Uric Acid Reduction Diet

A uric acid reduction diet is recommended to those who suffer from diseases related to high uric acid levels. Although dietary change does not help in treating the diseases, it definitely helps in preventing further complications.
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Uric acid is a toxic metabolite which is produced in the body by breaking down substances called purines. It is flushed out of the body by the kidneys through urine, after it dissolves in the blood. However, if it is not flushed out of the body, high levels of uric acid get accumulated near the joints.

This condition is known as 'hyperuricemia', and causes gout, arthritis and kidney diseases. It may also worsen existing conditions like diabetes, leukemia and hypertension.

Hyperuricemia is usually caused due to the regular intake of purine-rich foods. Conditions such as hypoparathyroidism, lead poisoning, renal failure also elevate the uric acid levels. This condition can also be a side effect of chemotherapy.

Prominent symptoms of high uric acid include redness, swelling, inflammation and unbearable pain that is mostly experienced in the big toes, knees, elbows, wrists, ankles, tendons and other surrounding tissues.

Diet for Uric Acid Reduction
The normal levels of uric acid range between 2.4 and 6.0 mg/dL for women and 3.4 and 7.0 mg/dL for men. High uric acid levels have always been linked to the consumption of opulent meals. Seafood, poultry, meat, etc., are purine-rich foods. Hence, over-consumption of these foods leads to an increase in the levels of uric acid. Diet, thus, plays an important role in maintaining these levels in the body.

The uric acid levels can be maintained by limiting or completely avoiding the consumption of purine-rich foods. An ideal diet for reduction of this toxic metabolite should include a profusion of carbohydrates, a moderate intake of protein and a very low intake of fat. Such a diet can also help reduce the risk of arthritis, gout and kidney disorders that are caused due to hyperuricemia.

What to Eat

Given below are various foods that a uric acid reduction diet should include.

Potassium-Rich Foods
A uric acid reduction diet should consist of foods that are rich in potassium, since potassium plays a role in the excretion of this acid. Here are some of the foods that you can include in your diet.
  • Dried peaches
  • Bananas
  • Cereals
  • Yogurt
  • Yam
Foods Rich in Complex Proteins
It is usually advised that the diet for reduction of uric acid should contain foods rich in complex protein. Here is a list of such foods that can be consumed by individuals with high uric acid levels.
  • Tofu
  • Berries
  • Celery
  • Parsley
  • Cabbage

Low Purine and Low Protein Foods
People who are suffering from hyperuricemia should ideally be including these foods in their diet which are known to be low in purines.
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Corn
  • Gelatin
  • Peanut butter
  • Tart cherries
  • Vinegar
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Whole wheat breads
Other Uric Acid Reduction Foods
Foods rich in bromelain and vitamin C can also be very effective in reducing uric acid. These include foods like:
  • Soy products
  • Lemon juice
  • Fibrous foods
  • Pineapples
  • Red cabbage
  • Red bell peppers
  • Salmon
  • Olive oil
  • Flax seeds
  • Varied nuts
  • Low-fat dairy products


What Not to Eat

Along with consuming the above-mentioned foods, stress has to be laid on avoiding the foods which might lead to a rise in the uric acid levels. When suffering from hyperuricemia, foods that are extremely or even moderately high in purines or proteins, should be strictly avoided.

Foods with High Levels of Purine
Foods extremely high in purines and proteins would include foods like:
  • Yeast
  • Sweetbreads
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Anchovies
  • Mussels
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Organ meats (kidney, liver)
  • Mincemeat
  • Processed meat
  • Beer
Foods with Medium Levels of Purine
Those foods which are moderately high in purines and proteins include some of these.
  • Mushroom
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Dried beans
  • Lentils and legumes
  • Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Turkey
  • Goose
  • Chicken
  • Oatmeal
  • Bacon
  • Lobsters
  • Soft drinks


Sample Meal Plans

Here are two sample plans to help you plan out your diet.

Sample Meal Plan 1

Breakfast
  • 1 bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit toppings
  • 2 eggs (boiled, scrambled or sunny side up)
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
Mid-morning Snack
  • 2 slices of cornbread
  • 1 glass strawberry juice
Lunch
  • Green salad
  • 1 cup tomato soup
  • 1 cup whole wheat macaroni
Mid-afternoon Snack
  • 1 bowl fresh berries
  • 1 whole wheat muffin
Dinner
  • 1 cup steamed vegetables
  • 3 oz. salmon
Bedtime Snack
  • 1 Pear
  • 1 slice cheese
Sample Meal Plan 2

Breakfast
  • 1 glass low-fat milk
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread spread with peanut butter
  • 1 medium bowl mixed berries
Mid-morning Snack
  • 2 -3 saltine crackers
  • 1 glass orange juice
Lunch
  • 1 medium bowl cabbage soup
  • 1 tofu sandwich or 1 serving plain rice
  • 1 cup boiled pulses
Mid-afternoon Snack
  • 1 cup non-alcoholic beverage with tortilla chips
Dinner
  • 1 serving whole wheat pasta
  • 2 medium-sized baked potatoes
Bedtime Snack
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup nuts or yogurt


Few More Tips...

• Drinking plenty of fluids helps to flush out uric acid crystals from the body. Try drinking at least 10 glasses of water everyday.
• Incorporate healthy carbs like fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains in your diet.
• High-purine foods should be completely avoided. Substitute organ meats, fatty fish, etc., with lean and skinless meat.
• Increase the consumption of all kinds of berries. They are known to help lower the uric acid levels, due to their high cyanidin content.

To summarize, a uric acid reduction diet should be low in proteins and purines; and high in potassium and complex carbohydrates. It is essential to maintain a moderate body weight, since increased body weight can cause further complications. The diet, along with medication and exercise, will surely help to bring down as well as maintain your uric acid levels.

Disclaimer: The above Buzzle article is solely for informative purposes and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject. Always consult a dietitian/nutritionist before following any diet plan.
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Last Updated: January 28, 2013
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