Uric acid is a waste product found in the blood. It forms when our body breaks down purines. What are purines? They are some chemical compounds found in certain foods.
When everything works well, the uric acid dissolves in the blood and passes through the kidneys in urine. That’s how we eliminate it from our bodies. However, certain foods such as red meat, high-fructose syrups, or alcohol have increased levels of purines, and that could lead to high amounts of uric acid, which can, in turn, lead to gout.
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Foods That Help Lower Uric Acid Levels
Let’s find out how we can decrease the amount of uric acid in the blood. The secret stands, as usual, in our diet.
Nuts are amazing. Research suggests that 2 tablespoons of nuts added to every meal can significantly lower uric acid levels.
Almonds, walnuts, and flax seeds have low concentrations of purine, which can help reduce the risk of gout. Moreover, they are high in fiber.
Fiber helps balance blood sugar and insulin levels, reducing uric acid levels. Besides, eating more fiber will help satiate your hunger and prevent you from overeating.
So, next time you’re thinking about snacks, pair some almonds with walnuts, fresh fruits, and vegetables, and that will help keep the uric acid levels in check. Peanut butter and grains are also good foods for a gout diet.
So what exactly is gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis that involves painful inflammation of the joints and swelling. Its effects can be seen on the fingers, wrists, knees, or heels. As we were saying in the beginning, gout occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood.
Let’s see what other foods you can add to your diet to reduce uric acid levels and the risk of gout.
2. Brown rice
Not all rice is created equal. Brown rice, on the one hand, contains the bran and germ, the two outer layers of rice where most vitamins and minerals are packed. On the other hand, white rice is a refined grain that is softer and easier to cook but also devoid of most vitamins and minerals.
So, if you want to reduce the uric acid levels in your blood, avoid white rice. Load up on complex carbohydrates, including brown rice, barley or rye oats instead.
What makes brown rice so great is its low glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t cause your blood sugar to spike after a meal. More than that, brown rice is a dietary staple for people looking to shed some pounds and reduce body mass index, a common marker of gout.
So, what’s for dinner? Let us tell you! Stir-fried chicken or tofu and vegetables with brown rice. This is one dinner meal that can help you reduce uric acids in the blood. But you’ve got to stick to it!
This is kind of a no-brainer. Water is essential to the functioning of most of our body functions. In our case, water helps the kidneys flush out the uric acid through urine.
What you should also keep in mind is to avoid alcohol. Alcohol can dehydrate your body, triggering high uric acid levels and gout. Moreover, certain types of alcohol, like beer, contain high amounts of purine or increase the metabolism of nucleotides, which can also turn into uric acid.
So, if you are predisposed to gout and high uric acid levels, stick to water. Try to stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle close and set an alarm for every hour to remind yourself to drink water. You can do it!
Bananas are low in purines and rich in vitamin C, making them good for lowering uric acid levels. A scientific review from 2021 points out that high vitamin C intakes can protect against gout. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one banana contains 14.1 mg of Vitamin C, which is about 16% of the recommended daily value.
5. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which can help prevent gout. In a 2009 study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, men who took more vitamin C supplements were less likely to get gout. About 47,000 men participated in this study which took 20 years. For every 500-milligram increase in vitamin C intake, the risk of gout fell by 17%. For the participants who took more than 1,500 mg of vitamin C a day, the risk dropped by 45%. That is something.
Vitamin C is believed to lower uric acid levels as it triggers the removal of urate through the kidneys. But don’t take this as a given fact. Scientists agree that more research is needed to confirm this theory.
What you can do, however, is add more citrus fruit to your diet and see how that makes you feel.
Citrus fruits won’t hurt anyways. Add some more oranges or grapefruits to your shopping list. They may help keep your uric acid levels in check.
6. Cherries and Cherry Juice
According to the Arthritis Foundation, 4% of American adults suffer from gout. Every year, it affects about 6 million men and 2 million women in the United States.
Well, cherries can help. Cherry juice helps treat gout outbursts by reducing the level of uric acid in the body. A study from 2011 showed that tart cherry juice decreased the serum uric acid levels in participants who drank about 8 ounces of juice a day for four weeks.
One extensive study conducted on 644 participants with gout also showed that consuming 10 cherries a day reduced the risk of gout attacks by 35 percent.
So, cherries are natural anti-inflammatory foods which can reduce uric acid levels, and you should add them to your grocery list for the next trip to the market.
Chickpeas and hummus are generally high in fiber and low in purines. Eating fiber-rich foods can help lower the uric acid levels in the blood and balance blood sugar and insulin.
Chickpeas contain less than 50 milligrams of purines per 100-gram serving, and that’s considered relatively low.
What is more, chickpeas and hummus help increase satiety. You will feel full for longer and won’t give in to unnecessary cravings that could only spike purine intake.
Aim to get about 22 to 34 grams of fiber every day to keep your digestive system working properly, fight inflammation and regulate your blood sugar levels.
Cucumbers are highly nourishing foods with a rich content of antioxidants. They are low in calories but will reward your body with a complex cocktail of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and manganese.
They help hydrate the body and lower blood sugar and uric acid levels. Cucumbers have special enzymes that help cut down the uric acid production in the blood.
You can never go wrong with cucumbers. Whether you munch on one or two as a snack or add them to your salads, they are bound to maintain your body hydrated and nourished and keep those uric acid levels in check.
Fun fact about cucumbers! Did you know that the term “cool as a cucumber” is actually true? Cucumbers can cool the temperature of our blood. What is more, when applied on the face, cucumbers will hydrate and reduce swelling. Cool, right?
Did you know that the word “broccoli” comes from the Italian word “broccolo” which means “the flowering top of a cabbage”? Funny, right?
Well, broccoli is a funny-looking vegetable, but you should take it seriously when it comes to reducing the uric acid levels in the blood.
First of all, broccoli contains about 70 milligrams of purines per serving (100 grams). That places them in the low-purine food group. By comparison, high-purine foods have about 300 mg of purines per 100 grams. That is huge.
Secondly, broccoli is rich in vitamin C, and as we’ve seen, vitamin C has the potential of reducing uric acid levels and lowering the risk of gout flare-ups.
Thirdly, broccoli features increased antioxidant activity. This vegetable is a true inflammation fighter that helps protect the body against many chronic diseases, such as gout.
So, add these funny-looking vegetables to your plate more often. You won’t regret it.
Gout is an inflammatory condition, and diet plays a major role in preventing or managing it. Celery might be mostly water, but it has excellent benefits for the body, especially when keeping uric acid levels in check.
Let’s remember that celery contains vitamin K, folate, fiber and potassium, which can help you lose weight and fight inflammation and dehydration.
The most notable compounds in celery are luteolin, beta-selinene and 3-n-butylphthalide (3nB). These compounds help fight inflammation and reduce uric acid production.
Research has suggested that the luteolin from celery seeds lowers the production of nitric oxide from uric acid. Therefore, luteolin can protect against uric acid-induced inflammation such as gout.
Although closely related to carrots and parsnips, celery is not the tastiest food you can add to your list of low-purine foods. However, it helps, and taste is acquired.
11. Bell peppers
Red and green peppers are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, which make them great for reducing uric acid levels.
Fresh, raw bell peppers are 92% water. The rest is just protein, carbs and fat. Calorie for calorie, bell peppers represent a great source of fiber, as well as vitamin B6, K1, potassium, folate, vitamin A, E and C.
One single bell pepper contains about 169% of the RDI of vitamin C. That is impressive, making them great for reducing uric acid levels in the blood.
Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are super-rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
They contain anthocyanins; these compounds can be extremely helpful in reducing the high content of uric acid in the body and also preventing it from crystallizing in painful deposits in the joints.
What is more, berries are usually rich in vitamin C, and we’ve seen how this vitamin can help decrease the production of uric acid.
So, put berries on your grocery list and be mindful of your diet. In the end, the best medicine you could ever take is food, and the best treatment is exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
Until the next one, stay healthy and active!