Top 30 Foods High In Purines And How They Affect The Body

Add foods like broccoli, turkey, and peanuts to your diet to maintain your cell health and metabolism.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Timothy M. Marshall, PhD Dr. Timothy M. Marshall Dr. Timothy M. MarshallPhD facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Experience: 8 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition Aparna Mallampalli BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition Experience: 5 years

Purinesi  Aromatic organic compounds found in higher levels in meat and seafood and are associated with an increased risk of gout. play a vital role in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. These organic compounds are found in every cell in your body. Including purine-rich foods in your diet helps you maintain their levels, but if you consume them in excess, they may trigger gouti  A very common and complex form of inflammatory arthritis (joint pain) characterized by severe pain and tenderness in the joints. and many other health issues. These compounds are found less in plant-based foods and more in animal-based foods like meat products, kidneys, liver, fish, and shellfish. Purines are generally broken into uric acid in the body.

Does consuming foods high in purines actually benefit you? When should you minimize these foods? Learn the answers to these questions in the article below. Scroll down!

protip_icon Trivia
The word purine, taken as an abbreviation of pure urine, was coined in the year 1884 by a German chemist named Emil Fischer. It was also Emil Fischer who first synthesized it in 1898.

What Are Purine-Rich Foods?

Take a look at the chart below to find high purines foods.

What are purine-rich foods?

Vegetables And Fruits – Purine-Rich Foods

1. Raisins

Raisins are purine-rich foods
Image: Shutterstock

100 grams of raisins contain 107 milligrams of purines

Raisins are nothing but dehydrated grapes, only with higher concentrations of B vitamins, potassium, and iron. Not only the great sources of healthy carbohydrates and energy, raisins top the list of purine-rich foods

2. Broccoli

100 grams of broccoli contain 81 milligrams of purines

Broccoli is an extremely rich source of vitamins C and K – while the former helps in collagen formation, both nutrients are needed to build strong bones and teeth. It also has antioxidants and other compounds that reduce inflammation and prevent cancer.

3. Artichoke 

100 grams of artichoke contain 78 milligrams of purines

Artichokes are rich in fiber and help lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels. They also help get rid of the bad cholesterol in the body. A compound called cynarin in artichokes increases bile production in the liver, and this in turn, promotes the elimination of cholesterol from the body.

4. Leek 

100 grams of leek contain 74 milligrams of purines

Leeks are especially rich in vitamin A,lutein, and zeaxanthini  A type of organic pigment found in high levels in dark green veggies and fruits and helps protect eye tissues from damage. – all of which promote healthy vision. Vitamin A also supports the development of healthy blood cells and mucous membranes throughout the body, and promotes the proper transfer of oxygen.

5. Apricot 

100 grams of apricot contain 73 milligrams of purines

Apricots are rich in potassium, one mineral every cell in the body requires for optimum functioning. Potassium is important for heart functioning and muscle contraction, and it also helps lower blood pressure levels.

6. Brussels Sprouts 

100 grams of Brussels sprouts contain 69 milligrams of purines

Brussels sprouts are rich in fiber and folate. Fiber lowers blood cholesterol levels and aids weight loss. It also improves digestive health. Folate plays an important role in brain health. It also helps prevent birth defects in babies.

7. Dried Plums

Dried plums are purine-rich foods
Image: Shutterstock

100 grams of dried plums contain 64 milligrams of purines

Dried plums are good sources of copper and manganese. Copper is essential for the formation of red blood cells, and manganese plays a role in bone health. The plums also contain antioxidants that fight free radicals and inflammation.

8. Mushroom 

100 grams of mushrooms contain 58 milligrams of purines

Mushrooms are good sources of beta-glucans, a type of fiber very beneficial for gut health. They also contain selenium, which is a mineral that boosts thyroid health. Mushrooms are good sources of vitamin D as well, which aids calcium absorption.

9. Banana 

100 grams of bananas contain 57 milligrams of purines

Bananas offer an energy boost, which is why they make for a great pre- and post-workout snack. While the fiber in them enhances digestive health, their potassium content regulates blood pressure.

10. Spinach 

100 grams of spinach contain 57 milligrams of purines

Spinach is one of the richest sources of iron – a mineral that is essential for hemoglobin production and promotes strength and energy. Spinach can improve blood sugar levels and even lower the risk of cancer.

Meat And Seafood High In Purines

11. Chicken 

100 grams of chicken contain 175 milligrams of purines

Chicken is a very good source of protein, and it contains all the essential amino acids. It also is rich in vitamin B3 (also called niacin) that is responsible for converting carbs into energy. And the selenium in chicken helps prevent cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.

12. Salmon 

100 grams of salmon contain 170 milligrams of purines

Salmon is known for its omega-3 content; these fatty acids are some of the healthiest things one can find in nature. Omega-3 fatty acids improve heart and brain health, lower cholesterol, fight inflammation, improve vision health, and even promote the health of skin and hair.

According to an American study, modifying adverse dietary habits can be extremely advantageous in preventing gout or even dealing with it (1).

13. Pork 

100 grams of pork contain 166 milligrams of purines

Pork is primarily made of protein, and it contains all the essential amino acids. It also is rich in thiamine, a B-vitamin that plays an important role in energy production, healthy brain function, digestion, and mood.

14. Turkey

Turkey is a purine-rich food
Image: Shutterstock

100 grams of turkey contain 150 milligrams of purines

In addition to protein, turkey is also rich in tryptophan – an amino acid that regulates sleep. Like other meat foods, it is also packed with selenium that boosts immunity and prevents disease.

15. Shrimp 

100 grams of shrimp contain 147 milligrams of purines

Shrimp is an excellent source of high-quality lean protein. It also contains all the essential amino acids. Zinc and selenium are two other important minerals it contains – both of which boost energy production and immunity.

16. Duck 

100 grams of duck contain 138 milligrams of purines

Like other sources of meat, duck is a complete protein – which means it contains all the essential amino acids. And in addition to zinc and selenium, it also contains vitamins B5 and B12 – both of which support nervous system health.

17. Scallops 

100 grams of scallops contain 136 milligrams of purines

Scallops are a low-fat protein source, which makes them quite healthy. They also are rich in vitamin B12 that helps prevent anemia, fatigue, and depression.

18. Beef 

100 grams of beef contain 133 milligrams of purines

Beef contains a variety of nutrients, pretty much like most other meat sources. Apart from protein, it also contains zinc, selenium, iron, and vitamin B6. Another important mineral is phosphorus, which plays a role in body growth and maintenance.

19. Rabbit 

100 grams of rabbit contain 132 milligrams of purines

Rabbit meat, which is a type of game meat, happens to contain more protein than chicken or beef. It is also comparatively lower in calories and saturated fat.

20. Oysters 

100 grams of oysters contain 90 milligrams of purines

Oysters are rich in protein and other essential nutrients like iron, selenium, and zinc. They also are good sources of vitamin C that boosts immune function.

Beans And Legumes – High Purine Foods

21. Mung Beans

Mung beans are purine-rich foods
Image: Shutterstock

100 grams of mung beans contain 222 milligrams of purines

Mung beans are rich in fiber. They fill you up for long periods and prevent you from overeating. They also contain other nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins that help fight heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

22. Soybeans

100 grams of soybeans contain 190 milligrams of purines

Soybeans are one of the best sources of plant-based protein. They contain decent amounts of both soluble and insoluble fibers. They also have saponins, compounds known to lower cholesterol levels.

23. White Beans 

100 grams of white beans contain 128 milligrams of purines

The antioxidants in white beans can prevent cancer and other grave inflammatory ailments. The beans are also rich in folate, which boosts brain health and prevents birth defects.

24. Lentils 

100 grams of lentils contain 127 milligrams of purines

Lentils are an excellent source of protein. They also contain folate and magnesium, two nutrients essential for heart health.

25. Garbanzo Beans 

100 grams of garbanzo beans contain 109 milligrams of purines

Garbanzo beans are known to lower cholesterol levels. They also contain fiber that boosts digestion.

26. Green Peas 

100 grams of green peas contain 84 milligrams of purines

Green peas are an excellent source of vitamin K, a nutrient that is crucial for bone production and development. The peas also help regulate blood sugar levels.

27. Bean Sprouts 

100 grams of bean sprouts contain 80 milligrams of purines

Bean sprouts are extremely rich in protein and contain all the required amino acids. They also contain vitamin C and folate.

28. Peanuts

Peanuts are purine-rich foods
Image: Shutterstock

100 grams of peanuts contain 79 milligrams of purines

Peanuts are rich in protein, and they are one of the richest sources of biotin – which is important during pregnancy. They also are a rich source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.

29. Tofu 

100 grams of tofu contain 68 milligrams of purines

Apart from protein, tofu is also a rich source of calcium. Made from soybean curds, tofu is naturally gluten-free and low in calories. It has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes. You can also consume other plant-based, protein-rich, and soy products like tempeh.

30. French Beans 

100 grams of French beans contain 45 milligrams of purines

Also called green beans/string beans, they contain high amounts of chlorophyll that can help fight cancer. And the folate they contain treats depression and also prevents birth defects.

That’s with the list of foods considerably high in purines. And now, we get back to what we talked about in the beginning – can you consume them? Or should you just chuck them off your plate? Well, why are we even having this discussion now?

Studies suggest that taking vitamin C supplements can help reduce symptoms of gout (2).

What’s With Purines? How Does It Affect The Body?

Firstly, let’s understand that purines, by themselves, are not a problem. They are naturally produced in the body and are also found in a variety of foods. During digestion, purines break down to form uric acid, which, in extreme excess, can form crystals that get deposited in your joints and cause pain and inflammation. This condition is called gout.

An excess of uric acid in the body can cause gout and kidney stones. Hence, if you have any of those conditions, it’s better you stay away from foods high in purines.

And when we say foods that are high in purines, we don’t necessarily mean fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that fruits and veggies high in purines do not increase the risk of gout or aggravate a preexisting condition (3). They can help with the condition as their antioxidants and cleansing fruit acids such as citric and malic acid (in lemons and apples) fight inflammation.

protip_icon Trivia
Medications like niacin and pyrazinamide can affect the body’s ability to excrete uric acid, a by-product that forms when purine is broken down in the body.

Now, that brings to our next question. What’s up with the gout diet?

What To Take If You Have Gout? And What To Avoid?

Let’s keep it simple.

Purine Diet- What To Take
  • Anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables, such as cherries and fresh berries), sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, and whole grains such as oats, quinoa, barley, brown rice, and wheat bran.
  • Adequate water
  • Foods rich in vitamin C
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Low-fat milk
  • Coffee (moderate intake)
  • Black Tea (moderate intake)
  • Salmon (but please consult a doctor first)
  • Chicken breast (please consult a doctor)
  • Nuts and seeds
Purine Restricted Diet- What To Avoid
  • Organ meats like liver, kidney, and sweetbreads
  • Seafood
  • Alcohol
  • Bacon
  • Oatmeal
  • Dried peas and beans
  • Chocolates
  • Beer
  • Wine

protip_icon Quick Tip
Purine is naturally produced in the body within the cells, which is why people on low-purine diets do not suffer from a deficiency.

These are the foods you can eat (and avoid) on a low-purine diet. According to the Arthritis Foundation, limiting the consumption of high-purine foods can help deal with and prevent symptoms of gout (4).

Rufio Pasco, a blogger who shares his experience regarding gout disorders, discussed why he chooses a balanced diet over other diets to manage his gout issue. He said, “I, and many other gout sufferers, have tried sticking to low purine only diets, however, this didn’t fully prevent gout attacks compared to eating a balanced diet that covers low, medium and high purine foods (i).”

Infographic: Purines – Everything You Need To Know About Them

Purines are one of the basic components of our DNA. They contribute to growth and development and are found in various foods. However, excessive consumption of purines may cause health problems.

Check out the infographic below to learn what purines are, their role in the body, how we obtain them, and why we should note their levels.

what are purines (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Your body needs purines for the synthesis of RNA and DNA. The body can produce purines on its own, but you can also get some of it through your diet, especially through foods like raisins, broccoli, chicken, salmon, pork, shrimp, mung beans, and soybeans.

However, excess intake of purines can be harmful to the body. Purines are broken down into uric acid, which can lead to diseases like gout in case of excessive reserves. This acid may also lead to the formation of kidney stones, so practice caution while eating purine-rich foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are cucumbers and potatoes high in purines?

Eva De Angelis, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, says, “Except for asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, green peas, and spinach, all other vegetables have a very low purine content.”

Are apples and almonds high in purines?

“No. All fruits and nuts are appropriate for low-purine diets,” says De Angelis.

Are eggs high in purine?

No, eggs are low in purine and may be beneficial for people suffering from gout and high levels of uric acid (5).

Is tomato high in purine?

No, tomatoes have a small amount of 3.7mg/ 100g of total purines (5).

Is carrot high in purine?

No, carrot has a small amount of 2.5 mg/100g of total purines (5).

Key Takeaways

  • Purines are organic compounds, necessary for DNA synthesis, produced in the body or consumed through plant and animal-based foods.
  • Foods rich in purines are broccoli, artichoke, banana, apricot, French beans, and legumes.
  • Meat products like chicken, pork, turkey, beef, rabbit, oysters, duck, and shrimp are high in purines.
  • Excess purine consumption increases uric acid levels in the body that accumulate in the joints as crystals and cause pain and inflammation.

Get ready to uncover the top 5 foods with the highest purine content! From organ meats to certain seafood, this video sheds light on the culprits that can trigger gout and how to make informed dietary choices. Don’t miss it!

Personal Experience: Source

Was this article helpful?
Dr. Timothy M. Marshall is a Neuropharmacologist and Nutritional Biochemist with over 25 years of experience and a passion for natural approaches to healing and nutrient therapeutics. He is on the board of Healing Arizona Veterans and is the author of the landmark publications, "The Next Generation in Brain Recovery and Neuroregeneration" (2017), and "Lithium as a Nutrient" (2015) full bio

Latest Articles