Purines are a compound that exists in body cells and foods. When break down, one of its by-products is uric acid. For most people, uric acid is beneficial because it works as an antioxidant and maintains the health of blood vessels. Healthy levels of uric acid are maintained by the kidneys throughout the digestive process. Unfortunately, when kidneys struggle to do this, excess uric acid may exist in the body and circulate through the blood, which may lead to painful medical conditions such as gout.
How to Control Uric Acid
Heightened levels of uric acid can be an indication of other health related problems such as insulin resistance, hypertension and obesity. Lifestyle changes are essential to treating it and preventing disorders associated with excess uric acid. Here let's talk about how to control excessive accumulation of uric acid.
1. Know What to Eat
Proper diet can be a life changer when it comes to treating any number of medical conditions that are caused by imbalances within the body. For controlling uric acid, here is a list of dietary changes that should be made.
- Increase potassium in diet. Potassium contains citrate which has the ability to neutralize uric acid and hinder formation of crystals. These crystals collected around joints can cause substantial, sometimes debilitating, pain for patients. Bananas are known to be one of the best sources of potassium; however, its natural sugar level means that these should be enjoyed in moderation. Avocado, dates, oranges and cantaloupe all contain healthy amounts of potassium and have other beneficial nutrients your body needs. It is also recommended to add more vegetables into your diet, like beans, squash, carrots, potatoes and artichokes.
- Increase water consumption. How to control uric acid? Drink more water! Water is essential to keeping the kidneys functioning properly. It helps flush out the digestive system faster which decreases the amount of uric acid produced. Water also assists in detoxifying the body. Individuals struggling with excess uric acid should aim to drink 10 to 12 8-ounce glasses of filtered water per day. If you are the type of person who does not enjoy plain water, consider flavoring it with fruits that are ideal for decreasing uric acid. Some blends to try include mint, cucumber, lemon, cantaloupe, orange, strawberries, mango, kiwi, etc.
- Add quercetin-rich foods. The antioxidant quercetin is known to reduce inflammation from high uric acid levels. Individuals suffering from gout pain or other conplications due to high levels of acid levels may want to consider increasing foods with quercetin. Quercetin is easily absorbed into the body and can be found in several every day foods including apples, green and black tea, onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, and dark, leafy greens. Alternatively, you can choose to take a natural quercetin supplement. The expert recommended dosage is 250 mg, up to four times per day.
- Incorporate cream of tartar. Cream of tartar helps stimulate pancreas to release certain digestive juices to alkalize your blood and urine, and assists in breaking down uric acid. The easiest way to incorporate this is to simply add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of this cream to 8 ounces of water. Mix well and drink twice per day.
2. Know What to Avoid
In order to know how to control uric acid, you not only have to know what to eat, but also have to know what to avoid in your daily diet.
- Purine-rich foods. Purine in the body causes uric acid production. If your uric acid levels are elevated, then you need to avoid foods rich in purine. Primarily this includes red meats such as venison, beef and veal, and organ meats such as tongue and liver. Some vegetables are also high in purine such as mushrooms, peas, asparagus, cauliflower and spinach. Lastly, avoid sea foods like codfish, haddock, scallops, sardines, trout, fish eggs, mackerel and anchovies.
- Alcohol. Drinking alcohol contribute to dehydration which makes it difficult for your body to properly excrete uric acid. Alcoholic beverages are also a source of purine which causes the body to produce more uric acid. In particular, the American Dietetic Association has cautioned against beer and other yeast beverages because it causes a surge in uric acid and contributes to gout flare up.
- Artificial Fructose. Canned juices, soft drinks, and many other fruit-flavored beverages use artificial fructose sweeteners. The body struggles to break them down which can lead to overproduction of uric acid.
- Too much sodium is never good for the body, raising blood pressure and uric acid levels. The standard American diet is already rich or excessive in sodium. Stick with low sodium foods and avoid adding extra sodium in the form of table salt to your meals.
- Fried Foods is another food category that should be avoided. Hydrogenated oils are bad for your digestive system and tend to be saturated in your fried foods. As an alternative, you can always bake those breaded goodies. However, try to make them fresh at home instead of purchasing pre-made items which are typically already fried.
- Refined carbohydrates. How to control uric acid? Reduce refined foods. The body processes carbohydrates into sugar for energy. An influx in refined carbs can contribute to high uric acid levels and possibly lead to insulin resistance.
3. Take Medications
If excessive uric acid seems to be a problem for you like having gout, contact your physician for appropriate testing. Certain medications can be prescribed to block the production of uric acid. These medications include Ulocic, Zyloprim, Lopurin and Aloprim. They work with your body to limit the amount of uric acid produced. Pharmaceuticals may also be prescribed to improve the body’s ability to remove uric acid. Side effects for all medications to treat uric acid may include kidney stones, stomach pain, rash and nausea.