Arthritis: eat oily fish in moderation if you have gout symptoms


Arthritis is a general term that refers to more than 100 types of joint pain or disease. Different types of arthritis respond to different triggers, and determining the type of arthritis you have can help you manage it. For example, gout – a painful form of arthritis that occurs when high levels of uric acid in the blood cause crystals to form and build up in and around a joint – has certain dietary triggers.

According to the Versus Arthritis Health Authority, seafood, especially oily fish and shellfish, is high in purines and should therefore be consumed in moderation.

This is ironic since oily fish is high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and potentially lower the risk of arthritis.

However, the recommendation is specific to gout and does not necessarily apply to other inflammatory forms of arthritis.

Other foods high in purine include:

  • Red meat, game and offal – such as game, kidneys, rabbits and liver
  • Foods rich in yeast extracts – like Marmite, Bovril, and Vegemite
  • Processed foods and beverages.

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As Versus Arthritis points out, protein is an important part of your diet, but you can get it from sources other than just meat and fish.

“You could try replacing a portion of meat with other protein-rich foods such as soybeans, eggs, legumes or dairy products,” advises the health department.

How to Relieve Gout Symptoms

Specific dietary choices can help lower the level of uric acid in the blood, thereby relieving symptoms of gout.

It is important to note that a gout diet is not a cure.

When to see your GP

According to the NHS, you should see a family doctor for treatment to help during one seizure and to stop other seizures.

See a family doctor if you:

  • Sudden severe pain in one joint – usually the big toe, but it can be other joints on the feet, hands, wrists, elbows, or knees
  • Hot, swollen, red skin over the affected joint.

Ask for an urgent general practitioner appointment or call 111 if:

  • The pain gets worse
  • You also have a very high temperature (you feel hot and shivering)
  • They also feel sick or cannot eat.

“These symptoms could mean that you have an infection in your joint and you need urgent medical attention,” warns the NHS.


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