Cauliflower and gout: Discover if cauliflower is safe to eat in a gout diet. And cauliflower cheese? This traditional British dish is a popular way to cook with cauliflower. But is it safe?
Can cauliflower be included in a gout diet?
This depends, to a large extent, on how much uric acid cauliflower produces when eaten, since high uric acid in the blood is the root cause of gout.
Uric acid, purines, and gout.
Uric acid is the end product of purine metabolism, which purines exist naturally in our bodies’ cells and in the cells of the food we eat. Normally, excess uric acid is excreted via the kidneys through urine, leaving only healthy levels in the blood — uric acid is a powerful antioxidant!
But sometimes the body produces way too much uric acid or the kidneys just don’t excrete enough, fast enough. Either way, this can lead to too much uric acid in the bloodstream, a condition called ‘hyperuricemia.’
Hyperuricemia can eventually lead to crystals of monosodium urate appearing in the joints and surrounding tissue, which then triggers the body’s inflammatory response, leading to the painful symptoms of a gout attack.
So, in terms of our diet, us gout sufferers have to stick to a low-purine diet, which means:
- Completely avoiding high purine foods, i.e. foods that produce more than 200 mg of uric acid per 3.5 oz (100 g) food serving.
- Eating only limited amounts of moderately-high purine foods, i.e. those that produce between 100-200 mg of uric acid per 3.5 oz (100 g) serving.
- Consuming plenty low-purine foods, i.e. those producing less than 100 mg of uric acid per 3.5 oz (100 g) serving.
Cauliflower is rated as a moderately-high purine food. And it’s low in fructose, which is important, since fructose has been linked to raised uric acid levels too.
So cauliflower may be added to your gout diet, just as long as it’s eaten in moderation: a maximum of 1 x 3.5 oz (100 g) serving in any given day.
Cauliflower is a very healthy addition to a gout diet.
Here are the top 8 health benefits of cauliflower according to Healthline.com:
- An excellent source of vitamins and minerals, containing some of almost every vitamin and mineral that you need.
- Contains a high amount of fiber, which is important for digestive health and may reduce the risk of several chronic diseases.
- Provides a significant amount of antioxidants, which are beneficial for reducing inflammation and protecting against several chronic diseases.
- Low in calories but high in fiber and water — all properties that may assist in weight loss.
- Good source of choline, a nutrient many people are lacking. It is involved in many processes in the body and works to prevent several diseases.
- Rich in sulforaphane, a plant compound with many beneficial effects, such as reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
- Can replace grains and legumes in many recipes, which is a great way to eat more veggies or follow a low-carb diet.
- Many ways to add cauliflower to your diet. It can be consumed cooked or raw and makes a fantastic addition to just about any dish.
So why would you NOT want to have such a nutritious food in your gout diet, albeit in moderation?
Is cauliflower cheese safe to eat with gout?
Cauliflower cheese is a traditional British favorite that can be eaten as a main or a side dish and one of the most popular ways to cook with cauliflower.
The only thing added to the cauliflower is the cheese sauce, so that’s what we need to look at in terms of its purines and fructose content…
Luckily, cheese is low in purines and fructose, so is safe in a gout diet in its own right.
But what about the rest of the ingredients?
Well, apart from cheese (usually mature cheddar), the basic ingredients are plain flour, butter, milk, with salt and black pepper to season. Some recipes also call for things like breadcrumbs, cream cheese, double cream, mustard, and nutmeg. Some go even further and use onions, garlic, and other ingredients to flavor the milk.
I much prefer simple and basic. And there’s nothing to be afraid of in a basic white sauce:
- Milk and cheese are low in purines, so are safe.
- Not only that, at least one study has linked dairy consumption to a reduced risk of gout.
- Flour is also low in purines.
So there’s no need to give up on cauliflower cheese. But remember, although the cheese sauce itself is safe, cauliflower is moderately high in purines, so only eat this dish in moderation.
There are commercial sauces, of course, but they have other ‘stuff’ added, things like; stabilizers, modified flavors, starches, thickeners, dry dairy powders, coloring, and so on.
However, a gout diet is at it’s healthiest and most effective with natural and organic foods and ingredients, so you may wish to just stick to your own homemade cheese sauce.
Here’s a very easy cauliflower cheese recipe: