Memorial Day weekend—and the delicious grilling that often accompanies it—is nearly here. Families on back decks and patios across the nation will be out enjoying a few fresh burgers on the grill and other cookout-friendly foods. While burgers, hot dogs, and other fatty are foods common staples for celebrations like Memorial Day, they aren’t a good choice for some foot health issues. In fact, these goods, along with a few others, could actually make a foot condition like gout much worse.

Gout is a type of arthritis that develops when you have too much uric acid in your blood. The acid solidifies and forms sharp, needle-like crystals that settle in your joints and damage the soft tissues there. How does food play a role in all this? Well, the food you eat impacts the uric acid in your blood, because the acid is created when your body breaks down proteins called purines. The more purines in your food, the more acid is created.

Foods that Make Gout Worse

Thus the more you eat purine-rich foods, the more likely you’ll have a gout flare-up. Of course, the opposite is also true. If you pay attention to what food to avoid and take care of your lower limbs, you’re less likely to experience a gout attack. This will mean making some adjustments to your weekend cook-out menu, but keeping your feet comfy and healthy is worth it. Here are a few of the foods you should limit or avoid altogether when you have or are at risk for gout:

  • Red and organ meat – All meat tends to be high in purines, but red meat and organs have the highest amount. Limit or cut these out altogether.
  • Certain seafood – Some fish, like anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and tuna, along with mussels and scallops, have a very high purine content.
  • Alcohol – Metabolizing alcohol, but particularly beer, seems to increase uric acid in your blood. The dehydration effect only compounds this.
  • High-fat dairy and other fatty foods – Too much fat contributes to gout problems. Switch to low-fat dairy instead.


Don’t worry—there are plenty of delicious, healthy options you can use to supplement your cookout. The risk of a gout flare-up just isn’t worth the food. Let Dr. Dunkerley at Martin Foot and Ankle in Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz and York, PA, help you plan out your gout prevention. You can call (717) 757-3537 to make an appointment.

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