Purines are natural substances made by the body and also found in many food sources, especially high-protein foods. Normally, purines are dissolved in the blood and turn into uric acid, which is then eliminated from the body. However, in some cases uric acid builds up in the blood, causing a condition called gout. Gout is a form or arthritis and causes pain, redness and swelling in the joints, especially the big toe. Trying to avoid purine-rich foods is one way to prevent gout.
Meat and poultry such as beef, mutton, veal, venison, chicken, duck and turkey are high in purines. Other meat sources that are high in purines include organ meats such as liver, kidney and brain, and sweetbreads, which are made of other organ meats, including the pancreas, thymus gland, heart and neck. Limiting your intake of high-purine meat and poultry can help prevent a uric-acid build-up.
Many types of seafood and fish are high in purines, including cod, crab, lobster, snapper, salmon, tuna and trout. Among the fish choices highest in purines are sardines and anchovies. People with gout should try to avoid these purine-rich protein sources to prevent painful attacks.
Other Food Sources
Although meat, poultry and seafood are known as high-purine foods, there are other food choices that should be avoided if you're trying to avoid purines. Vegetables such as cauliflower, asparagus, peas and spinach contain a lot of purines, as do legumes such as lima beans, navy beans and lentils. Oatmeal is also high in purines.
Alcoholic beverages should also be avoided by people trying to limit purine consumption. Beer, especially, is high in purines.
What To Eat
Because purines are so prevalent in our food, it can be difficult to find acceptable alternatives when trying to cut them out of the diet. Some good choices include low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt. Whole grain breads and pasta are also a good choice. For people who are suffering from gout, drinking plenty of fluids, preferably water, is also important because it can help flush the uric acid from the body more quickly.