Uric acid: foods to avoid

Updated April 17, 2017

Many foods---nearly all meats and shellfish---contain proteins called purine that convert to uric acid in the body. Eating a diet rich in purine can cause a condition known as hyperuricemia, which is an excess of uric acid in the blood stream. Gout, a severe form of arthritis, is caused by hyperuricemia. People who have suffered an attack of gout should limit the amount of purine-rich foods they eat.


Yeast contains high amounts of purine. Minimise the consumption of unwashed, unpeeled and uncooked fruits and vegetables because they carry yeast on their skins. Breads and pastries that contain yeast as a leavening agent, on the other hand, have low amounts of purine because heat destroys the yeast.

Beer and wine also contains yeast. If you have developed hyperuricemia, it is doubly important to avoid these because alcohol slows the elimination of uric acid from the body.


Most commercially available meats have high concentrations of purine. Limit your portions of pork, chicken, goose, mutton, lamb, veal and meat extracts found in gravies and broths if you have a history of hyperuricemia or gout.


Seafood with high amounts of purine include herring and herring roe, mussels, mackerel, smelt, sardines, anchovies, salmon, trout, haddock, scallops, eel, crab, lobster and oysters.


Animal organs also carry large amounts of purine. Hearts, sweetbreads, brains, liver, kidneys, tongue and tripe can raise your uric acid levels when eaten in excess.


Hunters with a history of hyperuricemia or gout should limit their intake of grouse, partridge, pheasant, venison and duck.


Even cooked and cleaned, some vegetables, grains and fungi can raise uric acid levels in the body. Purine is found in kidney beans, navy beans, lima beans, lentils, peas, asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, oatmeal, wheat germ and wheat bran.

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About the Author

Ed Lamb is a freelance writer and editor in Virginia Beach, Va. He has written widely in the fields of health policy, pharmacy practice and pharmaceuticals. He has also developed expertise in the areas of employment law, human resources and product packaging and industrial food production.