Purines are compounds found in many foods that break down in your body to form uric acid as a waste product. While your body naturally has purines, the combination of your body’s and those in your diet can mean uric acid levels that are too high. Eating foods high in purines is associated with increased risk for gout, a form of arthritis that causes swelling, discomfort and pain, especially in your joints. If your physician recommends a low-purine diet, most vegetables are options for you. A few exceptions exist, however, and should be avoided.
If you love a fresh, green salad for lunch or dinner, you are adding options low in purines. MayoClinic.com recommends eating a green salad for lunch and or dinner. If you prepare it with lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, celery sticks, onions and soybeans, you have a healthy, low-purine salad option. However, do not make your salad with spinach if you want a strictly low-purine meal, as spinach is considered a medium-purine food, according to Drugs.com.
While most vegetables are considered low in purines, you may need to be cautious about how you prepare the vegetables to ensure they stay that way. For example, vegetable soups should not be prepared with meat-based broth, bouillon and consommé as these are considered high-purine foods, Drugs.com notes. You can prepare cream-style vegetable soups, but they should be made with low-fat milk instead of full-fat cream or milk options. You also should avoid preparing vegetables with meat products, such as cooking ground beef or bacon into beans, as this increases the purine content. When preparing your veggies, remember that fresh is best.
Foods to Avoid
Some vegetables can be considered high in purines and should be avoided in favor of low-purine foods. Dried beans, lentils and peas, especially green peas, are on the medium-purine foods list, notes Drugs.com. Asparagus, mushrooms and cauliflower also are vegetables that can be higher in purines and should be avoided in favor of other low-purine vegetables when possible. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recommends limiting these foods to two servings per week. Note that different foods also can affect you differently. If you notice you experience unpleasant side effects associated with eating a certain vegetable, you may wish to avoid it as well.
Other examples of low-purine vegetables include broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, red pepper and Swiss chard. By adding these and other colorful veggies to your list, you can consume a low-purine diet that won’t add to your waistline.
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