If you have gout or certain kinds of kidney stones, you may have heard that you should avoid or limit a whole list of high-purine foods. A change in diet can be part of your healing from gout or avoiding more kidney stones.
How Purine Affects the Body
According to Harvard Health Publishing, purines are a type of chemical that exists in all kinds of body tissue and certain food products. Like many groups of chemicals, your body continually breaks down purines and gets rid of the waste. One of the byproducts of purines is uric acid.
Bodies typically pass excess uric acid through urination. However, if you have too much uric acid in your system, the excess can sometimes turn into crystals throughout the body. When this happens, you may develop a type of arthritis called gout. As such, part of the treatment for recurrent gout is avoiding a list of high-purine foods.
Uric acid is also linked to one type of kidney stones, as the Cleveland Clinic reports. However, a meta-analysis published in the October 2017 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology reports that the treatment for kidney stone recurrence is more complicated than that.
The evidence is unclear on whether low-purine diets affect whether someone develops kidney stones. People with recurrent kidney stones may try eating certain vegetables.
List of High-Purine Foods
Whether you're limiting purines due to kidney stones, gout or both, it's essential to know what specific foods to consume less. This can be tricky because ingredient labels do not explicitly say whether a food has a lot of purines. If you're new to the low-purine diet, consider making a list of high-purine foods and carry it around to reference as needed.
The list of foods to avoid with gout, courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation, includes:
- Alcohol: all forms
- Seafood: haddock, anchovies, trout, sardines, scallops, herring, codfish and mussels
- Meat: organ meat, bacon, venison, veal and turkey
In some cases, avoiding the list of high-purine foods is not enough. You may need to avoid moderate-purine foods such as beef, pork, chicken, duck and oysters. It's important to note that you likely do not need to avoid these food completely but rather cut back on your intake.
Meat and alcohol are not the only high-purine foods to consider. High-purine vegetables include:
Read more: Vegetables High in Purines
Gout Diet Menu
A quick glance at the list of foods to avoid with gout can have you wondering what you can and should eat while you try to control your symptoms. The good news is that the gout diet menu includes a variety of healthy and delicious foods. For example, nuts make a great low-purine snack.
Read more: Eating Tofu for Gout
The Mayo Clinic recommends focusing on moderate portions of healthy foods. Your gout diet menu should include plenty of complex carbs, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The clinic also recommends cutting back on saturated fat and filling up with lean proteins.
Increasing your intake of vitamin C and drinking a moderate amount of coffee can also reduce your risk of a gout flare up, the article reports. However, be sure not to sweeten your coffee with too much full-fat dairy. Finally, be sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water.
Is This an Emergency?
- Harvard Health Publishing: "All About Gout"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Uric Acid Stones"
- Arthritis Foundation: "Foods to Avoid with Gout"
- Mayo Clinic: "Gout Diet: What's Allowed, What's Not"
- Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: "Effectiveness of Treatment Modalities on Kidney Stone Recurrence"