Gout Diet: Low Purine Foods to Eat and Avoid

What is Gout?

Gout is a condition that occurs when uric acid crystals build up and deposit in the body, leading to a form of painful arthritis. Often times these crystals deposit in the smaller joints but can impact that larger joints as well. Gout is characterized by sudden, severe, painful, and often red, inflamed joints. Most people report waking up to their sheet being painful to the touch on their big toe. Some forms of kidney stones are also caused by uric acid build-up and in those individuals, this diet may be helpful as well. For more information on kidney stones and kidney stone treatments, see my article, Kidney Stones - Passing a Kidney Stone and Kidney Stone Treatment.

What are Purines?

Purines are a type of compound synthesized by the body (endogenous) as well as found in a variety of foods and beverages (exogenous). Purines are utilized in our bodies and help comprise our DNA, RNA, and other important biomolecules. 

Normally, exogenous purines, or those eaten, are metabolized by the body. The liver breaks down purines into uric acid which can then be carried through the blood stream, and ultimately filtered through the kidneys and excreted in urine. However, if too much uric acid builds up, that can lead to gout and certain forms of kidney stones

Foods High in Purines: Foods to Avoid

Foods high in purines include but are not limited to alcohol, processed meats, red meats, organ meats, and fish. Here are some examples of foods to limit or avoid.

 

Red Meat

Pork, beef, lamb

Organ Meat

Tongue, liver, tripe, brain, kidney

Wild Game

Venison, veal, elk, duck 

Processed Meat

Jerky, hot dogs, sausage, cured bacon, ham, salami, bologna, canned meat

Seafood

Trout, herring, tuna, sardines, anchovies, scallops, mussels, haddock, shellfish

Refined Carbohydrates

White bread, baked goods, pasta, crackers, cookies 

Added Sugar

High fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, fructose, honey

Sugar Sweetened Drinks/Beverages 

Fruit juice, sport drinks, soda

Alcohol

Beer, liquor, wine

It is important to note that some vegetables are higher in purines but do not seem to contribute to elevated uric acid levels as much as animal based products. A few examples include spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, and cauliflower.

Low Purine Foods To Eat

One of the benefits to a low purine diet is consuming more healthy fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes. Here are some examples of foods to enjoy while on a low purine diet.

Vegetables

Onions, garlic, kale, broccoli, carrots

Fruits

Apples, pears, melons, berries, and bananas 

Seeds

Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds

Nuts

Cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts

Legumes

Lentils, chickpeas, beans

Whole Grains

Oats, quinoa, couscous, buckwheat, barley

Beverages

water, coffee, unsweetened teas

Herbs and Spices

Turmeric, thyme, oregano, ginger, black pepper

This is far from a complete list of all the wonderful low purine fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes you can consume. Try to keep things simple and enjoy all the refreshing healthy options available, while limiting items high in purines. 

 

Hydration is Important

Another important factor is to stay hydrated! Water consumption helps the body to flush uric acid from the system and prevent it from building up. For more information on how much water you should be drinking a day, read my article How Much Water Should You Drink in a Day?

Why Eat a Low Purine Diet?

Unfortunately, painful gout and certain kinds of kidney stones plague millions of people around the world. Those suffering from uric acid build up in their bodies can benefit from eating a low purine diet. While purines are naturally synthesized in the body and a crucial building block, minimizing the exogenous (foods and drinks consumed) purines can help decrease a person's risk of a gout flare-up. 

Low purine diets are recommended to reduce gout attacks and symptoms. However, it is important to note that other medications and treatments may be needed. Additionally, not all kidney stones are caused by uric acid crystals, and other treatment methods, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications may be necessary. With that said, don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor if you suffer from gout or kidney stones so that you can get the right treatment plan and pain relief for you and your body. Gout and kidney stones can be excruciatingly painful and suffering repeated or long attacks can be avoided.

For more information on goutgout symptoms, and gout treatments, read Gout: Gout Symptoms, Foods that Cause Gout, Gout Treatments.

 

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1 comment

  • Thank you for the knowledge n wisdom that you’re spreading; may God be with you.

    Hugh Johnson

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