avoid all high-purine foods if you have gout.

    Studies have shown that purine-rich vegetables don’t trigger gout. And certain high-purine foods can be a good source of lean protein to incorporate into your diet.

    Purine-rich vegetarian foods to incorporate into your diet include:

    • Peas
    • Beans
    • Lentils
    • Spinach
    • Mushrooms
    • Oats
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli

    Foods to Avoid With Gout

    The following high-purine foods may trigger gout attacks in some people:

    • Red meat
    • Organ meats
    • Certain types of seafood (anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, scallops)

    Other items to avoid if you have gout include:

    • Alcohol, especially beer
    • Sugar-sweetened beverages
    • Products containing high-fructose corn syrup

    Dietary Supplements for Gout

    Vitamin C supplements are sometimes recommended for people with gout.

    One study found that taking 500 mg of vitamin C per day had a mild uric acid–lowering effect. It’s not clear whether vitamin C helps reduce gout attacks.

    Cherry Juice for Gout

    Cherries and cherry juice are a popular folk remedy for gout, but the scientific evidence to support their supposed benefits is still coming in.

    In 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to several cherry product manufacturers for overselling the health benefits of their products in advertisements.

    Nonetheless, there’s reason to believe that cherries might help fight gout. They contain chemical compounds called anthocyanins, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation.

    Cherries may also have a beneficial effect on uric acid levels.

    One large study of people with recurrent gout found that eating cherries was associated with a lower risk of gout attacks, especially when cherry consumption was combined with taking a common uric acid–lowering drug.

    Despite these findings, experts say that more research is needed before any definitive recommendations can be made about cherries or cherry juice for gout.