For most healthy people, the amount of uric acid in your body isn’t an issue. It’s a natural byproduct that is removed by your kidneys via your urine. Too easy.
But if you find yourself with sore or stiff joints and inflammation, perhaps it is a sign that your body is producing too much uric acid at a rate that your kidneys can’t handle. The most common problem associated with too much uric acid is gout, primarily in the feet, but you can also get painful kidney stones.
What are Uric Acid Crystals?
Uric acid crystals are tiny, needle-shaped crystals that form in the body when there is an excess of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid is a natural waste product that is produced when the body breaks down substances called purines, which are found in certain foods and are also produced by the body.
Normally, uric acid is excreted from the body through the kidneys in urine. However, if the body produces too much uric acid or if the kidneys do not efficiently remove it, uric acid can accumulate and form crystals. These crystals can deposit in joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues, leading to a condition known as gout.
Gout is a type of arthritis characterized by sudden and severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the affected joints, often the big toe, but it can also occur in other joints. These painful episodes are usually triggered by factors like excessive alcohol consumption, certain foods (high in purines), obesity, and genetics.
Over time, chronic hyperuricemia (elevated levels of uric acid) can contribute to long-term joint damage and kidney problems.
The treatment of conditions related to uric acid crystals often involves lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, medications to lower uric acid levels, and managing acute gout attacks. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional if you suspect you have gout or if you are experiencing symptoms related to uric acid crystal formation.
Avoid This to Reduce Uric Acid
First, let’s look at some of the things you should be avoiding and why:
- Avoid consuming meat. Eating less meat is probably one of the easiest ways for you to reduce uric acid in your body. This is because every type of meat contains purine, which your body converts directly into uric acid.
- Avoid high fructose foods and drink. Fructose breaks down to release purine, which your body easily converts to uric acid within minutes of consumption.
- Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar, including honey. Sugar is 50% fructose, so it also provides your body with uric acid-making purine.
- Avoid fasting, especially when not enough water is consumed.
- Avoid the Keto diet (a no-carb, no-sugar diet) which can increase the risk of uric acid building up due to not enough vegetables being eaten.
- Avoid taking diuretics. The increased urination can leave your body potentially dehydrated with an increased concentration of urate.
- Avoid cranberries, since they can make your urine more acidic.
Foods That Reduce Uric Acid
In addition to avoiding the above-mentioned products, you can also incorporate the following foods into your diet:
Potassium is often prescribed to remove kidney stones because it binds to the calcium in your urine to reduce crystallization. Natural sources of potassium citrate are foods that contain high amounts of both potassium and citric acid. This makes apricots and oranges a better fruit option than most, since they are relatively low in fructose as well. Of course, foods generally high in potassium will also help. This means potatoes (with their skin), avocados and tomatoes are a good choice, and unlike fruit, don’t contain much fructose.
Wild foods are also a rich source of anti-inflammatory compounds that fight joint pain, plus they are completely free for everyone to grab. Check out this easy guide to edible mushrooms, plants, berries and poisonous lookalikes.
Cherries can decrease the amount of uric acid from your body by sending it through your kidneys via your urine. They are also anti-inflammatory and contain a decent amount of potassium. Sour red cherries have less fructose so are better.
Turmeric seems to be a remedy for everything, primarily because it is such a strong anti-inflammatory, but in addition to reducing your symptoms, curcumin decreases uric acid.
Folate or folic acid can remove uric acid crystals from your joints and kidneys. You can find plenty of products at the supermarket that have added folate, but some of the best natural sources are legumes, in particular lentils. Asparagus, avocados, Brussel sprouts and broccoli also have decent amounts of folate.
The sodium bicarbonate in baking soda can help remove kidney stones. Typically, 1 teaspoon is dissolved in 1 cup of water and drunk 3 – 4 times a day.
As you can see, there are a wide number of dishes that you can enjoy to help remove uric acid crystals. Everything from a main meal of baked potatoes with lentils, avocado and tomato, to a simple dessert of cherries. Or you could make a lentil and potato curry with broccoli and follow it up with an orange or an apricot. Or perhaps you could try something totally different like adding lentils to your morning smoothie? Yep. It might not sound very appetizing at first, but if you’re looking for a quick remedy, then lentils seem to be the best all-rounder for removing uric acid crystals. In the very least, it’s something you should consider before trying to stomach a glass of dissolved sodium bicarbonate.
Anti-Uric Acid Crystals Remedy
- ½ a cup of soaked lentils
- ½ a peeled orange
- ½ an avocado
- 1/3 of a cup of pitted cherries
- 2 cups of oat milk or water
- ¼ of a teaspoon of turmeric powder
- Rinse and drain your lentils, then simmer them in a pot of water for 20-30 minutes. Strain and allow them to cool (you can do this step the night before and store the cooked lentils in the fridge).
- Place all the ingredients in a blender or mixer and mix until smooth.
- Serve chilled with ice.
If you’re dealing with the painful symptoms of too much uric acid buildup, then drinking this smoothie every day for at least a week should reduce the severity and help you manage your gout or kidney stones.
And as always, play around with the recipe – just remember to keep the fructose content as low as tolerable.