Uric acid is a naturally occurring waste product resulting from the breakdown of purines, crystalline compounds found in certain foods. Under normal conditions, uric acid dissolves in the blood, passes through the kidneys and is eliminated in the urine. If the diet is high in foods containing purine, or the kidneys are unable to eliminate excessive uric acid, high uric acid levels, known as hyperuricemia or gout, occur.
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To gain control of uric acid levels, avoid eating foods high in purine, the chemical responsible for forming uric acid in the system. Red meat, seafood, organ meats and some beans are all high in purines. Refined carbohydrates and vegetables such as asparagus, peas, mushrooms and cauliflower, should also be avoided.
Limit your soda consumption. In an article on the Arthritis Today website, researchers found men who drank more than six servings of high fructose soft drinks each week, increased the occurrence of gout. Although diet soda is not implicated, fruit juices and other sugary drinks are.
Because alcohol dehydrates the body, it is advisable to limit consumption, particularly when consumed with foods high in purine. Although consumption of wine doesn’t seem to affect uric acid levels, the high yeast content of beer makes it particularly suspect. Beer drinkers are advised to limit intake or eliminate it from the diet altogether.
To reduce uric acid concentration, the University of Maryland Medical Center advises adding cherries, blueberries and strawberries to your diet. Bromelain, found in pineapple, is a digestive enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties that inhibits the proteins responsible for inflammation. Celery, a natural diuretic, helps alkalize your blood and decrease inflammation. Try a thimble full of seeds each day or take it in supplement form.
When combined with a diet high in purines, extra body weight is related to high uric acid levels, but rapid weight loss is also a factor. If you are overweight, it is best to avoid crash dieting. Develop a gradual weight-loss program to prevent an increase in uric acid levels.
Keep your body hydrated. Although the body easily adapts to low water intake, optimum hydration is necessary to eliminate uric acid from your system. Water dilutes uric acid levels in the blood, and stimulates the kidneys to pass on waste products to the bladder. Recommendations vary, but a good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight by two, to determine the number of ounces appropriate for daily intake.
Mind Your pH
According to Medline Plus, high acid levels in the blood, called acidosis, is associated with the body’s uric acid level. A pH level less than 7 is considered to be acidic. To keep your body alkaline, add apples, apple cider vinegar, tart cherry juice, baking soda and lemons to your diet.