Are Prawns And Shrimps Safe For Gout Sufferers
As always when considering which foods can form part of a safe gout diet, we first have to look at their purine content:
Purines are a natural compound found in the cells of the human body and in the food we eat. Different foods have varying concentrations of purine.
During the bodys metabolic process, purines in our bodies and in the food we consume breakdown and produce uric acid as a byproduct.
High levels of uric acid in the blood a condition called hyperuricemia is the root cause of gout.
- More purines consumed: more uric acid produced and higher gout risk.
- Less purines consumed: less uric acid produced and lower gout risk.
In other words, gout sufferers need to manage their total purine intake from foods, which usually means completely avoiding high purine content foods, although foods with moderate amounts of purines may be consumed sparingly, whilst there is a load of low-purine food that is perfectly safe to eat.
So lets take a look at the purine content of prawns and shrimps
Aspirin And Diuretics Significantly Increase Gout Risk
Not exactly foods to avoid with gout, but the ingestion of some common medications sharply raise the risk of a gout attack.
Specifically, low doses of aspirin, which one in three middle-aged Americans takes regularly to help prevent heart disease .
The emphasis is on low doses because aspirin has a dual effect on uric acid levels. Very high doses above 3,000 mg promotes excretion of uric acid , whereas low doses prevent excretion .
In a study of 49 elderly patients, just 75 mg of aspirin per day increased blood uric acid levels by 6% within one week. A daily dose of 150 mg kept levels high during the second week, before coming down with 300 mg doses in the third week .
Considering the typical dose for heart disease prevention is 81-325 mg per day, it is no real surprise this dosage is associated with a doubling in gout risk. In fact, even the use of a low-dose aspirin for two consecutive days increases risk of recurrent gout attacks .
Im by no means recommending you cease your medications if you have gout, but its important to understand the pharmaceutical triggers. First speak with your doctor and closely monitor uric acid levels before making any changes.
And if you need a temporary painkiller, choose paracetamol or ibuprofen. No aspirin.
Should I Cut Out Purine
There is very little scientific proof that avoiding the purine-rich foods listed above can successfully reduce gout attacks. You may miss out on important nutrients and vitamins by completely cutting these foods from your diet.
If you notice certain foods trigger your gout attacks, you may benefit from cutting down the amounts of those foods in your diet. However not all purine-rich foods are thought to cause gout. For example, a number of vegetables are also rich in purines but appear less likely to cause gout than diets containing meat and shellfish.
Dairy foods, which can contain purines, actually appear to lower the risk of gout. For most people with gout, a healthy balanced diet is all that is needed, alongside medicines to reduce uric acid levels. Most people taking medicines to reduce uric acid levels find they can still eat purine-rich foods without attacks of gout by being careful with the quantity they eat.
Also Check: Will Gout Go Away Without Medication
What Foods Are Allowed
If you have gout, it’s essential that you drink a lot of water, about 2 to 3 liters a day, so that the uric acid accumulated in the blood can be eliminated through urine producion. In addition, it’s important to include diuretic foods in your daily diet, such as:
- Watercress, beetroot, celery, peppers, pumpkin, onion, cucumber, parsley, garlic
- Apple, orange, watermelon, passion fruit, strawberry, melon
- Skimmed milk and milk products.
In addition, you can also add some anti-inflammatory foods such as olive oil, which can be used in salads, citrus fruits, flaxseed, sesame seeds, and chia seeds, that can be added to fruit juices or yogurts. These types of food can help decrease pain and joint inflammation.
Fruit Fructose And Gout
Fructose is what gives some fruits their natural sweetness. Researchers report a correlation between foods high in fructose and gout symptoms, which can include chronic pain. These fruits include apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes, prunes, and dates. Its okay to eat these fruits if you have gout as long as you do so in moderation. Limit yourself to one to two cups per day. More importantly, avoid soda or soft drinks and juices that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Drink water or real fruit juices instead .
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Alcohol Is The Biggest Risk Factor For Gout
It is well-established that frequent alcohol intake dramatically increases risk of gout .
The Framingham Heart Study of over 4,500 participants provides some perspective.
Researchers found that regular alcohol use was associated with three times greater risk of gout in women compared to those who have less than 2 standard drinks per week. For men, regular drinkers had double the risk of non-drinkers .
Beer seems to be the worst, followed by hard liquors such as spirits. Interestingly, moderate wine consumption is not linked with any risk .
The reason why alcohol increases uric acid levels is still not well-understood. Some forms, particularly beer, can be high in purines but they are certainly not the richest source of purines in our diet.
Additional theories propose that excessive alcohol may also reduce the bodys ability to excrete uric acid. Others state that alcohol especially beer increases the chemical breakdown of purine-containing ATP nucleotides, which is a precursor of uric acid production .
Summary: Regular alcohol intake severely raises uric acid levels in the blood. It doubles, if not triples your risk of gout.
How Much Seafood Can I Eat
- If you are in the midst of an active gout attack, do not eat any fish or shellfish.
- If you are in-between gout attacks and working on gout prevention, you may enjoy seafood with a moderate purine level a few times per week.
- If you have taken the steps to make your body totally gout-proof, you may enjoy seafood with a high purine level a few times per month.
Bottom Line: You should steer clear of all fish and shellfish when recovering from a gout attack, but you can enjoy them occasionally once you learn how to gain control over the root cause of gout!
Recommended Reading: Gout Do’s And Don Ts
Purines The Root Cause Of Hyperuricemia
A purine is an organic compound usually found in the same foods that contain protein. To break down purines the liver must produce uric acid. When there is a large presence of purines, the liver tends to produce more uric acid than the kidneys can filter out of the body. Hyperuricemia is the condition when uric acid levels are above normal levels. The excess uric acid builds up at a joint and causes inflammation and pain, which are symptoms of gouty arthritis or gout.
Foods To Avoid If You Have Gout
Many things can cause a gout flare up including stress and certain medicines. But food is also a known trigger. Being aware of the types of food that can activate gout can help you avoid having a flare up. A diet that includes purine-rich food can raise the uric acid levels in your blood. If you eat one of these types of foods, or many of them at the same time, you may experience a gout flare up. All foods that have protein also have purines.
What foods are high in purine? Here is a list of foods to stay away from if you want to avoid gout:
If youre looking for good food choices that may actually help protect you from gout, pick fruitsespecially citrus fruitscoffee, dairy foods that are low in fat, and food with complex carbohydrates.
If chronic gout has made it impossible for you to work or perform daily activities, call us at 402-933-5405 to discuss whether youre eligible for social security benefits.
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Gout Diet: Dos And Donts
Maintaining a balanced diet, low in uric acid, is critical for lowering the risk of a gout attack. Learn which foods and beverages you should eat and which ones to avoid.
1. What You Eat and Drink Matters
2. DO: Drink Water
3. DONT: Drink Beer
4. DO: Drink Milk
5. DONT: Drink Liquor
6. DO: Drink Coffee
7. DONT: Drink Soda
8. Do: Eat Citrus
9. DONT: Eat Organ Meats
10. DO: Eat Vegetable Proteins
11. DONT: Eat Certain Seafood
12. DO: Eat Cherries
High Purine Foods To Avoid If You Have Gout
Written by Health experts, this article is fact-checked by nutritionists and based on scientific evidence.
Our team is comprised of unbiased licensed nutritionists, dieticians and health professionals. All articles posted are factually true and present both sides of the coin.
This article is backed by scientific facts. Click on the numbers to see the peer-reviewed scientific journals that we used for reference.
If youre looking to reduce your production of uric acid, youll want to specifically limit foods that are high in purines. This is because these foods will cause your body to produce more uric acid, which in turn could lead to another gout attack. Talking with your doctor about the best way to treat and manage your gout is a great idea, and this list will give you some insight on what to keep off your plate.
1. Sunflower SeedsSunflower seeds would make a great snack, if it werent for their high content of purines. Keep in mind that a serving of sunflower seeds is only a third of what is listed below, so youll be getting a third of the purines if you kept your serving size in check, but it is still adding to your cumulative total, which can cause problems if other mid-range purine foods are also eaten. Serving Size , Purines
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Instead Of Beer Try Other Alcohol In Moderation
All alcohol is high in purine, but drinking beer is especially risky if you have gout because it contains both purine and yeast, which can cause uric acid levels in the blood to rise. The dehydrating effect of alcohol also makes gout worse. If you want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, try sipping on a glass of wine or a wine cooler. Drink plenty of water when drinking alcohol to avoid dehydration.
Instead Of Gravies And Sauces Use Vegetable Broth Or Dairy
Since they are made with the fat and drippings from meat and poultry, gravies and sauces made from beef, pork, and poultry should be avoided because they contain high amounts of purine. Try making sauces with vegetable broth or tomato sauce. Dairy-based sauces, such as a low-fat cream sauce, are also safe alternatives.
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Things To Cut Down On
Meat and seafood
High intakes of red meat and seafood are associated with a greater risk of gout because of their high purine content and impact on uric acid production.
Foods that contain yeast, such as Vegemite and Marmite, are also high in purine.
Fructose is a simple sugar found in honey, fruit, some vegetables and sweeteners. Fructose increases purine metabolism, raising blood uric acid levels.
Avoid sweeteners high in fructose such as honey, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, golden syrup and palm sugar. Check your tolerance for fruits, vegetables and other foods high in fructose.
Uric acid levels tend to be higher in people who regularly consume sugar-sweetened drinks. Those drinking one to two sugar-sweetened soft drinks a day are almost twice as likely to have gout as those who drink only one a month.
When it comes to whole fruit, results are not clear. While one study found a higher risk of gout with higher fruit intakes, another found a lower risk. The opposing results are partly confounded by the variation in fructose content of different fruits.
The effect of specific alcoholic beverages on blood uric acid levels varies. Beer is high in purine and increases uric acid more than spirits, while moderate wine intake appears neutral.
Purine Content Of Prawns And Shrimps
There a many purine content tables out there that list the purine content and its uric acid equivalent for different foods and ingredients.
Unfortunately they dont always agree with one another there are some variances in purine numbers given for certain foods and even in how they categorize purine levels as being high, moderate or low.
But, even taking all that into account, prawns and shrimps are generally recognized as being high in purines, i.e., producing more than 200 mg uric acid per 3.5 oz food serving, with some types, such as the Oriental shrimp, producing more than 300 mg uric acid per 100g serving according to one table at least which is considered very high.
So, to be totally safe, we should accept that these shellfish are unsuitable for our gout diet and should be completely avoided.
And this has been confirmed in several studies. Here are the conclusions of just three of such studies that looked into the impact of seafood on gout risk:
Higher levels of meat and seafood consumption are associated with an increased risk of gout, whereas a higher level of consumption of dairy products is associated with a decreased risk. Moderate intake of purine-rich vegetables or protein is not associated with an increased risk of gout. ~Hyon K. Choi et al.
Note: My guide Gout Rescue has detailed information on high, moderate, and low purine foods and ingredients, along with daily meal ideas for gout sufferers.
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Instead Of Seafood And Shellfish Eat Fish In Moderation
Seafood and shellfish are high in purine and should be avoided to reduce the risk of gout flare. Some fish, including salmon, sole, tuna, catfish, red snapper, tilapia, flounder, and whitefish are lower in purine than other types of fish, and can be included in your diet in moderation if you are not consuming other purine-rich foods.
Do Certain Foods Cause Gout
There are many misconceptions about diet and gout. For example it is commonly thought that foods such as citrus foods cause gout. There is no evidence that this is true. However several studies have shown that people with gout are more likely to eat certain foods. These foods tend to contain high levels of purines, a substance that can be made into uric acid in the body. Purine-rich foods include:
- meat particularly red meat and offal, such as liver, kidneys and heart
- seafood particularly shellfish, scallops, mussels, herring, mackerel, sardines and anchovies
- foods containing yeast such as Vegemite and beer.
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Which Foods Are Safe For Gout
Find out which foods to eat and which to avoid if you have gout.
Question: I havegout. Can you tell me which fruits, vegetables, meats or seafoods I should eat or avoid? Is there any type of alcohol wine, beer, spirits that is better or worse for me than others?
Answer: Dietary management of gout is very restrictive and doesnt always work to control gout, so a combination of medication and diet may be the best way to treat your gout. In addition to medications that treat the inflammation and other symptoms that occur during a gout attack, medications exist that can treat the underlying metabolic condition of hyperuricemia too much uric acid in the blood.Hyperuricemia can occur either when the body produces too much uric acid or when the body does not excrete enough uric acid. Drugs exist to treat both causes.
Purine compounds, whether produced in the body or from eating high-purine foods, can raise uric acid levels. Excess uric acid can produce uric acid crystals, which then build up in soft tissues and joints, causing the painful symptoms of gout. Dietary management focuses on reducing the amount of uric acid in the system and attaining and maintaining a healthy bodyweight.
The primary dietary modification traditionally recommended is a low-purine diet. Avoiding purines completely is impossible, but strive to limit them. You can learn by trial and error what your personal limit is and which foods cause you problems.
High-Purine Foods Include:
What Role Do Purines Play
An estimated 70% of uric acid in the blood is made inside the body. This means that even by following a strict low-purine diet, it will only be possible to lower uric acid levels by 30% at the most. But not all foods are the same: Our bodies absorb purines differently from different foods, so it might not make sense to avoid all foods that contain purines especially if you already eat a balanced diet. There are no high-quality studies on the effectiveness of strict low-purine diets. Besides, they can be quite difficult to stick to.
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Where Can I Get Advice About My Diet
An accredited practising dietitian can provide you with personalised advice to give you the confidence to eat in a way that is best for you. APDs are university-qualified experts in nutrition and dietetics and are committed to the Dietitians Association of Australias Code of Professional Conduct, continuing professional development and providing quality services.