What is a Low-Purine Diet?
Purines are nucleotides that are essential for life. They are usually found in the cells of certain plants and animals. Gout sufferers are often told to avoid high levels of purines, which can lead to excess uric acid in the body. (A buildup of uric acid in the body is the primary cause of gout symptoms.) There are several foods low in purines, however, that are perfect for people following a low-purine diet.
Fruits and Vegetables
All fruits and fruit juices are foods low in purines, and are staples in a low-purine diet. Vegetables are also foods low in purines, except for mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, and cauliflower. These foods are high in purines and should limited when on a low-purine diet.
Carbohydrates made from refined grains are foods low in purines, and can be eaten often on a low-purine diet. Whole grain carbohydrates, however, should be avoided, or limited to one or two servings per week while on a low-purine diet. Refined grain carbohydrates, which are low in purines, include potatoes, refined breads and pastas, and white rice.
Whole fat dairy products should be avoided on a low-purine diet. These products should be substituted with low-fat or non-fat products, which are foods low in purines.
Dried legumes, or peas and beans, should be eaten very sparingly on a low-purine diet. Although they are not as high in purines as meat products, they can increase the uric acid in a gout sufferer’s body and should be avoided as much as possible.
Beef, chicken, turkey, pork, and most fish contain some purine, but are not considered high purine foods. Exceptions to this rule are animal organs, such as livers, hearts, and brains. These organs can be extremely high in purines and should be avoided as much as possible. Eggs, tofu, and nuts are foods low in purines, and are therefore an excellent substitute for foods that are higher in purine levels.