What foods are uric acid found in?

Ah yes, uric acid – the enemy of arthritis sufferers and lovers of rich foods everywhere. But where does this pesky substance come from, you may ask?

In short; it comes from a chemical reaction between purines in our bodies and fructose in our food. In long; well.. let’s break it down.

Purine what now?

Purines are natural substances found throughout our body that aid in important processes like turning food into energy or maintaining healthy DNA. However, when purines break down they also create uric acid as a byproduct.

Now before you freak out and swear off all biological functions, keep in mind that your body is perfectly equipped to handle small amounts of uric acid without issue! It’s only when too much is produced or not removed properly that issues arise… but more on that later.

Fructose – the Not-So-Sweet Culprit

Oh fructose, why do you have to ruin everything for us? This simple sugar is naturally found in fruits but can also be artificially added to sweeten processed foods (coughhighfructosecornsyrupcough).

When we consume excess fructose (notice I said excess, don’t worry about eating fruit normally) two things happen: firstly, it spikes insulin levels which can lead to inflammation (gross). Secondly, it causes increased production of purines. And as previously mentioned.. urate-> uric acid -> joints pain flare-ups & gout 🙃

If only sweets didn’t taste so dang good sometimes..

High-Purine Foods to Avoid

So now we know what contributes to over-production/under-removal of UA (ahem high-fructose corn syrup), but what about foods with high levels of purines themselves? Turns out these little buggers occur naturally in certain foods as well.

Here are some to watch out for:

  • Organ Meats 😳
    • liver
    • kidney
    • heart
  • Meat extracts & Broths 🍖
  • Seafood 🦞🐟
    • anchovies
    • sardines
    • shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster, etc.)

Now don’t go cancelling all your dinner plans just yet! Moderation is key and these foods can still be enjoyed every now and then. Balance it out with lower-purine options like veggies or low-fat dairy that naturally help remove UA from the body.

Low-Purine Foods to Embrace

Don’t let those pesky high-puse meat lovers get you down. There’s still plenty of delicious moutherwatering food available!

Here’s a list of the much kinder-to-your-joints options:

  • Veggie Delights 🥦🥕🧄
  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • broccoli
    …and most other veggies!
  • Fruits (except for sweeteners/processed) 🍎🍊🍒
  • Whole Grains & Breads 🥪
    (!) fun fact: studies have found that whole wheat actually helps reduce uric acid levels in the blood.

So if you’re feeling blue because you can’t feast on bacon-wrapped filet mignon tonight (sigh), remember there are still plenty more delicious cuts of meat AND non-meat entrees waiting for your tasting pleasure!

Other Factors Affecting Uric Acid Levels

Alright alright let’s say you’ve cleaned up your diet and replaced all sugary snacks with celery sticks. Why do gout attacks keep happening?? Welp friends.. there are several other factors that contribute to uric acid woes beyond food alone.

  1. Genetics 🧬
    • sorry to say, but some of us are just more prone to uric acid buildup & gout based on inherited traits.
  2. Age ⏳
    • as we age.. our kidneys aren’t as efficient at removing UA
  3. Gender 👥
    • men have a higher risk/diagnosis rate for gout then women (thanks testosterone!)
  4. Medical conditions 💉
    • high blood pressure
    • diabetes
      …to name a few culprits.

BUT the good news is there are lifestyle changes and medications available that can greatly reduce the frequency/severity of attacks! Don’t let UA take over your life- fight back!

The Bottom Line

So what foods contain uric acid? A quick recap:

  • Uric Acid is not found in food per-se, but rather produced by our bodies during purine breakdown..
  • Foods with high levels of purines include seafood, meat extracts/broths, and organ meats…
    …whilst low-purine veggies/grains/fruit are still very much up for grabs!
  • Remember- other factors like genetics or health status can also affect uric acid levels so don’t neglect medical advice and check-ups

And most importantly: just because certain foods may aggravate your condition doesn’t mean you have to give them up entirely forever! Moderation is key to living happily ever after… with steady joints 😉

Bon appétit my friends!

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