When too much uric acid builds up in the body, it can manifest in one of the most painful forms of arthritis known as Gout. This issue is more prevalent among men than women, and is commonly the result of poor dietary habits, so changing what you eat is one of the best ways to treat it.
How Uric Acid Affects The Body
Normal uric acid levels are:
- Men: 3.4–7.0mg/dL
- Women: 2.4–6.0 mg/dL
Factors That Contribute to a High Uric Acid Level
These include a diet high in purines, as they are broken down into uric acid, excess alcohol consumption, renal insufficiency, obesity, underactive thyroid, genetics, endocrine or metabolic conditions like diabetes or acidosis, and certain other diseases.
Certain cancers, chemotherapy agents and other medications, such as diuretics, may also contribute to it. Exercising, fasting and crash dieting may elevate uric acid levels temporarily.
High Uric Acid Levels & Gout are not always a result of the foods we consume. Sometimes it’s a result of the body’s inability to get rid of uric acid for other reasons. If you’ve been affected by one of the following issues, you’ll need to get proper treatment to keep your gout in check:
- Some people with gout have an enzyme defect that makes it very difficult for the body to break down purines.
- Some people have gout as a result of being exposed to lead in the environment.
- People who have had an organ transplant are particularly susceptible.
There are some tips and natural remedies that can help reduce and control uric acid levels. In addition, proper diagnosis and treatment by a healthcare professional is a must.
Best Ways to Control Uric Acid Levels
Foods to Avoid
Avoid vegetables, fruits and legumes high in uric acid, and watch non-meat products that are also naturally high in purines. These foods tend to contribute to the formation of uric acid in the blood. The following vegetables, fruits and legumes have high uric acid:
Avoid High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Fructose increases uric acid, so avoid beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup as well as desserts and other items that contain this substance. It’s important to read food packages carefully, because HFCS is present in a lot of different items, even those that don’t necessarily taste sweet, like bread and certain snack foods.
Avoid Fried & High Fat Foods
Eating a lot of saturated fat (this does not include coconut oil) has been shown to inhibit the body’s ability to process uric acid.
Follow A Low-Purine Diet
Purines are nitrogen-containing compounds that break down into uric acid, which increases levels in the body, and are mostly found in animal proteins. It is beneficial to steer clear of animal proteins like meats, organ meats, fish and poultry. Legumes, yeast, mushrooms, asparagus and beans are also high in purine. Beer is also rich in purine.
Foods That Help Lower Uric Acid Levels
Foods high in dietary fiber help lower uric acid levels by absorbing it and eliminating it from the body. You can also eat foods with starchy carbohydrates as they contain only small amounts of purine.
Whole grains, apples, pears, oranges and strawberries are some examples of high-fiber foods that you can incorporate in your meals. Starchy carbohydrates are foods like brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, potato, oats and bananas.
You can also drink green papaya tea to prevent the buildup of uric acid and treat uric acid and gout related problems. The papain in green papaya helps the body maintain an alkaline state and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Drinking plenty of water helps filter uric acid from the body, as it helps dilute the uric acid and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate excess amounts through urine.
Plus, drinking adequate water regularly can reduce the risk of recurrent gout attacks. In an internet-based study presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, researchers found that participants who drank five to eight glasses of water in the 24-hour period prior to a possible gout attack had a 40% decreased risk of an attack compared with those who drank only one glass of water or less.
- Drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water throughout the day.
- Also, include more fluids and fresh, water-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural cleanser and detoxifier that is wonderful for helping remove wastes from the body. It also contains malic acid that helps break down and eliminate uric acid. Apple cider vinegar also helps restore the alkaline acid balance in the body and provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
- Add one teaspoon of raw, organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.
- Drink this solution two or three times a day.
You can gradually increase the amount of apple cider vinegar up to two tablespoons per glass of water and continue this remedy until your uric acid levels come down.
Note: Do not take apple cider vinegar in excess as it may decrease potassium levels in the body, and can interfere with diuretic drugs.
Though it may seem that lemon juice will make the body more acidic, in actuality, it causes an alkaline effect and helps neutralize uric acid. Plus, its vitamin C content also helps lower uric acid levels.
- Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a glass of warm water. Drink it in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Continue for at least a few weeks.
Cherries & Tart Cherry Juice
Cherries, tart cherry juice and dark berries contain chemicals that help reduce uric acid levels. Plus, purple and blue-colored berries contain flavonoids called anthocyanins that help lower uric acid and reduce inflammation and stiffness.
- Eat one-half cup of cherries daily for a few weeks, and you can also drink one or two cups of tart cherry juice for about four weeks.
- Also, add blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, and other vitamin C and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Baking soda is highly beneficial for lowering uric acid levels and reducing gout pain. It helps maintain the natural alkaline balance in the body and makes the uric acid more soluble and easier to flush out of the kidneys.
- Mix one-half teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water.
- Drink up to four glasses of this daily for two weeks. You can drink it every two to four hours.
Note: Do not use this remedy on a regular basis. Also, do not follow this remedy if you suffer from high blood pressure. People age 60 or older should not drink more than three glasses of this baking soda solution daily.
Olive Oil & Coconut Oil
Most vegetable oils turn into rancid fats when heated or processed so you need to be avoiding those at all costs. The rancid fats destroy the vital vitamin E in the body, which is essential for controlling uric acid levels.
Opt for cold-pressed olive oil or coconut oil rather than using vegetable oil, butter or shortening in your cooking and baking. Olive & coconut oil both remain stable when heated. Plus, they are high in vitamin E and antioxidants, and have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Keep Your Weight In Check
People who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for developing gout, and losing weight can help keep gout in check.
Cut Back On Alcohol, Especially Beer
Beer is WELL known to increase uric acid, and it should be completely avoided to combat gout and high uric acid levels. Wine, however, shouldn’t increase uric acid if it’s consumed in small quantities.
Image Credits: Flickr