High-Purine Foods You Should Avoid To Skyrocket Your Health
Try to count how many diets you have heard about in the past year alone. Probably someone you know is going Paleo, while someone else went vegan.
Your sister is gluten-free, your best friend is dairy-free, and your husband wants to try the high-fat Keto diet.
Keeping track of what foods you should eat or shouldn’t eat can be exhausting – and while one person will preach to you about the benefits of eating gluten-free, the next will talk about the health benefits of whole wheat flour.
But there are some diets that are not just for general health purposes. Some are extremely targeted food choices that help specific problems. And I’m here to talk about one of these diets today: low purine.
Most people have no idea what purine is and they probably didn’t even know they have been consuming it – so why would they want to get rid of it?
But if you suffer from either kidney stones or gout – you’re going to want to pay attention. Because jumping into a low purine diet right away could potentially solve your health problems.
I’m going to teach you exactly what purines are and why they can be a problem. Then I will give you lists of high-purine foods to avoid, moderate-purine foods to reduce, and low-purine foods to eat plenty of so can skyrocket your health.
What Are Purines?
Let me start out by saying purines are normally good for you – in fact, your body already has them as does much of the food you eat.
Purines are simply molecules found in DNA and RNA.
Why Are Purines A Problem?
The issue that can arise with purines all boils down to the way our bodies digest these molecules.
When we consume any food, the remnants after digestion turn into a waste product – like urine or stool. Purines have their own unique waste product: uric acid.
Again, this is another substance that is not inherently bad. Your kidneys filter it out and most is passed through your urine. This process is already happening in everybody’s bodies.
The problem boils down to how much uric acid is created. If it’s too much, it does not get properly exited out through your urine. Then all that excess uric acid can begin to crystalize and cause problems, most notably:
- Gout: This is a form of arthritis where you will often have pretty severe pain and tenderness in the joint area
- Kidney stones: Though calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone, these uric acid stones are also quite common
This overabundance of uric acid can be more of a problem if you also have any of the factors that slow down uric acid removal, which include:
- Being overweight
- Having diabetes
- Consuming too much alcohol
- Not drinking enough water
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to deal with this overabundance of uric acid. Step 1: your low-purine diet.
Reducing Purines To Improve Your Health
The solution for limiting uric acid through a low purine diet does not (or cannot) be a NO-purine diet. There will be some foods you need to consume that still have some purines in them. The goal is to dramatically cut down your purine intake until the uric acid issue is under control.
Unless you have issues with gout our kidney stones, reducing purine intake will probably not have to be something you really think about.
High-Purine Foods to Avoid To Skyrocket Your Health
Okay, here is a list of the foods with the highest levels purine.
- Organ meats: This includes liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, and brains
- Game meats: This includes veal, venison, goose, and duck
- Red meats: This includes beef, pork, bacon, and lamb
- Dark-skin poultry: This includes chicken thighs or other fatty poultry
- Some seafood: This includes anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, tuna, haddock, mussels, codfish, and scallops
- High-fat dairy products: This includes whole milk and sour cream
- Gravy (made with meat)
If you still eat some meat, try to keep the serving size at 3 ounces or lower for a meal. Here are some eating tips to help you get rid of these foods (or greatly reduce them) without feeling like you are completely missing out:
- Commit to meat-free meals on certain days of the week. Take time to learn how to make filling, tasty vegan meals you will enjoy. Two great recipe resources are the Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows. You can also check out the Fablunch channel on YouTube for video recipes and meal ideas.
- When you do eat meat, make sure you choose lean meats like chicken breast or ground turkey
- Drink a glass of wine instead of a beer, but don’t overdo it on the alcohol if you are experiencing high uric acid – too much booze can increase uric acid as well
Moderate Purine Foods To Reduce
Now here’s the short list of some foods that are considered to be “moderate” in their purine content. You do not have to be as concerned about these foods. This category is more about reducing instead of avoiding.
- Other types of seafood: This includes seafood not mentioned in the “high” purine category
- Some Grains: This includes oatmeal, wheat bran, and wheat germ
- Certain veggies: This includes asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, cauliflower, peas, and beans
Now that we’ve talked all about the foods you should avoid, let’s finish on a good note. What is safe to eat on a low-purine diet?
- Eggs: Unless you are going vegan, eggs can be a great protein replacement when you are cutting out all that meat
- Nuts or nut butters
- All fruit
- Veggies: Other than the ones on the moderate purine list
- Low-fat milk products: This includes low-fat milk or low-fat yogurt
- Water, tea, or coffee
- Bread or rice
By focusing heavily on these foods, you can then add in small portions of the moderate-purine foods and the high-purine foods on occasion without concern.
Other Ways To Lower Your Uric Acid
Sometimes a healthy lifestyle is not only about avoiding negative things – it’s about adding positive things too.
On top of your low-purine diet, you should:
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Since your urine is the main way uric acid leaves the body, you want to ensure you are creating plenty of urine and going to the bathroom many times throughout the day.
Maintain a healthy weight in a healthy way. If you are overweight, dropping those extra pounds can help you. However, sudden weight drops can actually lead to more uric acid. So do it slowly and safely.
And, of course, always talk to your doctor, naturopath, or nutritionist. They can give you very specific meal plans and ideas to incorporate your low purine diet with success.