Study: Tomatoes may trigger gout

  • 20/08/2015
Beautiful red ripe tomoatoes on vine

Those who've long thought eating tomatoes can spark gout finally have some science to back up their beliefs.

Over 70 percent of Kiwis suffering from gout said their attacks were triggered by food - and of those, 20 percent listed tomatoes as a trigger, according to a study.

That made tomatoes the fourth most commonly mentioned trigger in the survey of 2051 Kiwis, following seafood, alcohol and red meat.

The Otago University researchers found that tomatoes can alter uric acid levels in the blood - the main underlying cause of gout.

But those suffering from the painful form of arthritis don't need to cut out the juicy fruit altogether.

"Avoiding tomatoes may be helpful for people who have experienced a gout attack after eating them, but with proper treatment this doesn't have to be a long-term avoidance," said one of the authors, genetics PhD student Tanya Flynn.

She said more studies were needed to determine whether tomatoes should be added to the list of traditional dietary triggers of gout flare-ups - but the research was the first step in supporting the idea.

Four to five percent of Pakeha men in New Zealand suffer from gout, while 10-15 percent of Maori and Pacific Island men are affected by it.