About Bananas & Gout

By Barbara Aufiero

Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs in one or more joints. It commonly targets the big toe first. Other parts of the foot such as the instep, ankle or heel can be affected as well. Gout can develop in knees, elbows, wrists and elbows, too. Eating bananas, along with a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low in fat and protein can help relieve gout.

About Bananas & Gout

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Gout is caused when excess uric acid in the body form crystals in or around the connective tissues between two bones. Uric acid is an organic compound of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen that is present in the blood. It is the waste product produced when amino acids called purines are broken down by the body. Purines are white solids in body cells that form salts and are chemically reactive to acids and bases. These natural substances are the building blocks of genes and are found in almost all foods. When purines are broken down by the body, uric acid is released. One cause of excess uric acid in the body is the intake of foods high in purines.


Attacks of gout tend to happen in the early morning hours while you are sleeping. The pain is so severe that it wakes you from even the deepest sleep. Acute attacks last one or two weeks. During this time, you may develop a fever or reduced appetite. During an attack, sharp paid is accompanied by redness, swelling and inflammation of the affected area.


The four types of gout represent a series of stages from asymptomatic gout to chronic tophaceous gout during which the symptoms become progressively worse. They are asymptomatic gout, acute gouty arthritis, interval gout and chronic tophaceous gout. Asympotomatic gout occurs when there is a high level of uric acid in the blood but no other symptoms. When pain and inflammation are experienced for 3 to 10 days, this is called acute gout. Intercritical gout is the time between attacks of gout when symptoms have subsided. Chronic gout occurs after many years and can cause permanent damage to joints or kidneys.


When the excess uric acid in or around a joint is removed, the symptoms of gout are alleviated. Although medications are available to treat this condition, changes in diet are stressed since diet is a major influence.
For example, the inclusion of bananas in your diet is beneficial since bananas have a high potassium content.
Potassium aids in turning uric acid crystals into liquid form. As a liquid, uric acid can be removed from the joint and eliminated from the body by the kidneys during urination. Bananas also contain a significant amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C can reduce levels of uric when taken in large quantities. It also repairs connective tissue in your joints damaged by uric acid crystals.


A banana-only diet, consisting of eight or nine bananas per day for three or four days, may alleviate the swelling and inflammation of joints caused by gout or other forms of arthritis more rapidly. However, bananas cannot beat gout alone. People with gout are advised to eat a diet that is high in complex carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, and low in protein and fat. The amount of foods rich in purines such as alcohol, spinach, peas and cauliflower should be reduced but not eliminated. An optimal level should be maintained as needed by the body.