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Purine-free Diet

Purine-free Diet

Since uric acid is an end product of the metabolism of purines, a low-purine diet is recommended for individuals affected by gout. This NutriNeat write-up provides a list of food items that need to be avoided and the ones that can be safely consumed by such individuals.
Deepa Kartha
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Purines are chemical substances that are not only produced naturally in the body, but also found in various types of food items. During digestion, purines are broken down into uric acid, which is then flushed out of the body through urine. However, when the body starts producing uric acid in large amounts, or if it is not able to excrete uric acid properly, the individual can become susceptible to a complex type of arthritis called gout. The excess uric acid in the body turns into needle-like urate crystals, which get accumulated in different joints of the body, especially the joint of the big toe.
The buildup of the uric acid crystals could appear in the form of lumps under the skin. The affected individual is likely to experience symptoms such as pain, redness, swelling, stiffness in the joints, etc. Besides the big toe, the ankles, heels, insteps, wrists, elbows, and fingers could also get affected. Gout is a type of arthritis, and its treatment involves the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids (prednisone), or colchicine (alkaloid that is prepared from the dried corns and seeds of Colchicum autumnale). Besides drug therapy, preventive measures should also be taken. For instance, one must follow a diet that is low in purine.
Diet Recommendation
As it is not possible to follow a diet that is fully free from purine, the best alternative is to opt for food items that are low in purine. Individuals affected by gout should consume food items that are high in complex carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, and fruits) and cut down on the intake of food items that are rich in proteins, as protein-rich food items contain purines. Also, dietary intake of fat should be restricted because gout patients are at a risk of getting heart attacks and too much fat can make them susceptible. Food items that can be consumed by such individuals include:
➻ Bananas
➻ Fresh cherries
➻ Green leafy vegetables
➻ Pineapple
➻ Cabbage
➻ Oranges
➻ Bell pepper
➻ Low fat dairy products
➻ Potatoes
Low-purine Diet for Gout
The food items that contain purine can be divided into three groups: high-purine food, medium-purine food, and low-purine food. While individuals affected by gout should completely eliminate high-purine food from their diet, they can consume medium-purine and low-purine food in moderate quantities. It's advisable to follow the low-purine diet tips recommended by the dietitian.
Foods to Avoid: High-purine Food
➻ Organ meats (Kidney, sweetbreads, brains, liver and heart)
➻ Sardines
➻ Anchovies
➻ Broth
➻ Mackerel, herring, and roe (fish eggs)
➻ Meat extracts
➻ Gravy
➻ Scallops
➻ Consomme
➻ Game meats (Duck, goose, partridge, etc.)
➻ Mincemeat
➻ Bouillon
➻ Yeast supplements
Medium-purine Food
➻ Mushrooms
➻ Whole grain cereals and breads
➻ Green peas
➻ Asparagus
➻ Oats and oatmeal
➻ Fish and shellfish
➻ Spinach
➻ Red meats (Beef, lamb, pork, etc.)
➻ Bran and wheat germ
➻ Cauliflower
➻ Lentils (Peas and dried beans)
Low-purine Food
➻ Pudding
➻ Skim milk
➻ Macaroni and pasta
➻ Cake and cookies (only in small quantities)
➻ Eggs (Not more than 3-4 eggs in a week)
➻ Carbonated drinks
➻ Nuts and peanut butter
➻ Low-fat/fat-free ice cream and cheese
➻ Gelatin
➻ Sugar and sweets (Only in small quantities)
➻ Tea and coffee
➻ Oils and fats (Only in small quantities)
Other Things to Avoid
Other than the food that are high in purine, individuals affected by gout should totally avoid the consumption of alcohol. Alcoholic drinks such as beer have high content of purine, which is why consumption of these drinks can considerably increase the level of uric acid in blood. Even drinks like vodka, rum, whiskey, gin, etc., contain purine. Hence, these should either be avoided or taken in very little quantities. Gout patients who are overweight should try to bring back their weight to a normal level. This is important because losing weight helps in releasing the pressure caused by the urate crystals from the joints, thus providing relief from pain. Therefore, exercise regularly and avoid fattening food.
Cheese Potato Casserole Recipe
People affected by gout often feel disheartened, as they have to avoid several food items during the recovery process. However, food low in purine doesn't have to be bland. Here is the recipe for cheese potato casserole that is low in purine.
Ingredients
➻ Hash brown potatoes, frozen, 26 ounces
➻ Parmesan cheese, grated, 2 tablespoons
➻ Green pepper, chopped, 1
➻ Onion, chopped, 1
➻ Milk, 8 ounces
➻ Olive oil, 3 teaspoons
➻ Hot sauce
➻ Cheddar soup concentrate, 10 ounces
➻ Salt, as per taste
Preparation
➻ Heat olive oil in a frying pan and fry onions in a medium to low flame.
➻ Once the onions become transparent, add the potatoes, green pepper, salt and milk into it.
➻ Stir for some time and shift all the ingredients to a casserole that is greased lightly.
➻ Add the cheddar cheese concentrate, grated Parmesan cheese and hot sauce over it.
➻ Cook for 40-50 minutes in the casserole at a temperature of 375 degrees F.
➻ Before taking the food out of the casserole, check whether it is fully cooked.
On a concluding note, the symptoms of gout can be alleviated with the help of drugs, but following a low-purine diet can help in preventing gout attacks. If you have been diagnosed with gout, it would be best to consult a nutritionist or dietitian for finding out about the food items that you can safely consume, and the ones that you need to avoid.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.