What to Eat and Avoid for a Diet Low in Purine

Purines are found naturally in some foods. While purines are not bad, high levels can cause a number of problems. Your body produces uric acid when it digests purine, and a buildup of uric acid can turn into crystals that go into your joints and cause pain and swelling. Uric acid crystals can lead to a condition called gout, which is a type of arthritis. To prevent these complications, you may have to stick to a low purine diet. It means you do not need to avoid purines completely, but you should limit your intake to avoid certain complications.

Foods to Eat

It is important to follow a low-purine diet when you do not want uric acid levels to go up. Here is what you can eat when limiting the amount of purine in your diet.

1. Proteins

Be very careful when going for high-protein food because they can be very high in purines. You should limit your intake of beef, fish, poultry, eggs, pork, or veal to 6 ounces/day. You can include nuts and nut butter in your diet, but be very careful with how much you eat. It is better to eat no more than two servings of dried beans and peas per week. Be sure to avoid all organ meats, such as liver as well as mackerel, herring, anchovies, and lobster.

2. Dairy

You can include dairy products in your diet when following a low purine diet. Yogurt, milk, and cheese are all sources of low-purine protein, and they also provide you with calcium. It is better to put your money on fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Do not opt for cream though. You should avoid full-fat versions because they are high in saturated fat, which makes it difficult to eliminate uric acid from your system. High fat can also lead to obesity that can increase your risk of developing gout.

3. Fruits and Vegetables

You can include fruits and veggies in your diet without having to worry about purines. They also provide you with a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Still, it is a good idea to limit your intake of mushrooms, spinach, cauliflower, and asparagus – have only two servings a week.

4. Grains and Starches

Grains can always be part of your low purine diet. You can enjoy rice, bread, and cereal. Starchy veggies such as potatoes provide you with complex carbs, so you can also include them in your diet. Oats are good, but do not eat more than 2/3 cup per day. You can also eat ¼ cup of wheat bran daily. Be sure to pay attention to the label when buying grains to ensure you do not eat more than what is recommended.

Foods to Avoid

It is important to learn what and how much of certain foods can be included in your low-purine diet, but there are certain foods that you should avoid completely. Alcohol, for instance, should be avoided. It is usually difficult for people to avoid it completely, and if that is the case with you, talk to your doctor to know how much of alcohol you can have daily.

Here is a list of foods that you should avoid when you have gout or are afraid of raising your uric acid levels.


High-fat biscuits, breads


Fried foods

Whole milk products

Salted fish

Cream sauces


Organ meats

Meat-based soup stocks

Desserts (high fat)

Baker's yeast

Tips to Remember

There are so many dos and don'ts when trying to limit your intake of purines, but it will all become easy once you manage to change your eating habits. You need to avoid looking at food with the lens of pleasure and understand that not paying attention to how much purine you eat can cause serious complications. Here are a few tips to help you design and stick to a low purine diet:

  • Work with your doctor to ensure that you really need a diet low in purine.
  • Educate yourself about uric acid and purines to learn how you can prevent gout flare-ups.
  • Avoid alcohol as much as possible, but if you really want some, go for wine instead of beer because it contains loads of yeast that facilitates the production of uric acid.
  • Increase your intake of water and fluids to help eliminate the uric acid from your system.
  • Opt for the Mediterranean diet to make things easier because it is naturally low in purine. It can work great to lower uric acid levels.
  • Pay attention to maintaining a healthy weight. You should exercise regularly and work with your doctor to learn healthy weight range for you. Failing to keep your weight in control would lead to obesity that increases the amount of stress on your joints and makes your gout worse. 
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