Is Salami Bad for Gout?

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Some foods increase the risk of developing gout or triggering its symptoms. Research indicates that processed meats like salami may be one of them.

Gout is a common type of arthritis that’s characterized by inflammation of the joints. Symptoms include joint pain, swelling, tophi, heat, and redness.

Gout affects approximately 41 million adults worldwide. It is associated with hyperuricemia — the buildup of uric acid in the blood. This leads to the buildup of monosodium urate crystals (MSU) in some joints and tissues.

This buildup of MSU in the joints is responsible for potentially severe gout symptoms and intermittent flares.

Hyperuricemia is also associated with the increased risk of developing other chronic conditions or comorbidities such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease.

Hyperuricemia has multiple causes, including kidney damage and changes in gut health, per 2021 research.

Some foods and dietary habits — including the consumption of processed meats like salami — play a role in the risk of developing gout or triggering its symptoms.

In this article, we explain the effects that eating salami can have on gout symptoms.

Salami is a type of sausage typically made with pork or a combination of chopped or ground red meats like beef, venison, and lamb. It is often fermented and cured with salt and stored in a transparent hog casing.

During processing, chemical preservatives and additives are included to improve the taste and shelf-life of salami.

Research from 2017 suggests that high consumption of processed red meats, including salami, is associated with an increased risk of developing health conditions.

The researchers noted that consuming 50 grams per day of processed meat — about 2 ounces of dry salami, for example — increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 32%. The risk of several cancers, stroke, and heart disease also increased.

Emerging research from 2020 continues to demonstrate the link between chronic conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and the increasing prevalence of gout.

Red meats are also high in purines — compounds that form uric acid in the body — and are shown to increase the risk of developing hyperuricemia and gout.

This means that when eaten frequently and in large amounts, salami may be bad for gout.

Along with medications, diet and nutrition play an important role in managing gout, 2016 research suggests. Typically, foods high in purines should be limited or avoided altogether.

High intakes of the following foods and beverages may increase the risk of developing gout or trigger its symptoms in people with hyperuricemia:

  • meat, including pork, lamb, beef, and veal
  • seafood, including anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and shrimp
  • fructose-rich beverages, including soft drinks or sodas and some juices
  • alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, and hard spirits

Alcohol may affect gout in one of two ways. Some alcohols, like beer, are high in purines, which increase the risk of hyperuricemia. Hard spirits and wine may temporarily reduce the excretion of uric acid from the body.

A 2016 review of research found that the risk of gout increased after consuming one to two standard drinks.

A standard drink is equivalent to 12 ounces (oz) of 5% beer, 5 oz of 12% wine, and 1.5 oz of 40% spirits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, it’s important to highlight that not all purine-rich foods should be avoided.

Plant-based purine-rich foods — like cruciferous vegetables, sea vegetables, soy, and dairy products — may be safely tolerated.

Always consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian, if you have access to one, to determine the best dietary choices for your individual needs.

Is salami high in purines?

Yes, salami and other processed meats are high in purines.

Purines are natural compounds found in a variety of animal and plant foods. In the human body, purines are converted to uric acid.

Excessive consumption of animal-based purine-rich foods, including salami, can increase the risk of hyperuricemia and gout.

A plant-based diet may help reduce the risk of gout.

What meats cause gout to flare up?

Some animal foods that are high in purines increase the risk of hyperuricemia and gout flares. These include:

  • organ meat
  • other meat, including pork, lamb, beef, and veal
  • processed meat, including sausages
  • seafood, including anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and shrimp

What foods help clear up gout?

There isn’t a cure for gout, but its symptoms can become well-managed and enter remission.

Gout is often managed through urate-lowering medications such as allopurinol and febuxostat.

A healthy diet that minimizes foods high in purines — like red meat, organ meat, seafood, and alcohol —and increases nutrients with anti-inflammatory benefits can support gout management.

Beneficial foods may include:

Overall, a balanced diet based on low purine animal foods, the Mediterranean diet, or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet may help improve gout symptoms.

Gout is linked to high blood levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia) and is associated with comorbidities like heart disease and diabetes.

High intakes of meats like salami are associated with both hyperuricemia and comorbidities. For this reason, they increase the risk of developing gout or triggering its symptoms.

Restricting purine-rich animal foods while enjoying a balanced diet rich in plant foods may help improve gout symptoms.

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