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Do you frequently suffer from painful kidney stones or gout? If so, you may be eating too many uric acid foods. Uric acid is a natural byproduct of metabolic processes. Having small amounts of this substance in the body is normal. Higher amounts, however, can have a damaging effect on your health.
What is Uric Acid?
Meats, medications and alcoholic beverages are considered high uric acid foods because they contain compounds called purines. When purines are digested, they are broken down into uric acid by the intestines and liver. The acid is then transported to the kidneys to be expelled through urine.
Most people can pass out uric acid easily. Others, however, are not so lucky. People with kidney problems usually have high levels of uric acid, a condition known as Hyperuricemia. Those at risk also include pregnant women, diabetics, cancer patients and men 65 years and older.
You can also suffer from hyperuricemia if your diet consists mainly of purine-rich foods. Overconsumption of foods like meats and seafood can produce an overwhelming amount of uric acid. When this happens, the acid crystalize and causes kidney and joint problems.
Symptoms of High Uric Acid
When uric acid crystals get deposited in the joints, they cause a condition called gout. People with gout can experience pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. Other common symptoms are tenderness in the big toe and peeling, itchy skin around affected joints.
Excessive amounts of uric acid can also trouble the kidney. When kidneys are affected, you may experience changes in urination, fatigue, muscle cramps, vomiting and pain. Kidney stones may form and cause pain in the abdomen as well as cloudy, brown, pink or red urine.
High Uric Acid Foods
As mentioned earlier, uric acid levels can be increased by certain foods. High uric acid foods include organ meats like animal liver and kidneys. Some seafood also has high purine content, particularly sardines, scallops, anchovies and herring. Beer-lovers should consider scaling down their intake as well.
Low Uric Acid Foods
Fortunately, there are foods you can eat to normalize your uric acid levels. Citrus fruits like lemon, lime and oranges contain both citric acid and vitamin C, which help dissolve uric acid crystals. Other great fruits for treating hyperuricemia include blueberries, apples and cherries.
Vegetable juices are also excellent remedies. Because they are alkaline, they help neutralize the acidic environment. If you are not a fan of vegetable juice, try a smoothie instead. Throw in some low-fat dairy, fresh apples, a handful of whole grains and sunflower seeds for a potent drink.
To keep uric acid levels under control, start your day with a cup of green tea or lemon water. Adding pinto beans, lentils, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables to meals is also a great way to load up on low uric acids foods.
Keeping your uric acid levels in check can protect your body from kidney malfunction, gout and many other conditions. Watch your meat, seafood and alcohol intake, and try to fill your diet with as many vegetables, fruits and seeds as you can.