Seeds contain all the starting materials necessary to develop into complex plants. Because of this, they are extremely nutritious.
Seeds are great sources of fiber. They also contain healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
When consumed as part of a healthy diet, seeds can help reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure.
This article will describe the nutritional content and health benefits of six of the healthiest seeds you can eat.

1. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are a great source of fiber and omega-3 fats, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
However, the omega-3 fats are contained within the fibrous outer shell of the seed, which humans can't digest easily.

Therefore, if you want to increase your omega-3 levels, it’s best to eat flaxseeds that have been ground (12).
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of flaxseeds contains a wide mix of nutrients (3):
  • Calories: 152
  • Fiber: 7.8 grams
  • Protein: 5.2 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.1 grams
  • Omega-3 fats: 6.5 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 1.7 grams
  • Manganese: 35% of the RDI
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 31% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 28% of the RDI
Flaxseeds also contain a number of different polyphenols, especially lignans, which act as important antioxidants in the body (4).
Lignans, as well as the fiber and omega-3 fats in flaxseeds, can all help reduce cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease (5, 6, 7).
One large study combined the results of 28 others, finding that consuming flaxseeds reduced levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol by an average of 10 mmol/l (8).
Flaxseeds may also help reduce blood pressure. An analysis of 11 studies found that flaxseeds could reduce blood pressure especially when eaten whole every day for more than 12 weeks (9).
A couple of studies have shown that eating flaxseeds may reduce markers of tumor growth in women with breast cancer, and may also reduce cancer risk (101112).
This may be due to the lignans in flaxseeds. Lignans are phytoestrogens and are similar to the female sex hormone estrogen.
What’s more, similar benefits have been shown regarding prostate cancer in men (13).
In addition to reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer, flaxseeds may also help reduce blood sugar, which may help lower the risk of diabetes (14).
SUMMARY:Flaxseeds are an excellent source of fiber, omega-3 fats, lignans and other nutrients. A lot of evidence has shown they may reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and even the risk of cancer.

2. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are very similar to flaxseeds because they are also good sources of fiber and omega-3 fats, along with a number of other nutrients.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of chia seeds contains (15):
  • Calories: 137
  • Fiber: 10.6 grams
  • Protein: 4.4 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.6 grams
  • Omega-3 fats: 4.9 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 1.6 grams
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 15% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDI
Like flaxseeds, chia seeds also contain a number of important antioxidant polyphenols.
Interestingly, a number of studies have shown that eating chia seeds can increase ALA in the blood. ALA is an important omega-3 fatty acid that can help reduce inflammation (1617).
Your body can convert ALA into other omega-3 fats, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are the omega-3 fats found in oily fish. However, this conversion process in the body is usually quite inefficient.
One study has shown that chia seeds may be able to increase levels of EPA in the blood (18).
Chia seeds may also help reduce blood sugar. A couple of studies have shown that whole and ground chia seeds are equally effective for reducing blood sugar immediately after a meal (1920).
Another study found that, as well as reducing blood sugar, chia seeds may reduce appetite (14).
Chia seeds may also reduce risk factors of heart disease (21).
A study of 20 people with type 2 diabetes found that eating 37 grams of chia seeds per day for 12 weeks reduced blood pressure and levels of several inflammatory chemicals, including C-reactive protein (CRP) (22).
SUMMARY:Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fats and are effective at lowering blood sugar and reducing risk factors for heart disease.

3. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of vegetarian protein. In fact, they contain more than 30% protein, as well as many other essential nutrients.
Hemp seeds are one of the few plants that are complete protein sources, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids that your body can't make.
Studies have also shown that the protein quality of hemp seeds is better than most other plant protein sources (23).
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of hemp seeds contains (24):
  • Calories: 155
  • Fiber: 1.1 grams
  • Protein: 8.8 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.6 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 10.7 grams
  • Magnesium: 45% of the RDI
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 31% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 21% of the RDI
The proportion of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in hemp seed oil is roughly 3:1, which is considered a good ratio. Hemp seeds also contain gamma-linolenic acid, an important anti-inflammatory fatty acid (25).
For this reason, many people take hemp seed oil supplements.
Hemp seed oil may have a beneficial effect on heart health by increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood (262728).
The anti-inflammatory action of the omega-3 fatty acids may also help improve symptoms of eczema.
One study found that people with eczema experienced less skin dryness and itchiness after taking hemp seed oil supplements for 20 weeks. They also used skin medication less, on average (29).
SUMMARY:Hemp seeds are a great source of protein and contain all the essential amino acids. Hemp seed oil may help reduce symptoms of eczema and other chronic inflammatory conditions.

4. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are commonly consumed in Asia, and also in Western countries as part of a paste called tahini.
Similar to other seeds, they contain a wide nutrient profile. One ounce (28 grams) of sesame seeds contains (30):
  • Calories: 160
  • Fiber: 3.3 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.3 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 6 grams
  • Copper: 57% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 34% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 25% of the RDI
Like flaxseeds, sesame seeds contain a lot of lignans, particularly one called sesamin. In fact, sesame seeds are the best known dietary sources of lignans.
A couple of interesting studies have shown that sesamin from sesame seeds may get converted by your gut bacteria into another type of lignan called enterolactone (3132).
Enterolactone can act like the sex hormone estrogen, and lower-than-normal levels of this lignan in the body have been associated with heart disease and breast cancer (33).
Another study found that postmenopausal women who ate 50 grams of sesame seed powder daily for five weeks had significantly lower blood cholesterol and improved sex hormone status (34).
Sesame seeds may also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can worsen symptoms of many disorders, including arthritis.
One study showed that people with knee osteoarthritis had significantly fewer inflammatory chemicals in their blood after eating about 40 grams of sesame seed powder every day for two months (35).
Another recent study found that after eating about 40 grams of sesame seed powder per day for 28 days, semi-professional athletes had significantly reduced muscle damage and oxidative stress, as well as increased aerobic capacity (36).
SUMMARY:Sesame seeds are a great source of lignans, which may help improve sex hormone status for estrogen. Sesame seeds may also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

5. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are one of the most commonly consumed types of seeds, and are good sources of phosphorus, monounsaturated fats and omega-6 fats.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of pumpkin seeds contains (37):
  • Calories: 151
  • Fiber: 1.7 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 6 grams
  • Manganese: 42% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 37% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI
Pumpkin seeds are also good sources of phytosterols, which are plant compounds that may help lower blood cholesterol (38).
These seeds have been reported to have a number of health benefits, likely due to their wide range of nutrients.
One observational study of more than 8,000 people found that those who had a higher intake of pumpkin and sunflower seeds had a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer (39).
Another study in children found that pumpkin seeds may help lower the risk of bladder stones by reducing the amount of calcium in urine (40).
Bladder stones are similar to kidney stones. They’re formed when certain minerals crystalize inside the bladder, which leads to abdominal discomfort.
A couple of studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil can improve symptoms of prostate and urinary disorders (4142).
These studies also showed that pumpkin seed oil may reduce symptoms of overactive bladder and improve quality of life for men with enlarged prostates.
A study of postmenopausal women also found that pumpkin seed oil may help reduce blood pressure, increase “good” HDL cholesterol and improve menopause symptoms (43).
SUMMARY:Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil are good sources of monounsaturated and omega-6 fats, and may help improve heart health and symptoms of urinary disorders.

6. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds contain a good amount of protein, monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. One ounce (28 grams) of sunflower seeds contains (44):
  • Calories: 164
  • Fiber: 2.4 grams
  • Protein: 5.8 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.2 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 6.4 grams
  • Vitamin E: 47% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 27% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 23% of the RDI
Sunflower seeds may be associated with reduced inflammation in middle-aged and older people, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
An observational study of more than 6,000 adults found that a high intake of nuts and seeds was associated with reduced inflammation (45).
In particular, consuming sunflower seeds more than five times per week was associated with reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a key chemical involved in inflammation.
Another study examined whether eating nuts and seeds affected blood cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes (46).
The women consumed 30 grams of sunflower seeds or almonds as part of a healthy diet every day for three weeks.
By the end of the study, both the almond and sunflower seed groups had experienced reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The sunflower seed diet reduced triglycerides in the blood more than the almond diet, though.
However, “good” HDL cholesterol was also reduced, suggesting that sunflower seeds may reduce both good and bad types of cholesterol.
SUMMARY:Sunflower seeds contain high levels of both monounsaturated and omega-6 fats, and may help reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels.

The Bottom Line

Seeds are great sources of healthy fats, vegetarian protein, fiber and antioxidant polyphenols.
Furthermore, they can help reduce the risk of certain diseases. In particular, the lignans in certain seeds may help lower cholesterol and the risk of cancer.
Seeds are extremely easy to add to salads, yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies, and can be an easy way to add healthy nutrients to your diet.
An evidence-based article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.

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Vitamin D is commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin.”
That’s because your skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight (1).
Getting enough vitamin D is important for optimal health. It helps maintain strong and healthy bones, aids your immune system and may help protect against many harmful conditions (23).
Despite its importance, roughly 42% of people in the US have a vitamin D deficiency. This number rises to a staggering 82.1% of black people and 69.2% of Hispanic people (4).
There are several other groups of people that have higher vitamin D needs because of their age, where they live and certain medical conditions.
This article will help you discover how much vitamin D you need daily.

What Is Vitamin D and Why Is It Important?

Vitamin D belongs to the family of fat-soluble vitamins, which include vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins are absorbed well with fat and are stored in the liver and fatty tissues.
There are two main forms of vitamin D in the diet:
  • Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol): Found in plant foods like mushrooms.
  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): Found in animal foods like salmon, cod and egg yolks.
However, sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D3. The UV rays from sunlight convert cholesterol in your skin into vitamin D3 (1).
Before your body can use dietary vitamin D, it must be “activated” through a series of steps (5).
First, the liver converts dietary vitamin D into the storage form of vitamin D. This is the form that is measured in blood tests. Later, the storage form is converted by the kidneys to the active form of vitamin D that's used by the body (5).
Interestingly, D3 is twice as effective at raising blood levels of vitamin D as vitamin D2 (6).
The main role of vitamin D in the body is to manage blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. These minerals are important for healthy bones (7).
Research also shows that vitamin D aids your immune system and may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers (8).
A low blood level of vitamin D is linked to a greater risk of fractures and falls, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, several cancers and even death (91011).
SUMMARY:There are two main forms of vitamin D in the diet: D2 and D3. D3 is twice as effective at raising blood levels of vitamin D, which is linked to a variety of health benefits.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need for Optimal Health?

In the US, current guidelines suggest that consuming 400–800 IU (10–20 mcg) of vitamin D should meet the needs of 97–98% of all healthy people (12).
However, many experts believe the guidelines are far too low (13.
Your vitamin D needs depend on a variety of factors. These include your age, skin color, current blood vitamin D levels, location, sun exposure and more.
To reach blood levels linked to better health outcomes, many studies have shown that you need to consume more vitamin D than the guidelines recommend (141516).
For instance, an analysis of five studies examined the link between vitamin D blood levels and colorectal cancer (15).
Scientists found that people with the highest blood levels of vitamin D (over 33 ng/ml or 82.4 nmol/l) had a 50% lower risk of colorectal cancer than people with the lowest levels of vitamin D (less than 12 ng/ml or 30 nmol/l).
Research also shows that consuming 1,000 IU (25 mcg) daily would help 50% of people reach a vitamin D blood level of 33 ng/ml (82.4 nmol/l). Consuming 2,000 IU (50 mcg) daily would help nearly everyone reach a blood level of 33 ng/ml (82.4 nmol/l) (151718).
Another analysis of seventeen studies with over 300,000 people looked at the link between vitamin D intake and heart disease. Scientists found that taking 1,000 IU (25 mcg) of vitamin D daily reduced heart disease risk by 10% (16).
Based on current research, it seems that consuming 1,000–4,000 IU (25–100 mcg) of vitamin D daily should be ideal for most people to reach healthy vitamin D blood levels.
However, don’t consume more than 4,000 IU of vitamin D without your doctor's permission. It exceeds the safe upper limits of intake and is not linked to more health benefits (12).
SUMMARY:Consuming 400–800 IU (10–20 mcg) of vitamin D should meet the needs of 97–98% of healthy people. However, several studies show that taking more than this is linked to greater health benefits.

How Do You Know If You Have a Vitamin D Deficiency?

vitamin D deficiency can only be discovered through blood tests that measure levels of storage vitamin D, known as 25(OH)D.
According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the following values determine your vitamin D status (19):
  • Deficient: Levels less than 12 ng/ml (30 nmol/l).
  • Insufficient: Levels between 12–20 ng/ml (30–50 nmol/l).
  • Sufficient: Levels between 20–50 ng/ml (50–125 nmol/l).
  • High: Levels greater than 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/l).
The IOM also states that a blood value of over 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/l) should meet the vitamin D needs of 97–98% of healthy people (20).
However, several studies have found that a blood level of 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/l) could be even better for preventing fractures, falls and certain cancers (32122).
SUMMARY:Blood tests are the only way to know if you are vitamin D deficient. Healthy people should aim for blood levels over 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/l). Some studies find that a blood level over 30 ng/ml is better for preventing falls, fractures and some cancers.

Sources of Vitamin D

Getting plenty of sunlight is the best way to increase your blood vitamin D levels.
That’s because your body makes dietary vitamin D3 out of the cholesterol in the skin when it is exposed to the sun's UV rays (1).
However, people who don’t live in sunny countries need to consume more vitamin D through foods and supplements.
Generally speaking, very few foods are great sources of vitamin D. However, the following foods are exceptions (2023):
  • Cod liver oil: 1 tablespoon contains 1,360 IU (34 mcg) or 227% of the RDA.
  • Swordfish, cooked: 3 ounces (85 grams) contain 566 IU (14.2 mcg) or 94% of the RDA.
  • Salmon, cooked: 3 ounces contain 447 IU (11.2 mcg) or 74.5% of the RDA.
  • Canned tuna, drained: 3 ounces contain 154 IU (3.9 mcg) or 26% of the RDA.
  • Beef liver, cooked: 3 ounces contain 42 IU (1.1 mcg) or 7% of the RDA.
  • Egg yolks, large: 1 yolk contains 41 IU (1 mcg) or 7% of the RDA.
  • Mushrooms, cooked: 1 cup contains 32.8 IU (0.8 mcg) or 5.5% of the RDA.
If you’re choosing a vitamin D supplement, find one that contains D3 (cholecalciferol). It is better at raising your blood levels of vitamin D (6).
SUMMARY:Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, but many people can’t get enough for various reasons. Foods and supplements that are high in vitamin D can help and include cod liver oil, fatty fish, egg yolks and mushrooms.

Some People Need More Vitamin D

There are certain groups of people who need more dietary vitamin D than others.
These include older people, those with darker skin, people who live far from the equator and those with certain medical conditions.

Older People

There are many reasons why people need to consume more vitamin D with age.
For starters, your skin gets thinner as you grow older. This makes it harder for your skin to make vitamin D3 when it is exposed to sunlight (24).
Older people also often spend more time indoors. This means they get less exposure to sunlight, which is the best way to naturally boost vitamin D levels.
Additionally, your bones become more fragile with age. Maintaining adequate blood levels of vitamin D can help preserve bone mass with age and may protect against fractures (2526).
Older people should aim for a blood level of 30 ng/ml, as research shows it may be better for maintaining optimal bone health. This can be achieved by consuming 1,000–2,000 IU (25–50 mcg) of vitamin D daily (31718).

People With Darker Skin

Research shows that people with darker skin are more prone to vitamin D deficiency (272829).
This is because they have more melanin in their skin — a pigment that helps determine skin color. Melanin helps protect the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays (30).
However, it also reduces the body's ability to make vitamin D3 from the skin, which can make you prone to deficiency (31).
People with darker skin can benefit from consuming 1,000–2,000 IU (25–50 mcg) of vitamin D daily, especially during winter months (32).

Those Who Live Farther Away From the Equator

Countries close to the equator get plenty of sunlight all year round. Conversely, countries farther away from the equator get less sunlight all year round.
This can cause low blood vitamin D levels, especially during winter months when there is even less sunlight.
For instance, a study of Norwegians discovered that they don’t produce much vitamin D3 from their skin during the winter months of October to March (33).
If you live far from the equator, then you need to get more vitamin D from your diet and supplements. Many experts believe that people in these countries should consume at least 1,000 IU (25 mcg) daily (13).

People With Medical Conditions That Reduce Fat Absorption

Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, it relies on the gut's ability to absorb fat from the diet.
Thus, people who have medical conditions that reduce fat absorption are prone to vitamin D deficiencies. These include irritable bowel disease (IBD), Crohn's disease, liver disease and also people who have had bariatric surgery (2034).
People with the above conditions are often advised to take vitamin D supplements in an amount prescribed by their doctors (34).
SUMMARY:Those who need the most vitamin D are older people, people with darker skin, those who live farther from the equator and people who can’t absorb fat properly.

Can You Take Too Much Vitamin D?

While it is possible to take too much vitamin D, toxicity is very rare.
In fact, you would need to take extremely high doses of 50,000 IU (1,250 mcg) or more for a long period of time (35).
It’s also worth noting that it is impossible to overdose on vitamin D from sunlight (36).
Although 4,000 IU (250 mcg) is set as the maximum amount of vitamin D you can take safely, several studies have shown that taking up to 10,000 IU (250 mcg) daily won’t cause side effects (3738).
That said, taking more than 4,000 IU may provide no extra benefit. Your best bet is to take 1,000 (25 mcg) to 4,000 IU (100 mcg) daily.
SUMMARY:Although it is possible to take too much vitamin D, toxicity is rare, even above the safe upper limit of 4,000 IU. That said, consuming more than this amount may provide no extra benefit.

The Bottom Line

Getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and foods is necessary for optimal health.
It helps maintain healthy bones, aids your immune system and may reduce the risk of many harmful diseases. Yet despite its importance, many people don’t get enough vitamin D.
In addition, older people, people with darker skin, those who live farther away from the equator and people who can’t absorb fat properly have higher dietary vitamin D needs.
The current recommendations suggest consuming 400–800 IU (10–20 mcg) of vitamin D per day.
However, people who need more vitamin D can safely consume 1,000–4,000 IU (25–100 mcg) daily. Consuming more than this is not advised, as it is not linked to any extra health benefits.
An evidence-based article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.

Gout is a type of arthritis, an inflammatory condition of the joints. It affects an estimated 8.3 million people in the US alone (1).
People with gout experience sudden and severe attacks of pain, swelling and inflammation of the joints (2).
Fortunately, gout can be controlled with medications, a gout-friendly diet and lifestyle changes.
This article reviews the best diet for gout and what foods to avoid, backed by research.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis that involves sudden pain, swelling and inflammation of the joints.
Nearly half of gout cases affect the big toes, while other cases affect the fingers, wrists, knees and heels (345).
Gout symptoms or "attacks" occur when there is too much uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product made by the body when it digests certain foods.
When uric acid levels are high, crystals of it can accumulate in your joints. This process triggers swelling, inflammation and intense pain (5).
Gout attacks typically occur at night and last 3–10 days (6).
Most people who have the condition experience these symptoms because their bodies can't remove the excess uric acid efficiently. This lets uric acid accumulate, crystallize and settle in the joints.
Others with gout make too much uric acid due to genetics or their diet (78).
SUMMARY:Gout is a type of arthritis that involves sudden pain, swelling and inflammation of the joints. It happens when there is too much uric acid in the blood, causing it to deposit in the joints as crystals.

How Does Food Affect Gout?

If you have gout, certain foods may trigger an attack by raising your uric acid levels.
Trigger foods are commonly high in purines, a substance found naturally in foods. When you digest purines, your body makes uric acid as a waste product (9).
This is not a concern for healthy people, as they efficiently remove excess uric acid from the body.
However, people with gout can't efficiently remove excess uric acid. Thus, a high-purine diet may let uric acid accumulate and cause a gout attack (5).
Fortunately, research shows that restricting high-purine foods and taking the appropriate medication can prevent gout attacks (10).
Foods that commonly trigger gout attacks include organ meatsred meats, seafood, alcoholand beer. They contain a moderate-to-high amount of purines (1112).
However, there is one exception to this rule. Research shows that high-purine vegetables do not trigger gout attacks (13).
And interestingly, fructose and sugar-sweetened beverages can increase the risk of gout and gout attacks, even though they’re not purine-rich (14).
Instead, they may raise uric acid levels by accelerating several cellular processes (1516).
For instance, a study including over 125,000 participants found that people who consumed the most fructose had a 62% higher risk of developing gout (17).
On the other hand, research shows that low-fat dairy productssoy products and vitamin C supplements may help prevent gout attacks by reducing blood uric acid levels (1118).
Interestingly, full-fat and high-fat dairy products don't seem to affect uric acid levels (1319).
SUMMARY:Foods can either raise or lower your uric acid levels, depending on their purine content. However, fructose can raise your uric acid levels even though it is not purine-rich.

What Foods Should You Avoid?

If you’re susceptible to sudden gout attacks, avoid the main culprits — high-purine foods.
These are foods that contain more than 200 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) (20).
You should also avoid high-fructose foods, as well as moderately-high-purine foods, which contain 150–200 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces. These may trigger a gout attack.
Here are a few major high-purine foods, moderately-high-purine foods and high-fructose foods to avoid (61120):
  • All organ meats: These include liver, kidneys, sweetbreads and brain
  • Game meats: Examples include pheasant, veal and venison
  • Fish: Herring, trout, mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies, haddock and more
  • Other seafood: Scallops, crab, shrimp and roe
  • Sugary beverages: Especially fruit juices and sugary sodas
  • Added sugars: Honey, agave nectar and high-fructose corn syrup
  • Yeasts: Nutritional yeast, brewer's yeast and other yeast supplements
Additionally, refined carbs like white bread, cakes and cookies should be avoided. Although they are not high in purines or fructose, they are low in nutrients and may raise your uric acid levels (21).
SUMMARY:If you have gout, you should avoid foods like organ meats, game meats, fish and seafood, sugary beverages, refined carbs, added sugars and yeast.

What Foods Should You Eat?

Although a gout-friendly diet eliminates many foods, there are still plenty of low-purine foods you can enjoy.
Foods are considered low-purine when they have less than 100 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Here are some low-purine foods that are generally safe for people with gout (2022):
  • Fruits: All fruits are generally fine for gout. Cherries may even help prevent attacks by lowering uric acid levels and reducing inflammation (2324).
  • Vegetables: All vegetables are fine, including potatoes, peas, mushrooms, eggplants and dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Legumes: All legumes are fine, including lentils, beans, soybeans and tofu.
  • Nuts: All nuts and seeds.
  • Whole grains: These include oats, brown rice and barley.
  • Dairy products: All dairy is safe, but low-fat dairy appears to be especially beneficial (1118).
  • Eggs
  • Beverages: Coffee, tea and green tea.
  • Herbs and spices: All herbs and spices.
  • Plant-based oils: Including canola, coconut, olive and flax oils.

Foods You Can Eat in Moderation

Aside from organ meats, game meats and certain fish, most meats can be consumed in moderation. You should limit yourself to 4–6 ounces (115–170 grams) of these a few times per week (20).
They contain a moderate amount of purines, which is considered to be 100–200 mg per 100 grams. Thus, eating too much of them may trigger a gout attack.
  • Meats: These include chicken, beef, pork and lamb.
  • Other fish: Fresh or canned salmon generally contains lower levels of purines than most other fish.
SUMMARY:Foods you should eat with gout include all fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, eggs and most beverages. Limit your consumption of non-organ meats and fish like salmon to servings of 4–6 ounces (115–170 grams) a few times weekly.

A Gout-Friendly Menu for One Week

Eating a gout-friendly diet will help you relieve the pain and swelling, while preventing future attacks.
Here is a sample gout-friendly menu for one week.
  • Breakfast: Oats with Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup (about 31 grams) berries.
  • Lunch: Quinoa salad with boiled eggs and fresh veggies.
  • Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with roasted chicken, spinach, bell peppers and low-fat feta cheese.
  • Breakfast: Smoothie with 1/2 cup (74 grams) blueberries, 1/2 cup (15 grams) spinach, 1/4 cup (59 ml) Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup (59 ml) low-fat milk.
  • Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with eggs and salad.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried chicken and vegetables with brown rice.
  • Breakfast: Overnight oats — 1/3 cup (27 grams) rolled oats, 1/4 cup (59 ml) Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup (79 ml) low-fat milk, 1 tbsp (14 grams) chia seeds, 1/4 cup (about 31 grams) berries and 1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) vanilla extract. Let sit overnight.
  • Lunch: Chickpeas and fresh vegetables in a whole wheat wrap.
  • Dinner: Herb-baked salmon with asparagus and cherry tomatoes.
  • Breakfast: Overnight chia seed pudding — 2 tbsp (28 grams) chia seeds, 1 cup (240 ml) Greek yogurt and 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla extract with sliced fruits of your choice. Let sit in a bowl or mason jar overnight.
  • Lunch: Leftover salmon with salad.
  • Dinner: Quinoa, spinach, eggplant and feta salad.
  • Breakfast: French toast with strawberries.
  • Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with boiled eggs and salad.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried tofu and vegetables with brown rice.
  • Breakfast: Mushroom and zucchini frittata.
  • Lunch: Leftover stir-fried tofu and brown rice.
  • Dinner: Homemade chicken burgers with a fresh salad.
  • Breakfast: Two-egg omelet with spinach and mushrooms.
  • Lunch: Chickpeas and fresh vegetables in a whole wheat wrap.
  • Dinner: Scrambled egg tacos — scrambled eggs with spinach and bell peppers on whole wheat tortillas.
SUMMARY:A gout-friendly diet has plenty of options for a healthy and delicious menu. The chapter above provides a sample gout-friendly menu for one week.

Other Lifestyle Changes You Can Make

Aside from your diet, there are several lifestyle changes that can help you lower your risk of gout and gout attacks.

Lose Weight

If you have gout, carrying excess weight can increase your risk of gout attacks.
That's because excess weight can make you more resistant to insulin, leading to insulin resistance. In these cases, the body can't use insulin properly to remove sugar from the blood. Insulin resistance also promotes high uric acid levels (2526).
Research shows that losing weight can help reduce insulin resistance and lower uric acid levels (2728).
That said, avoid crash dieting — that is, trying to lose weight very fast by eating very little. Research shows that rapid weight loss can increase the risk of gout attacks (293031).

Exercise More

Regular exercise is another way to prevent gout attacks.
Not only can exercise help you maintain a healthy weight, but it can also keep uric acid levels low (32).
One study in 228 men found that those who ran more than 5 miles (8 km) daily had a 50% lower risk of gout. This was also partly due to carrying less weight (33).

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated can help reduce the risk of gout attacks.
That's because adequate water intake helps the body remove excess uric acid from the blood, flushing it out in the urine (3435).
If you exercise a lot, then it's even more important to stay hydrated, because you may lose a lot of water through sweat.

Limit Alcohol Intake

Alcohol is a common trigger for gout attacks (3637).
That's because the body may prioritize removing alcohol over removing uric acid, letting uric acid accumulate and form crystals (38).
One study including 724 people found that drinking wine, beer or liquor increased the risk of gout attacks. One to two beverages per day increased the risk by 36%, and two to four beverages per day increased it by 51% (39).

Try a Vitamin C Supplement

Research shows that vitamin C supplements may help prevent gout attacks by lowering uric acid levels (404142).
It seems that vitamin C does this by helping the kidneys remove more uric acid in the urine (4243).
However, one study found that vitamin C supplements had no effect on gout (44).
Research on vitamin C supplements for gout is new, so more studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made.
SUMMARY:Losing weight, exercising, staying hydrated, limiting alcohol and possibly taking vitamin C may also help prevent gout attacks.

The Bottom Line

Gout is a type of arthritis involving sudden pain, swelling and inflammation of the joints.
Fortunately, a gout-friendly diet can help relieve its symptoms.
Foods and drinks that often trigger gout attacks include organ meats, game meats, some types of fish, fruit juice, sugary sodas and alcohol.
On the other hand, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, soy products and low-fat dairy products may help prevent gout attacks by lowering uric acid levels.
A few other lifestyle changes that can help prevent gout attacks include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, staying hydrated, drinking less alcohol and possibly taking vitamin C supplements.
An evidence-based article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.