Red meat and seafood are out. But milk and other dairy foods are in when it comes to preventing the painful foot ailment gout, according to a report released on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Red meat and seafood are out. But milk and other dairy foods are in when it comes to preventing the painful foot ailment gout, according to a report released on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.”This is the first evidence that dairy products can be strongly protective” against the condition,” said Dr. Hyon Choi of Massachusetts General Hospital, chief author of the study.They also found that vegetables once thought to contribute to gout, such as beans, peas, mushrooms, spinach and cauliflower, do not appear to be a factor in the disease.”This study confirmed some of the suspicions about some foods and exonerated others, such as purine-rich vegetables, and it discovered some protective factors that had never been shown before,” Choi told Reuters.Known as the “disease of kings and king of disease,” gout is a form of arthritis caused when uric acid crystallises in the joints, usually in the feet and ankles. It has plagued royalty, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin and Leonardo da Vinci. Today, it affects about 5 million adults in the United States.The advice to avoid meat and consume milk products isn’t new. Philosopher John Locke recommended it in the 17th century, said Richard Johnson of the University of Florida and Bruce Rideout of the Zoological Society of San Diego, in an editorial in the Journal.But it took the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, an ongoing evaluation of 47,150 male dentists, osteopaths, optometrists, pharmacists, veterinarians, and podiatrists, to confirm and quantify Locke’s advice.The Choi team found that eating an extra portion of meat each day — particularly beef, pork and lamb — increased the risk of developing gout by 21 percent.An extra helping of seafood each week upped the risk by 7 percent, but the danger was highest among men who were not overweight.Drinking one to five glasses of low-fat milk reduced the risk by 43 percent, Choi said.An attack of gout can cause swelling, stiffness, redness and severe pain. Frequent bouts of the condition can cause permanent joint damage.The study used questionnaires to assess the eating habits of the professionals.(Source: Reuters Health, March 2004)