Mar 6, 2010

Purine, Uric Acid and Gout

Ingestion of foods high in purines can raise uric acid levels in the blood, which leads to painful gout attacks in some people. The excess can be due to either an over-production of uric acid by the body, or the under-elimination of uric acid by the kidneys. It is important to seek medical advice from your doctor.
Purines are important components of DNA and RNA. They are the genetic material of all living cells. They are part of the human tissue and are found in many foods.
Foods with a high purine content that should be avoided are: organ meat (liver, kidneys and pancreas), anchovies, sardines, herring (especially the head and entrails), fish roe, legumes (dried beans, dhal), yeast, meat extract, gravies, beer and other alcoholic beverages.
It is important to remember that purines are found in all foods, especially foods with high protein content. But we need protein to maintain good health. Lean meat (chicken, turkey and pork), tofu and beans (such as black, kidney and lima beans) are good sources of protein which should be consumed in moderation.
Although asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, peas, spinach, Chinese cabbage, whole grain breads and cereals contain purine, they do not increase the risk of gout if consumed in moderation.
A diet that is beneficial to people suffering from gout should be low in sugar and fat, but rich in fibre (or complex carbohydrates). In other words, have a balanced diet that includes fish, lean meat, whole grains, high-fibre rice, cereal, and fruits and vegetables, as well as a handful of nuts and seeds. Popular plant foods are: pineapple, banana, papaya, oranges, pears, apple, (blue, purple or red) berries, nangka, dragon fruit, watermelon and other melons, celery, kalian, sawi, cabbage, parsley, hot chilli, bell pepper, kunyit, loofah, lady’s finger, sweet potato leaves, ferns, and other green, leafy vegetables.
Avoiding purine-rich foods is only one aspect of treatment. Drink six to eight glasses of water per day, exercise, maintain a healthy body weight and follow medical advice.


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