Low Purine Diet : Foods To Eat Vs Avoid
Painful conditions like gout and kidney stones affect millions of people around the world. Fortunately, both can be well-controlled simply by making a few modifications to your daily routine and following a low-purine diet.
Not only can limiting your intake of purines aid in the prevention of these serious conditions, but it can also boost your intake of important nutrients by prioritizing healthy whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Plus, its easy to follow and effective, making it simple to manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
Heres what you need to know about a low-purine diet, including how to follow it and how it can benefit your health.
Specific Food And Supplement Recommendations
The gout diet consists of low-purine food and specific food and supplements recommendations to help lower uric acid and the risk of attacks. Low-purine foods have less than one hundred milligrams of purine per three and a half ounces. Low-purine foods generally considered safe for individuals with gout include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, and low-fat and non-dairy fat products. The recommendation for meats is about four to six ounces of fish, chicken, or lean red meat daily. Low-fat or nonfat dairy items like eggs or tofu should also be consumed in moderation. All kinds of fruits are fine to eat, and cherries are especially beneficial because of their ability to reduce the risk of gout attacks. All types of vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products are considered safe to eat. Eggs are also included in the diet.
Other recommendations include plant-based oils like canola, olive, and coconut. In addition, all herbs and spices are fine for consumption. Staying hydrated is an integral part of the gout diet, and individuals should drink eight to sixteen cups of fluids daily. At least half of their fluid intake should be water, though beverages like coffee and tea are fine. According to some research studies, moderate consumption of regular caffeinated coffee may be able to reduce the risk of gout. Supplement recommendation for individuals with gout includes vitamin C, which can help to lower uric acid.
Plenty Of Starchy Carbohydrates
These may include rice, potatoes, pasta, bread, couscous, quinoa, barley or oats, and should be included at each meal time. These foods contain only small amounts of purines, so these along with fruit and vegetables should make up the basis of your meals. Wholegrain varieties are better choices as they contain more fibre and nutrients.
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What Is Uric Acid
Uric acid is a waste byproduct of purine breakdown in the body. Purines are naturally produced in the body, as well as found in some foods. As purines are broken down, uric acid is created. Normally uric acid is either reabsorbed in the body or excreted via the urine and feces.
When there are more purines in the body than it can process, uric acid builds up in the bloodstream. This is called hyperuricemia. Hyperuricemia can cause gout and/or kidney stones in some people, while others have no signs or symptoms at all.
Treatment for gout often includes medications, diet modification, and lifestyle changes, such as managing weight and quitting smoking. The foods you eat can have a direct impact on gout flares.
During a gout attack, modifying your diet may help decrease the length of the flare. Continuing to follow a gout-friendly diet, specifically a low-purine diet, may help prevent the risk of future gout attacks up to five fold.
Lifestyle Changes To Reduce The Risk Of Gout Attacks
Lifestyle measures, such as dietary changes, can help lower levels of uric acid, the chemical that deposits in joints and causes gout. However, for most people, changes in diet alone are not enough to prevent gout. To reduce uric acid levels enough to stop attacks, medication is usually needed. Still making changes in what you eat can lead to fewer gouty flares.
In the past, doctors often handed their patients a list of foods high in purines and instructed them not to eat those foods. By itself, that hasn’t been shown to be particularly helpful.
More recently, experts have begun thinking about diet differently. Instead of trying to figure out which individual foods you should avoid, the focus is on following a healthy diet and trying to lose weight if you’re overweight or obese. Just losing weight can lower uric acid levels. Drinking plenty of fluids is also helpful. But limit sweetened drinks and alcohol, which can increase uric acid levels.
In general, a healthy diet emphasizes plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Whole grains are preferred over processed grains. Intake of fat, especially saturated fat , should be reduced. Lean sources of protein, including chicken, turkey, fish, and tofu, are better choices than beef or pork.
To learn more about the causes of gout and ways to prevent it, read , and online guide from Harvard Medical School.
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What Does Real Food Look Like
There are countless books and websites out there about what to eat and what not to eat in general. Were not going to go down that rabbit hole on this one. Think: Caveman
What did cavemen do? Did they grow fields full of corn and wheat to bake crackers and chips? No. Did they have a herd of cows and goats to milk? No. They wouldnt wait that long they would have clubbed them and started chewing.
Cavemen didnt need any kind of gout diet recipes. They ate a pretty clean diet mostly plants, mostly raw, and some meat . . . raw.
Understand this with my gout diet recipes, I dont want you to eat everything completely raw, BUTfood substances go through major changes with heat and lose a lot of nutritive value due to cookingjust an FYI.
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What Is The Recommended Diet For Gout Sufferers
There are no foods that can completely prevent the symptoms of gout, but a diet low in purines may help to reduce the frequency of attacks. Following a nutritionally balanced, healthy diet that is low in saturated and trans fats and rich in unprocessed foods can help to reduce the risk of gout attacks. Care needs to be taken with certain vegetables such as asparagus, beans, cauliflower, lentils, mushrooms and spinach as these contain medium levels of purines.
While these dont need to be avoided completely, portion size is important a moderate intake should not increase the risks of gout. All other vegetables should be eaten freely. There is also evidence to suggest that a high consumption of low-fat dairy products , limiting sugary drinks and having a daily vitamin C supplement of 500mg may reduce the risk of gout. Speak to your GP before starting new supplements or altering your diet to manage gout.
It is important to note that it is the quantity of purine-rich food consumed that is more important than the purine content in each food. However, if a patient is keen to measure quantities of food, a maximum total daily purine intake of around 200mg is recommended.
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Foods And Drinks To Avoid When You Have Gout
Alcohol is a trigger for gout attacks. When you drink, your kidneys work to filter out alcohol instead of uric acid, leaving uric acid to build up in your body. Beer is especially bad for gout because it has purines.Sugary drinks , sugary foods, and foods with high fructose corn syrup should be limited because of their connection to gout. There is less evidence about why these foods and drinks increase the risk of gout, but some connection has been found. Foods that are high in purines should be completely avoided since they contribute to creating uric acid in your body. These include:
- Animal organs
- Dried beans and peas
Content courtesy of the National Institutes of Health :
General Principles Of The Diet
The general principles of the gout diet are geared towards healthy eating and following recommendations for a nutritious diet that omits useless or detrimental foods and drinks. The recommendations are particularly beneficial to gout patients because of their dietary requirements and restrictions. Maintaining a healthy weight is very important to decrease the risk of developing gout and managing current instances of it. Losing weight lowers the risk of the condition and lessens stress on the joints. Studies have shown a decrease of gout attacks and lower uric acid levels in patients who reduce their caloric intake and lose weight, even without following a purine-restricted diet.
A healthy diet for gout patients includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which provide complex carbohydrates. Drinking sufficient quantities of water is vital to stay hydrated. Eating lean meats, poultry, and low-fat dairy products provide excellent sources of protein. Cutting back on foods like red meat, high-fat dairy products, and fatty poultry is necessary to decrease the consumption of saturated fats. Eliminating foods and drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup and drinking less of naturally sweet fruit juices are also beneficial.
Get to know the specific recommendations for the gout diet now.
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Choose A Diet You Can Live With
If you are overweight, losing weight can protect you from gout flare-ups. However, losing weight fast can do more harm than good for gout, as rapid weight loss can raise uric acid levels in your bloodstream. Avoid fad diets and “crash” diets. Consider consulting a dietician, who can help you choose a diet plan that works for you.
Goal Of The Gout Diet
The goal of the gout diet is to prevent or minimize the occurrence of gout attacks. One of the main ways this is achieved is the careful monitoring of what patients eat and drink on a daily basis. Gout patients usually have to make some lifestyle changes to gain control over their condition. This typically includes decreasing consumption or eliminating certain foods and drinks from their diet. Eating moderate portions of certain healthy foods is a good start to following the diet and developing good eating habits. The gout diet helps individuals achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Most foods containing moderate to high amounts of purine are not recommended for consumption. Some foods can control levels of uric acid, and these foods are included in the list of recommended foods.
Continue reading to examine the general principles of the gout diet next.
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Ten Tips For Beating Gout
If you have gout, use these nutrition tips to lower your risk:
See your GP to check or monitor gout risk factors
Drink up to four cups of regular or decaffeinated coffee a day
Have two to three serves of reduced-fat or skim dairy foods daily
Eat cherries regularly . Add to breakfast cereal and snacks, or mix with yoghurt
Avoid fasting and feasting. Both increase purine turnover and blood uric acid
Sugary Foods And Beverages
High blood sugar levels can increase the risk of a gout attack. When the body breaks down your sugar consumption, it releases purines into your bloodstream.You should limit your intake of sweet fruit juices and eliminate high-fructose corn syrup from your diet. Avoid eating candies, baked goods, and sweetened cereal.
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Healthy Recipes For Gout
Finding healthy gout diet menu recipes is fairly simple because most vegetarian and vegan dishes fit easily into a gout diet plan. Try making a soup by pureeing cooked carrots and sweet potatoes, which are both low-purine vegetables, and adding in some curry and ginger to taste. If youre craving meat and want to minimize its effects, opt for chicken seasoned with lemon, thyme, and sage roasted in a pan with chopped potatoes, turnips, and carrots. Other dishes to try include:
- Make a refreshing cucumber salad by combining plain low-fat yogurt with a peeled, quartered, and sliced cucumber, chopped fresh mint, crushed garlic, and a touch of salt.
- Toss cooked noodles with grated Parmesan cheese, garlic, chopped coriander, a touch of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Quickly cook chunks of onion and bell pepper in some olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add red wine, golden raisins, a touch of brown sugar, salt and pepper, and a dash of red wine vinegar. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes for a satisfying and healthy vegetable ragout.
What Can You Drink If You Have Gout
Foods arenât the only thing that can affect uric acid. What you drink matters, too.
Itâs a good idea to drink lots of fluids — 8 to 16 cups a day. At least half of what you drink should be water. Vitamin C also can help lower uric acid, but studies also show that the high fructose in OJ may boost uric acid levels, so drink it in moderation. Caffeinated coffee can cut uric acid, too, as long as you donât overdo it.
Stay away from sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice. You also may need to limit or avoid alcohol as well. Talk with your doctor to find out whatâs right for you.
While a healthy diet can help control how much uric acid is in your system, you may still need medicine to prevent future attacks. Talk with your doctor about all your treatment options.
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How To Eat When You Have Gout And Diabetes
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It’s possible to suffer from both gout and diabetes at the same time. People with both gout and diabetes are advised to avoid foods that may affect the levels of uric acid and insulin in the body. Therefore, recommended diets for this group focus on lowering both uric acid and blood sugar levels.
What Foods To Avoid
Many of the foods you want to avoid are meats and seafood. Meats such as chicken, pork, beef, or lamb are usually okay in moderation however, if you find they cause symptoms you will want to avoid them altogether. Salmon, as part of a gout diet, is also usually tolerated well in moderation.
- Yeast:beer, nutritional yeast, large amounts of bread, others
- Game meats: venison, veal, bison, others
- Organ meats: liver, tongue, tripe, others
- Fish: including sardines and anchovies
- Other seafood: shellfish, roe, others
- Sugary drinks: sodas, fruit juice, others
- Sugar substances: honey, nectar, high-fructose corn syrup, others
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Foods To Avoid On The Gout Diet
So after youâve taken out your favorite steak and lobster dinner off the menu, whatâs left for you to eat? Many people have difficulty committing to a âGout Preventionâ diet because letâs face it, itâs hard to let go of your habits. Itâs especially harder when your favorite items are on the âdo not eatâ list. However, it doesnât mean that eating from here on should be less enjoyable of delicious. In fact, many of the foods that are allowed on a âGout Preventionâ plan are tasty and easy to enjoy. There are many sources of proteins, fats and carbohydrates that you can use to prepare your meals.
The table below contains some of the foods that you can eat for Gout prevention. If you need a more comprehensive list, our Gout Diet Book contains a longer and more comprehensive list, complete with recipes and meal plans for your convenience.
Foods To Avoid
What Can You Not Eat With Gout
Foods rich in purines must be avoided if you have gout. Purines are a type of chemical that produce uric acid in the body. They are naturally found in the body and can also be found in certain foods. The main modification in the diet traditionally involves eating a low-purine diet. Although avoiding purines completely is not possible, you should strive to limit them.
Both moderate and high-purine foods and drinks must be avoided if you have gout. These include
- Alcohol is a major trigger for gout attacks. This is because when you drink alcohol your kidneys filter it out instead of uric acid. This leads to the build-up of uric acid in the body. All alcoholic beverages are bad for gout. Beer is especially bad for gout since it is rich in purines.
- Certain fish, seafood and shellfish, including anchovies, trout, sardines, herring, codfish, mussels, codfish, scallops and haddock
- Organ meats such as liver, kidney, sweetbreads and brain. People with gout, however, can have a moderate intake of lean meats such as chicken and turkey.
- Red meat including bacon, turkey, veal and venison
- Dried beans and peas
- Food products containing a high amount of fructose such as soda and some juices, cereal, ice cream, candy and junk food
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Foods You Can Eat In Moderation
Aside from organ meats, game meats and certain fish, most meats can be consumed in moderation. You should limit yourself to 46 ounces of these a few times per week .
They contain a moderate amount of purines, which is considered to be 100200 mg per 100 grams. Thus, eating too much of them may trigger a gout attack.
- Meats: These include chicken, beef, pork and lamb.
- Other fish: Fresh or canned salmon generally contains lower levels of purines than most other fish.
Summary: Foods you should eat with gout include all fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, eggs and most beverages. Limit your consumption of non-organ meats and fish like salmon to servings of 46 ounces a few times weekly.