Very High-Risk Foods
- Organ meats, such as liver, are extremely high in purine.Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images
Some foods have dramatically more purine than others. Very high-risk foods such as organ meats are the highest sources of purine, containing up to 1,000 mg per 3.5-oz. serving. Brains, kidneys and liver are among the most dangerous foods for gout sufferers. Anchovies and sardines are also extremely high in purine. Avoid these foods altogether if you are at risk for gout. Other oily or very rich meat products are likely to be high in purine.
High- and Moderately High-Risk Foods
- Even healthy vegetables can be high in purine.Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
Many foods have moderately high purine, between 5 and 100 mg per 3.5-oz. serving. These should be avoided as well, but ingesting some every now and then probably won't cause an extreme flare-up. Most meats have high levels of purines, especially beef, which it is best avoided if possible. Light meats like chicken and turkey and some fish are not as problematic. Asparagus, legumes, cauliflower and mushrooms also have moderately high levels of purine. Gout sufferers might notice inflammation from these foods, but outbreaks usually pass if people are cautious about their purine exposure.
Effects of Too Much Purine
- Gout flare-ups can make walking difficult and sometimes impossible.Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
Many people have no problem processing purine. Those who do, develop gout. Gout is a type of arthritis that manifests itself in the ankles, wrists, knees, fingers and elbows. Effects can range from an aching discomfort to an inability to move due to pain. Unlike other forms of arthritis, gout has two very distinct signs -- it causes a problem in a specific joint like an ankle or toe, and the effects can be noticed a day after consumption of food high in purine. The larger the quantity, the greater the inflammation. Doctors can also discover the presence of "gouty fluids" through blood work.
The Gout Diet
- It almost never hurts to drink a lot of water.Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
In addition to specific food choices, general methods can help keep gout flare-ups to a minimum. Be aware of your purine intake; limit protein from animals; and try to replace it with vegetable proteins. During an outbreak, avoid alcohol as it hinders the kidneys' ability to process purine. Low-fat and fat-free dairy products help reduce the risk of gout, as does avoidance of excessive sugars.