There are two different types of purines - endogenous and exogenous. Endogenous purines are organic compounds found naturally in the human body, and they play a crucial role in making up our DNA and RNA. Exogenous purines can be found in the foods we consume. When these two different types of purines are broken down, they create a byproduct known as uric acid.
Now, normally your body filters out this uric acid through your kidneys and urine. But if you have too many purines in your body, uric acid begins to build up and your body isn't able to get rid of it fast enough.
So why do they matter?
Too much uric acid can cause uric acid crystals to form. These crystals then settle in your joints and can cause pain and inflammation in the form of gout or fibromyalgia. Now, not all purines are bad, but it's important to avoid consuming high amounts, especially if you suffer from gout or fibromyalgia. That's where a low-purine diet can come into play. A low-purine diet is beneficial, and often recommended, for people who have high uric acid levels.
What Should I Include in My Diet?
LOW PURINE FOODS TO EAT
Cherries specifically have been proven to help lower uric acid levels, but most other fruits can help too.
Any vegetables are fine to eat, especially cabbage, squash, and red bell peppers.
Low-fat or no-fat dairy options of milk, yogurt, and cheese can help lower uric acid levels.
Good sources of low-purine nuts include walnuts, almonds, and cashews.
HIGH PURINE FOODS TO AVOID
Avoid livers and kidneys, and limit serving sizes of beef, lamb, and pork.
Alcohol in general can increase your uric acid levels, but beer specifically contains very high levels of purines.
Some types of seafood contain very high levels of purines like anchovies, shellfish, and sardines.
Avoid or limit your intake of high fructose corn syrup and sugary drinks like soda and juice.
Gout-Friendly Meal Plan Ideas
Greek yogurt with overnight oats, low-fat milk, nuts, and berries
Scrambled egg wrap with peppers, spinach, and a whole-wheat tortilla
Whole grain toast with avocado, low-fat mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and fresh basil
Spinach and kale salad with assorted veggies, fruits, and nuts
Lemon garlic salmon with sauteed broccoli and cauliflower
Turkey taco lettuce wraps with roasted zucchini and squash
Whole wheat pasta with spinach, bell peppers, and low-fat feta cheese
Portobello mushroom burger with arugula salad
Grilled chicken with brown rice and asparagus
Other Ways to Help Prevent Gout Attacks
Is changing my diet enough?
Changes in your diet alone may help reduce some symptoms, but these changes aren't enough to prevent gout or gout attacks completely. It can definitely help, but if you want to do more about your gout, you have to do more about your lifestyle:
Maintain a healthy bodyweight.
Drink plenty of water.
Limit your alcohol.
Take supplements. Often times, supplements are the most effective way to help manage gout.