A low-purine diet is exactly as it sounds: an eating regimen which limits foods with high levels of purine.
Purine is an organic compound found in many foods, and it’s also produced by the body. When purine is taken in through food, it’s broken down into uric acid, which then typically gets filtered through the kidneys and is eliminated via urine.
Some people aren’t able to properly filter out the uric acid, so it remains and causes a build-up in the joints, which can then develop into an arthritis known as gout. Eating the top ten foods that lower uric acid is a good way to help prevent this from happening.
Who Should Follow a Low-Purine Diet?
A low-purine diet might be recommended by a doctor gout is present or if there is a higher than normal level of uric acid in urine. Gout can cause pain, redness, and inflammation in the joints, and while a gout diet can help alleviate these symptoms, it doesn’t eliminate them entirely. Speak with a doctor about a low-purine diet and the benefits it might have. You will still need to take any prescribed medications for gout if you are currently on them; diet alone is not enough.
Low-Purine Diet Foods to Include
A low-purine diet doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy delicious foods; it simply means that some foods will have to be limited and perhaps a handful of others will have to be avoided. With so many food options available today, it won’t even feel like a diet, plus eating the three foods that fight gout will help with uric acid. It’s also important to drink up to 12 glasses of fluids every day to help prevent kidney stones from forming. Here is a list of foods that can be enjoyed on a gout diet.
- Skim milk
- Low-fat yogurt
- All fruit and fruit juices
- All breads, pastas, rice, potatoes
- All vegetables, with only a few restrictions (see “Foods to Avoid,” below)
- Beef, lamb, veal, poultry
- Peanut butter
- Low-fat cheese
- Carbonated drinks
- Coffee, tea
- Salt, herbs, spices
- Condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish
- Low-fat frozen yogurt
- Vanilla wafers, angel food cake
Five foods that are good for gout and that should be consumed regularly are vegetables, coffee (yes, for real!), cherries, low-fat dairy products, and water. Water in particular, has been shown by research to contribute to fewer gout flare-ups.
Low-Purine Diet Foods to Avoid
Avoiding alcohol is a big change that many will have trouble adjusting too, but talk to your doctor and see what low levels of alcohol can be consumed without causing too much uric acid production. Below is a list of foods to avoid with gout and are on a low-purine diet. High-fat foods need to be avoided, or at the very least, limited.
- Alcohol, all types
- High-fat breads, biscuits, muffins
- Whole milk products, sour cream
- Fried foods
- Cream sauces
- Any salted fish like sardines and anchovies
- Organ meats like liver, kidneys
- Baker’s and brewer’s yeast
- High-fat desserts like ice cream, cake, pie, squares
- Meat-based soup stocks
- Bacon, veal, venison
Tips for Following a Low-Purine Diet
Following a low-purine diet menu for gout might seem tricky at first, but as with any diet it simply requires changing habits and how food is looked at. Food is primarily for fuel and to give the body the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Once food is looked at through this lens and not the lens of pleasure, any diet, including the gout diet, will be easier to tackle and achieve success with. To assist in your success, below are a few tips for following the low-purine diet:
- Decide if a low-purine diet is for you. Discuss it with your doctor and determine if it’s the right step to take in managing your gout and kidney stones.
- Understand what purine and uric acid are and how they contribute to gout flare-ups.
- If you need to have something alcoholic, choose wine over beer because beer has a lot of yeast in it, which can lead to greater production of uric acid.
- Avoid cauliflower, spinach and mushrooms because they are high in purine.
- Drink a lot of water to help flush the uric acid out of your system.
- Try the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is naturally low in purine, and according to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, it can help lower uric acid levels.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Kontogianni, M.D., et al, “Adherence to the Mediterranean diet and Serum Uric Acid: the ATTICA Study,” Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, 2012; doi:10.3109/03009742.2012.679964.
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