Certain health conditions, as well as diet and genetics, can cause high levels of uric acid. Dietary changes, such as avoiding alcohol and limiting certain foods and beverages, may help lower levels.

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:

  • red meat
  • organ meats
  • sardines
  • beer

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 by-product fast enough, uric acid can build up in your blood.

A normal uric acid level is under 6.8 mg/dL. A high uric acid level (above 6.8 mg/dL) is known as hyperuricemia. This can lead to a disease called gout that causes painful joints that accumulate urate crystals. It can also make your blood and urine too acidic.

Uric acid can collect in your body for many reasons. Some of these are:

  • diet
  • genetics
  • 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.

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:

  • red meat
  • organ meats
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • poultry

Results from a 2020 study suggest that lowering your intake of purine-rich vegetables may not affect uric acid levels.

Find tips for following a low-purine diet here.

Sugary foods

While high levels of uric acid are commonly linked to a protein-rich diet, sugar intake may also play a role.

Fructose is a natural sugar found in fruit and honey. As your body breaks down fructose, it releases purines and increases uric acid levels.

Other types of sugars added to food include table sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup, among others.

Take steps to lower the amount of sugar you consume with these steps:

  • Eat more whole foods.
  • Limit processed, packaged foods.
  • Check food labels for added sugars.
  • Quench sugar cravings with fresh fruit.

Sugary beverages

Sugary drinks, soda, and even fresh fruit juices are often high in sugar.

The fructose in beverages is absorbed quicker than sugars in whole foods because beverages don’t contain fiber, protein, or other nutrients. Research shows this faster absorption of refined sugars spikes your blood sugar levels and also leads to higher amounts of uric acid.

Replace sugary drinks with:

  • water
  • sparkling water
  • unsweetened herbal, black, or green tea
  • coffee (without added sugar)

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. Research shows it can also trigger high uric acid levels.

Certain types of alcohol, such as beer, contain a higher purine content than others. However, even alcoholic beverages that are lower in purines can increase purine production in the body.

Alcohol increases the metabolism of nucleotides, another source of purines that can be turned into uric acid.

Alcohol also affects the rate at which uric acid is secreted, which can lead to increased levels in the blood.

Research shows that drinking coffee may help reduce serum uric acid levels in two main ways:

  • It competes with the enzyme that breaks down purines in the body, which lowers the rate of uric acid production.
  • It increases the rate at which your body excretes uric acid.

Though other research suggests there’s insufficient evidence in support of caffeine’s ability to lower uric acid levels. A newer study found that frequent coffee intake was not significantly associated with hyperuricemia risk. Researchers note that further studies are needed to clarify whether or not coffee may impact uric acid levels.

Obesity may contribute to elevated uric acid levels. Carrying around extra pounds can increase uric acid production and decrease the excretion of uric acid through the urine.

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 follow. Your doctor can recommend a healthy weight goal for your body type.

Research shows that hyperuricemia is related to the development of diabetes and related complications. People who have high blood sugar, such as those living with prediabetes or diabetes, are also at an increased risk of the negative consequences of hyperuricemia. However, more research is needed to explore this link.

Have your blood sugar level checked when you visit your doctor. This is important even if you don’t have diabetes mellitus.

Your doctor may want to check your serum insulin level in addition to your blood glucose level if insulin resistance is suspected.

Eating more fiber can help reduce uric acid levels. Fiber can also help balance your blood sugar and insulin levels. It also tends to increase satiety, helping to lower the risk of overeating.

Most adults should aim to get 22 to 34 grams of fiber in their diet through food sources such as:

  • chickpeas
  • lentils
  • nuts
  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • oats
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • apples
  • pears

Slowly increase your fiber intake to avoid digestive discomfort.

Some research has found that high vitamin C intake can help lower uric acid levels. However, more studies are needed to help understand exactly how vitamin C impacts uric acid levels in the body.

Talk to your doctor about whether or not increasing your vitamin C intake may be beneficial. The daily recommended intake of vitamin C is between 75 to 120 mg for most adults, though upper daily limits max out at 2,000 mg.

You can get more vitamin C through your diet, by eating more fruits and vegetables, such as

  • oranges
  • grapefruit
  • kiwi
  • strawberries
  • cantaloupe
  • red and green peppers
  • broccoli
  • tomatoes

Over-the-counter vitamin C supplements are also available.

Research has found that eating cherries and drinking cherry juice can help lower uric acid levels in people living with gout. Follow-up studies are needed to determine the long-term effects of cherry intake on uric acid levels.

Cherries contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory compound which gives them their red color. They’re also a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

Consider snacking on a handful of cherries or sipping on some unsweetened tart cherry juice.

Some medications and supplements can cause uric acid to build up in the blood. These include:

If you need to take any of these medications and you have hyperuricemia, work with your doctor to figure out a good alternative.

Diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle changes can help 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 lower high uric acid levels and keep symptoms at bay.

It may seem as if there are a lot of foods 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.