Purines are the building blocks of DNA or the main materials that make up our cell. When purines break down, they form uric acid. High level of uric acid can cause gout, which is a form of arthritis. This can be extremely painful and taking foods that are high in purines can make the problem even worse. If you have high level of uric acid in your body or you are suffering from gout, it’s best to avoid foods high in purines. Foods that contain 100 mg of purines or lower are considered low in purine. Those that have higher content than that must be avoided, especially those that contain 400 mg purines and up as they have the highest content.
Every 100 grams of brewer’s yeast contain 1810 mg of purines. Baker’s yeast has lower purine content than this, but it’s still high at 680 mg per 100 grams of baker’s yeast. Avoid beers and breads that contain yeast to prevent the build-up of uric acid in your system.
2. Cocoa Beans
The main compound called theobromine is what makes cocoa beans high in purines. Every kilogram of cocoa beans contains 25 grams of theobromine and every 100 grams of theobromine contains 2300 mg of purines! Since chocolates are made from cocoa, this means that they also contain theobromine. The amount of theobromine on dark chocolates is higher at around 10 grams per kilogram. Milk chocolates have lower theobromine content at 2 to 5 grams per kilogram. This compound is also found in cola nuts and tea.
You will get 239 mg of purines per 100 grams of anchovies. These salty little fishes are commonly added on salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. They are rich in vitamins, calcium, and zinc and they can help in weight loss, enhancing the skin, and protecting the heart. However, due to their high purine level, you should avoid them if you are suffering from gout.
This is one of the best sources of omega-3, which is good for the health of the heart. It’s also rich in vitamin B12, selenium, vitamin D, phosphorus, calcium, and niacin. Sardines have 345 mg of purines per 100 grams, which is also on the high end.
5. Calf’s Neck
Also known as sweetbread, this is the thymus or neck part of the calf that’s used in cooking. It is often used as stuffing, breaded and fried, or grilled. It’s high in purine as it contains 1,260 mg per 100 grams. Calf’s liver is also high in purine although not as high as the neck part. It contains 460 mg of purines per 100 grams.
Mushrooms are rich in minerals and vitamins. Whole and unprocessed mushrooms have lots of health benefits including the prevention of heart disease and diabetes, weight management, and boost of immune system. On the other hand, they have high level of purines as they contain 488 mg per 100 grams.
7. Ox Liver
This may no longer be that popular in modern cooking, but liver was used in several recipes many years ago. It is sautéed, baked, and added in various recipes. Liver is also rich in B vitamins, protein, and zinc. Every 100 grams of ox liver contains 554 mg of purines, which is why it’s not a good food option if you have high level of purines in your body. Ox spleen also has high purine content at 444 mg per 100 grams.
8. Pig’s Liver
Like the ox’s liver, the pig’s liver is also rich in protein and B vitamins. However, it also contains lots of purines. Every 100 grams of pig’s liver contains 515 mg of purines. Other pig parts also have high purine content. The pig’s heart has 530 mg of purines per 100 grams, pig’s lungs with 434 mg, and pig’s spleen with 516 mg.
9. Sheep’s Spleen
Sheep’s spleen is high in omega 3 fatty acids, selenium, and zinc. This helps in strengthening the immune system. This is however not recommended for those with high uric acid level as it contains 773 mg of purines per 100 grams.
Herrings are fishes, which are under the same group as sardines. They are commonly used in European dishes, and they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin D. They have high purine content as every 100 grams of these fishes have 219 mg of purines.
Important Notes to Remember
Purine doesn’t need to be completely eliminated because as stated, it is the building blocks of DNA and it is needed in the proper function of the system. However, it should be kept on the right level. Excessive level of purine is what’s not good. Make sure to avoid the foods listed above if you have high purine level in your system or suffering from gout as they are rich in purine or uric acid.