Gout causes pain and arthritis due to the buildup of sharp crystals of uric acid in your joints. Uric acid is a waste product of energy metabolism. Foods high in protein and other substances that produce uric acid can worsen gout symptoms. Spinach is high in nutrients that are metabolized into uric acid, which can potentially lead to the worsening of gout symptoms. Those who suffer from gout should limit their intake of spinach, although some studies suggest that it may be safe to eat.
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A high uric acid level is the primary cause of gout, although it is possibly to have high uric acid levels without suffering from gout. Uric acid is not highly soluble in water. An unknown disease process causes uric acid to fall out of solution to form sharp crystals in joints and other body tissues. Your doctor may prescribe medication to manage the symptoms of gout flare-0ups or to reduce uric acid. A diet low in foods metabolized into uric acid also reduces the severity of gout symptoms.
About Uric Acid
Uric acid is a waste product in the metabolism of purines and other chemicals in the body. Purines are found in DNA bases and are converted into the primary source of energy in cells. Purines are not required in the diet and can be fully synthesized from other nutrients, including protein. There does not appear to be strong regulation of the level of purines in the body. Excess purines are converted into uric acid and excreted.
Foods Raising Uric Acid
Some foods contain high levels of purines. Animal meat, especially organ meats, are very high in purines. Fatty fish such as anchovies, herring and mackerel and other seafood also contain high purine levels. Other foods that are high in purines include legumes, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower and yeast.
Limit your intake of meat and seafood to between 4 and 6 oz. per day. Alcohol, foods high in sugar, processed carbohydrates and saturated fats should also be avoided. Foods high in purines should be limited, although a 2004 study in "The New England Journal of Medicine" found that purine-rich vegetables, such as spinach, did not significantly contribute to gout and that dairy products appeared to lower the frequency of gout outbreaks.