Reduce Uric Acid
More and more people are finding they have higher uric acid levels than is healthy for them after a routine blood test. Some problems such an excess may cause have been known for ages. Uric acid is behind the painful attacks of gout medieval kings and lords suffered and these attacks were linked to an excessive consumption of meat, even then.
A Diet to Reduce and Prevent Uric Acid
Modern diet is likely to be the culprit, although diet is not the only known cause. Uric acid is a breakdown product from purines, substances present in many foods we eat, but also produced internally due to cell regeneration. Although both metabolism and diet may set off these high levels of uric acid in blood, diet is always part of the solution. Eating the right foods may help to control uric acid.
Is there a problem?
Uric acid has beneficial effects in our bodies. In healthy people, production and elimination of uric acid are balanced so that the uric acid is maintained at a normal level in the blood. Problems come when there is an excess. If that imbalance is not taken care of, it may lead to gout, kidney stones, and crystals blocking the tubules in the kidneys, leading to kidney infection, urine infection, or kidney failure. Abnormal levels of uric acid have also been associated with the metabolic syndrome, a condition that can lead to adult diabetes.
What to Do to Reduce Uric Acid
A diet to control uric acid is low in purines and easy on kidney function, as these organs are in charge of elimination.
Drink plenty of liquid - mainly water. Vegetable broth, especially onion, or rosemary infusion, up to 2-3 cups a day, are said to be beneficial. Carbonated water, 1-2 cups per day, may be recommended.
Have little or no salt - a low sodium diet helps to eliminate liquid together with the uric acid dissolved in it, a high sodium diet, promotes liquid retention.
Eat food high in potassium - such as fruit, up to 2 pieces a day, and nuts.
Eat all your meals - at regular times, keep a rhythm and don't miss a meal. It helps.
What to Avoid
Food high in purines -complete avoidance is best.
Any type of alcoholic drink - wine and beer don't have purines but elimination of alcohol through the kidneys takes precedence to elimination of uric acid. Uric acid in serum may spike as a result. If you must, better have grape juice or zero alcohol beer.
Fasting - don't, don't miss a meal, and don't stay without food for long periods. Not eating makes the body to use its reserves, which happen to be high in purines, and will not reduce uric acid levels, quite the opposite.
Food, purines and uric acid
Avoid completely food high in purines to bring uric acid down.
- Organs such as kidney or liver and products made with them, such as pate and some types of sausages.
- Concentrated stocks made from meat as purines dissolve in water.
- Small fatty fish such as whitebait, anchovies or pilchards. Especially, when eaten whole.
- Prawns, shrimp, lobster and the such. Funny enough, the purines are in the heads, which is where their internal organs are, so you will have to give a lobster bisque a miss, as the head is often used to make the base stock, but you may be able to eat prawn tails with no ill effects.
Avoid or eat in moderation food containing purines. Avoid eating two of these in the same meal.
- Meats, especially red ones. White meat such as turkey or chicken has less purines. Rabbit is the meat with the lowest content.
- Fatty fish in general.
- Asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms and spinach. These are the vegetables with the most purines. Eat little or avoid altogether.
- Dairy products - milk, cheese, and yogurt have no purines so drink,eat and use them in cooking without a worry for your uric acid.
- Eggs - high quality protein and no purines.
- Fruit - great in a diet to control uric acid. Not in excess, though, limit to 2 a day and choose fruit high in vitamin C, when possible. Strawberries and lemons, for instance, are such fruits. Lemons are high in vitamin C and help to eliminate uric acid. Use lemon and lemon juice in cooking, flavor water with lemon juice.
- Vegetables - ideal to combat uric acid. Root vegetables are highly appreciated in this type of diet, especially potatoes. Potatoes are low in sodium and fat, high in vitamin C and very easy to digest. Potatoes, boiled or steamed, will give your digestive system a break.