What Are Low Purine Foods?

Updated July 20, 2017

Low-purine diets are often recommended for those who suffer from painful kidney stones or gout attacks due to high uric acid levels in the blood. Purines occur naturally in the tissues of the body, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Uric acid forms in the blood when the body breaks down purines during routine tissue replacement. Since some foods also contain purines, consuming low-purine foods may help reduce the risk of kidney stones and gout attacks.


Most breads, cereals, rice and pastas are considered low-purine foods. The Dorchester County, Maryland, Health Department recommends you opt for whole grain breads and cereals, whole wheat pastas and brown rice when possible. Avoid sweetbreads such as pancakes, French bread, cakes and muffins, as well as foods containing trans fatty acids, such as cookies, crackers and French fries.

Vegetables and Fruits

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center includes most fruits and vegetables as part of a low-purine diet. In addition, fruits such as cherries and blueberries in their natural state provide healthful antioxidants. The medical centre suggests limiting avocado consumption due to a high fat content. In addition, limit mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, and dried beans and peas to two servings per week since these foods contain moderate amounts of purines.


Low-purine foods include low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and dairy products. Johns Hopkins Medicine states that increased intakes of low-fat dairy products may help lower uric acid levels. Avoid whole milk and creams as the high fat content holds onto uric acid in the kidneys. For those who are lactose intolerant, look for lactose-free dairy products to limit possible food sensitivities.

Meats and Seafood

Meats and seafood generally contain moderate to high levels of purines. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that individuals who ate meats high in purines -- such as beef, pork, lamb and organ meats including brains, heart, liver and kidneys -- were 40 per cent more likely to suffer gout attacks. Individuals consuming seafood high in purines such as canned tuna, scallops, lobster, herring and shrimp were 50 per cent more likely to develop gout attacks. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests eating leans cuts of poultry, lean beef, cold water fish, tofu and beans for protein. Limit meat and seafood consumption to 85.1gr per meal.

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About the Author

Shannon Cathie has been writing for children, teens and adults since 2004. Her work has appeared in "Highlights for Children," "Ask!" magazine, "The Christian Science Monitor" newspaper, "Writing for Dollars" and "Northwest Baby and Child." She is also the author of several children's books about the human body. Cathie holds elementary licensure and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from the University of Colorado.