Gout, a painful form of arthritis that commonly afflicts the foot, affects more than 3 million Americans each year, but new research suggests the uncomfortable condition could be avoided with a healthier diet. This finding could help those at higher risk for gout perhaps avoid the condition altogether, while offering other health benefits as well.

The study found that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, and low in salt, sugary drinks and red and processed meat, also known as the DASH diet, is associated with a lower risk of grout. On the other hand, the same research found that a typical “Western” diet is associated with higher risk of gout. In addition, these findings also suggest that this dietary plan may help to control gout flare ups for those who already have the condition, although more research is needed to confirm this.

Read: U.S. News & World Report Declares The DASH Diet The Best Overall Diet For The 6th Straight Year

For the study, researchers from the US and Canada analyzed data on over 44,000 men aged 40 to 75, with no history of gout, taking detailed notes on their diets from 1986 to 2012. The diets were scored as being close to a DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or being close to the Western diet. For the sake of the study, diets that more closely resembled the DASH diet had more fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, such as peas, beans and lentils, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, and low intake of salt, sweetened beverages, and red and processed meats, whereas diets that more closely resembled the Western diet had higher intakes of of red and processed meats, French fries, refined grains, sweets and desserts.

Results showed that individuals who more closely followed a DASH diet had lower risk of developing gout, regardless of age, body mass index, blood pressure and alcohol and coffee intake.

Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden and severe attacks of pain and tenderness in the joints, often originating in the big toe, The Mayo Clinic reported.The condition arises when urate crystals accumulate in the joints, causing inflammation and pain. These crystals can accumulate when the body breaks down certain foods and beverages, such as steak or alcohol. Although the uric acid normally dissolves in the body, when you consume too much the body cannot not keep up.

The Mayo Clinic says the DASH diet was originally designed to treat and prevent high blood pressure, but now it’s health benefits have been noted to reach much further, such as weight loss and now gout In addition, because many individuals with chronic gout also experience high blood pressure, the team said that adhering to this dietary plan would help to “kill two birds with one stone,” according to a press release.

Source: Rai SK, Fung TT, Lu N, Keller SF, Curhan GC, Choi HK. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, Western diet, and risk of gout in men: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2017

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