Having a high level of uric acid? Stop taking dal, milk, egg, red meat, ladies’ finger, alcohol, white rice, etc. Sounds familiar?
But the question is what do we eat then? What are the regular foods available in India can be safe in the condition like high uric acid? See, it’s easy to say a NO to food but finding five other safe alternatives is always a challenge.
This blog is all about guiding you to get enough alternatives to make your daily Indian diet nutritious and balanced for people having high uric acid.
Indian diet guide for patients with high uric acid
- Is there any family history of high uric acid?
- Are you eating too much of seafood, red meat, organ meat etc?
- Are you drinking too much of alcohol these days?
- Are you taking any diuretic drug – the drug which makes you urinate more to relieve water retention?
- Are you having hypothyroidism/ psoriasis or obesity?
- Are you having any kidney related problem?
If you are nodding for any of the above conditions, that might be the reason for your high uric acid problem.
However, whatever be the reason dietary modification is a must along with few lifestyle changes. Otherwise more joint pain, lathery, and progression towards gout, kidney stone, etc is most likely to happen in near future.
Uric acid is a metabolic waste in our body produced from foods containing purine. The uric acid level gets high mostly when the kidney fails to eliminate the uric acid from your body.
Diet goal for high uric acid patients
The normal range for uric acid in blood –
- Adult male – 4.0- 8.5 mg/dl or , 0.24 – 0.51 mmol/L
- Adult female – 2.7 – 7.3 mg/ dl or, 0.16 – 0.43 mmol/L
To improve the situation, your diet goal should be –
- Limit the purine intake – Replace high purine containing foods with low purine containing ones.
- Try to achieve normal body weight
- Try to balance your insulin level
- Keep the body clean – drink more fluid and consume more alkaline food
The essential nutrients of the diet –
In Indian diet, carbohydrate is the main source of energy. Therefore no matter how overweight you are, you can’t ignore carbohydrates. 60% of your diet calorie must come from it. However, you can choose the correct form of carbohydrate to control the uric acid as well as to prevent any insulin spike.
Studies show that insulin resistance ( i.e sugar staying in the blood instead of getting into cells) plays a role to develop high uric acid and gout which again makes the insulin resistance worst.
Say NO to refined flour
Even though refined flour has low purine content, it shoots insulin levels like crazy. Therefore, if you are eager to see a difference, stop consuming foods that contain refined flour like biscuits, bread, and other bakery products, instant noodles/ pasta, etc for better insulin response. Get ready to say bye to all yummy, easy to eat, ultra-processed packaged foods and try to incorporate whole grains.
Do I switch to brown rice?
Not exactly, rather try to bring a balance here.
Digesting brown rice on a regular basis is not easy. Especially, if you suffering from acidity, indigestion, IBS, etc. Try to take single polished steam rice instead of brown rice. This kind of rice is a perfect balance of fiber, nutrition, and taste which also helps to keep the insulin in check.
If you are a white rice fan, have it occasionally controlling the portion size.
Feel free to add rice products like – murmura (puffed rice), chirwa (flaked rice), khoi (popped rice) as healthy breakfast/ snack option.
How about roti/brown bread/ multigrain bread?
If you are not gluten sensitive, include whole wheat flour in your regular diet. That means you can still enjoy chapatti/ roti/ phulka/ paratha mindfully.
However having brown bread replacing white bread is not a smart choice.
Why? Just read the ingredient list of the popular brown bread / whole wheat bread in India is generally refined flour mixed with a small percentage of whole wheat flour or multigrain flour.
Wheat products like – suji (semolina), dalia (broken rice), noodles/ pasta (made with semolina/whole wheat), etc are also fine for occasional breakfast/evening snack.
How about millet?
Millets- jawar, bajra, ragi, buckwheat – are good combinations of starch and fiber. Therefore having millet roti/ porridge/ khichri etc in high uric acid found to be a safe option.
Is oats safe in high uric acid?
Oat contain 50 -150 mg of purine per 100 g. Therefore it is better to control the consumption of oats. Having oats twice a week is safe.
Is sugar okay?
Sugar is the simplest form of carbohydrate. Sugar is not only low in purine content but low in nutrients. So, being an empty calorie sugar especially refined sugar containing foods are to be avoided.
Most of the ultra-processed and packaged ready to eat/ drink foods are loaded with sugar. There are approximately 59 different names of sugar that are also added to these foods. Fructose is one such form of sugar.
When the body breaks down fructose, it forms purines, which in turn produce uric acid. Therefore foods containing fructose, high fructose corn syrup like packaged juice, carbonated drinks even natural fruit juice, etc must be avoided at all cost.
Too much whole grain in the diet is also not beneficial. No matter how healthy is the cereal, moderation, and variety are the key. Always combine your cereal with vegetables to increase fiber. This will give you a more balanced insulin response and will also help to lose weight.
A high protein diet also means a high purine diet. However, a high protein diet generally has a uricosuric effect (i.e uric acid excreted through urine and maintains the blood uric acid level). But, for managing high uric acid, you must be careful with your protein consumption.
It has been often found to reduce purine load in diet, people start avoiding all the protein sources and develop protein deficiency.
Are meat/ fish/ egg safe?
Animal organs like the liver, kidney, brain, spleen, etc contain an extremely high amount of purine and the purine content in seafood and fish goes very high because of the drying process. It’s better to avoid organ meat and dried or canned seafood & fish completely.
Otherwise, the flesh of fish/chicken/ red meat and the fish roe is moderately high to moderate in purine. Therefore controlled consumption is always suggested.
From this aspect egg has been found to be very safe. It is naturally low in purine content.
What about having dal in high uric acid condition?
Lentils, dried beans, soybeans, etc contain a moderate amount of purine, so instead of saying no, controlled portion size is best to follow.
If you are a vegetarian, include a small bowl of dal or sprouts, or soybean in your daily diet. It can be mong (green gram), masoor(lentil), tuver (red gram), rajmah, moth anything.
Actually, it’s all about the purine load as a whole. So you need to choose your food smartly. Keep only one moderately high purine content food at a time. Don’t just look at the purine content of the foods, consider the other nutrients too.
For example, beer and green peas both have moderately high purine content. Which one will you pick for better nutrition?
But yes, the quantity and frequency should be in control.
Can one have milk and milk products?
Low-fat milk and milk products are safe for patients with high uric acid. Low fat dairy products found to be beneficial to reduce uric acid levels.
Therefore, consumption of skimmed milk, curd, buttermilk, homemade paneer, etc is fine in this condition.
So what’s the final verdict on daily protein intake?
Please note, the Indian diet is generally cereal-based which is absolutely aligns with our climate. Even if you are a non-vegetarian, fish/ meat/ chicken is just a part of your diet (along with dal and sabzi) not the entire meal. So relax.
Don’t just get panicked and stop consuming animal protein or dal or milk and milk products.
Remember these are the natural source of good quality protein. No matter what, protein is an essential constituent in your body. So you can’t really afford to be protein deficient.
Act smart. If you are not lactose intolerant or struggle with milk allergy, keep low-fat milk and milk products on the daily diet. If you consume an egg, keep one for every day.
Add a bowl of dal to your vegetarian diet on a daily basis. If you are a non-vegetarian pick either1 katori of dal or 1 medium piece of fish or 2-3 pieces of chicken in the diet. If you want, feel free to indulge in a dip like hummus a few times a month. You can still consume besan chilla/ sattu water/ pakori etc. Just remember anyone for a day.
Possible plan for your protein distribution –
|Meal||Possible protein source||Purine Load|
|Breakfast||Egg / Milk||Low|
|Lunch||Dal/ fish/ Chicken||Moderate|
|Dinner||Milk or milk products||Low|
For controlling high uric acid, saturated fat consumption should be in control. Therefore red meat, milk fat, etc are to be avoided. Red meat anyway comes under the yellow category which is to be taken in limit. So don’t stress.
It’s good to go for a low-fat variety of milk and milk products. Subscribe for low-fat milk and make the milk products like curd, paneer, buttermilk, etc at home. Avoid purchasing the packaged curd/ buttermilk or paneer to reduce the load of preservatives and other additives.
Which cooking oil will be safe?
Use unrefined cooking oil for daily use. You can go for kachhi ghani mustard oil or double-filtered groundnut oil or sesame oil, cold-pressed coconut oil as your tradition and choice. Do not make the mistake of using olive oil for Indian cooking.
Avoid refined oil at all costs, even if it’s refined olive oil. A teaspoon of ghee or butter is fine as long as you are using it only once a day.
Are nuts and seeds fine?
Add nuts and seeds for the supply of good fat – omega 3 fatty acids. Include walnut, almond, flaxseed, peanut -kind of nuts and seed mixture in daily diet. But don’t exceed the quantity from more than a fist. Roasted or soaked nuts and seeds are great snack choice for overall betterment of health.
How about peanut/ peanut butter?
As mentioned before, peanut comes under low purine containing food. Taking a handful of roasted peanuts is perfectly fine. If you are a peanut butter fan, you may take a tablespoon of homemade peanut butter too.
Vitamins and Minerals –
Just like a normal human, patients with high uric acid do need a constant supply of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants as per regular dietary allowance.
Vitamin C is essential –
However, vitamin C plays an important role in this condition. Supplementation of vitamin C found to be helpful to reduce serum uric acid levels. Therefore, add 1-2 citrus fruit – lime, lemon, orange, mosambi, alma, guava, tomato, etc – to your daily diet. Start your day with a glass of freshly squeezed lemon water and later add another vitamin C-rich fruit to the diet. However, don’t try to drink fruit juice (freshly prepared or packaged) because of it’s fructose load. Whole fruit is the best choice for high uric acid conditions.
What about choosing vegetables?
Add green leafy vegetables, roots and tubers, and other vegetables in the daily diet for essential micronutrient supply. Consume various types of gourd, cucumber, squash, beetroot, carrot, potato, radish, pumpkin, kohlrabi, ladies finger, etc regularly.
Spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, dry peas, broccoli, etc are comparatively little higher in purine content compared to other fruits and vegetables. However, purine-rich vegetables are not associated with the risk of gout. So feel free to consume loads of fresh vegetables and fruits on regular basis.
Yeast and mushroom comes under high to moderately high purine content foods. It’s better to keep these intake under control.
Are fruits safe if not fructose?
Yes, fruits are the source of many vitamins, minerals, and of course fructose(fruit sugar). As mentioned earlier that fructose enhances uric acid level, which might make you think then fruit consumption might not be safe.
Always check the fructose source is giving you only fructose or many other nutrients. We must understand the nutritional benefit a food is bringing in the diet. Carbonated drinks, packaged fruit juice contain fructose with no other nutrients thus they have a much worst effect on our body. Whereas whole fruits even after containing fructose come with a lot of other micronutrients, soluble and insoluble fiber which has multiple health benefits as well. Therefore never say never to whole fruits and vegetables.
Water and other fluid –
If you are struggling to fix high uric acid level, water is your best friend. Drink plenty of water to help the body to flush out the waste.
Limit alcohol intake. It makes your body more and more dehydrated and increases the uric acid level. Stop having beer completely.
A study found intake of coffee is helpful to reduce the uric acid level.
As mentioned earlier, consuming fruit juice neither the commercial packaged one nor the homemade one is not a good idea for high uric acid patients. Rather try having whole fruits.
List of Indian food choices for patients with high uric acid –
|Category||Say NO||Keep a check||Say YES|
|Cereal and products||Refined flour||Oats||Single polished rice, wheat flour, millets, corn|
|Pulse and products||Fermented soy product||Any dal, sprouts, besan, sattu , soybean|
|Vegetables||Asparagas, Spinach, Cauliflour, Mashroom, Broccoli||Potato, carrot, gourd, pumpkin, ladies finger, tomato,|
|Fruits||Packaged fruit juice, Fresh fruit juice||Whole fruit, seasonal fruit, citrus fruit, cherry|
|Nuts & Seeds||Sunflower seed||Peanut, walnut, almond, flaxseed|
|Milk and milk products||Full fat milk||Low fat milk, low fat curd/ buttermilk/ paneer|
|Non vegetarian foods||Animal organ, seaweed, dry fish, canned fish, seasfood||Fish, chicken, red meat, fish roe||Egg|
|Sugar and products||Refined sugar||Sugar, jaggery, honey|
|Fats and oil||Refined oil, animal fat, milk fat||Kachhi ghani oil, double filtered oil, ghee, homemade butter|
Quick tips –
- Keep an eye on your body weight. Don’t look for overnight fast weight loss. It will create more mess. Rather try for gradual health gain.
- Plan your diet to balance the insulin response. Insulin spike increase uric acid level. Insulin stimulate the re-absorption of uric acid in our body.
- Chose whole grains over the refined cereal products
- For vegetarians, control pulse intake but don’t stop it completely. Consume a small bowl of any type of dal once a day.
- Egg and low fat milk and milk products are your friends. Keep them in daily diet.
- For non vegetarian, keep any one source of animal protein in diet and control the portion size. Try to avoid non vegetable foods at least 1-2 days a week if possible.
- Don’t forget good fat like nuts and seeds in diet.
- Try to keep inflammation in control therefore anti-inflammatory foods, alkaline foods are to be included.
- Add vitamin C rich fruits in your list along with some other seasonal fruit.
- Keep variety choosing pulse, vegetables, fruits and even for cereals.
- Drink enough water.
- Try to manage stress better. Stress has direct relation with uric acid.
- Engage doing some form of exercise everyday what makes you happy.
- Try to catch deep good sleep
Gone are days when the entire nutrition conversation was around calorie intake. Focus on the nutrients now. Select foods based on their nutrient contribution. A high protein diet means a high purine diet but creating a deficiency in protein in order to avoid protein is not something desirable. Control and avoid consuming high purine containing foods. Try to keep a balance on purine load for every meal. Include loads of fruits, vegetables, whole grain, nuts and seeds, and at least one protein-rich food in every meal to keep the balance intact. Plan smart, adopt, and relax. You will be fine.