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Some people have a sensitivity to high levels of uric acid, which can cause crystals to accumulate in joints and cause painful gout symptoms. Left untreated, gout can lead to long-term problems, such as joint destruction and damage to the kidneys. A diet to reduce uric acid usually involves reducing or avoiding foods that have high levels of purines. As well as controlling gout and supplying other health benefits, diets to reduce uric acid are advantageous in helping with weight loss.
Uric acid is a waste product remaining from the metabolism of chemical compounds, called purines. Purines are found in foods and are produced naturally by the body. The kidneys filter uric acid dissolved in the blood and excrete it in urine. Hyperuricemia is a condition that may result from an excessive amount of uric acid in the blood.
Food Low in Uric Acid
A diet to lower acid levels should include foods that contain less than 100mg per 100g of uric acid. These include many fruits such as apples, apricots, bananas, grapes, peaches and pears. Vegetables include mushrooms, peas, potatoes, spinach, tomato and broccoli. Also included are dairy products--cheeses, yogurt and milk--and bread products with low uric acid--low fiber, white flour or refined grain types. Pasta, macaroni and rice are also a low source of uric acid.
Foods to Avoid
Foods considered high in uric acid have more than 400mg per 110g and include brewer's yeast, fish, organ meats, game meats, meat extracts, mincemeat and consomme. Foods containing moderate amounts of uric acid include shrimp and scallops, meat and poultry, legumes, raisins and sunflower seeds. Beer, wine and hard liquor contain a high amount of purine, which converts to uric acid. Very spicy food, coffee, tea and deep fried food may increase acid levels in the blood.
Gout is a painful disease most common in older men but can also affect women. The "Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine" reported a study that found patients with gout had excretion of uric acid levels higher than normal, indicating overproduction of uric acid. They suggested that dietary restrictions to limit purines, protein and alcohol intake were useful against the development of the disease.