Uric acid is a natural waste product from the digestion of foods that contain purines. Purines are found in high levels in some foods such as:
- certain meats
- dried beans
Purines are also formed and broken down in your body.
Normally your body filters out uric acid through your kidneys and in urine. If you consume too much purine in your diet, or if your body can’t get rid of this byproduct fast enough, uric acid can build up in your blood.
Uric acid can collect in your body for many reasons. Some of these are:
- obesity or being overweight
Certain health disorders can also lead to high uric acid levels:
Read on to learn how you can lower uric acid levels in your body naturally.
Limit purine-rich foods
You can limit the source of uric acid in your diet. Purine-rich foods include some types of meat, seafood, and vegetables. All of these foods give off uric acid when they’re digested.
Avoid or reduce your intake of foods such as:
- organ meats
- fish and shellfish
- green peas
- dried beans
Avoid sugary foods
While uric acid is usually linked to protein-rich foods, recent studies show that sugar may also be a potential cause. Added sugars to food include table sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup, among others.
The sugar fructose is a main type of simple sugar in processed and refined foods. Researchers have found that this type of sugar in particular could lead to high levels of uric acid.
Check food labels for added sugars. Eating more whole foods and fewer refined packaged foods can also help you cut out sugars.
Avoid sugary beverages
Sugary drinks, soda, and even fresh fruit juices are concentrated with fructose sugar. Fructose from juice is absorbed faster than from foods that have to be broken down in your body. This spikes your blood sugar levels and also leads to higher amounts of uric acid.
Replace these drinks with filtered water and fiber-rich smoothies.
Drink more water
Drinking plenty of fluids helps your kidneys flush out uric acid faster. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. Set an alarm every hour to remind you to take a few sips.
Drinking alcohol can make you more dehydrated. It can also trigger high uric acid levels. This happens because your kidneys must first filter out products that occur in the blood due to alcohol instead of uric acid and other wastes. Some types of alcoholic drinks such as beer are also high in purines.
Along with your diet, extra pounds can raise uric acid levels. Fat cells make more uric acid than muscle cells. Additionally, carrying extra pounds makes it harder for your kidneys to filter out uric acid. Losing weight too quickly can also affect levels.
If you’re overweight, it’s best to avoid fad diets and crash dieting. Talk to a nutritionist about a healthy diet and weight loss plan that you can stick to. Your doctor can recommend a healthy weight goal for your body type.
Balance insulin levels
Have your blood sugar level checked when you visit your doctor. This is important even if you don’t have diabetes.
Adults with type 2 diabetes may have too much insulin in their bloodstream. This hormone is necessary to move sugar from your blood into your cells where it can power every bodily function. However, too much insulin leads to excess uric acid in the body, as well as weight gain.
Individuals with a condition called prediabetes may also have high insulin levels and a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Your doctor may want to check your serum insulin level in addition to your blood glucose level.
Add more fiber to your diet
Eating more fiber will help your body get rid of uric acid. Fiber can also help balance your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Add at least 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day with whole foods such as:
- fresh, frozen, or dried fruit
- fresh or frozen vegetables
Get more vitamin C
Medical research shows that vitamin C can help your body get rid of uric acid. It may also help reduce inflammation.
Add foods that are rich in this nutrient to your daily diet, such as:
- citrus fruits
- Brussels sprouts
- bell peppers
- tomato juice
Stress, poor sleeping habits, and too little exercise can increase inflammation. Inflammation may set off a high uric acid level.
Practice mindful techniques such as breathing exercises and yoga to help you cope with your stress levels. Join a class or use an app that reminds you to breathe and stretch several times a day.
Practice good sleep hygiene such as:
- avoiding digital screens for two to three hours before bedtime
- sleeping and waking at consistent times every day
- avoiding caffeine after lunchtime
Talk to your doctor if you have insomnia or difficulty staying asleep.
Check your medications and supplements
Some medications and supplements can also cause uric acid to build up in the blood. These include:
If you need to take any of these medications and you have hyperuricemia, your doctor can work with you to figure out a good alternative.
Diet, exercise and other healthy lifestyle changes can improve gout and other illnesses caused by high uric acid levels. However, they can’t always replace necessary medical treatment. Take all prescribed medications as directed by your doctor. The right combination of diet, exercise, and medications can help keep symptoms at bay.
There may seem to be a lot of foods that you need to avoid to help lower uric acid levels. The best way to limit these foods is by making a weekly meal plan. Talk to your nutritionist for help in making the best diet plan for you.
Keep a list of foods on your shopping list that you should eat, rather than what you can’t eat. Stick to the list as you grocery shop. You can also join an online support group for people with uric acid related illnesses for more ideas on how to prepare the best meals for you.