Foods that contain the highest levels of purines include sardines; anchovies; organ meats, such as brains, kidney and liver; gravy; and most meats. Beer is also high in purines. Other fish and seafood as well as oatmeal, wheat germ and wheat bran contain moderate levels of purines.
Vegetables that contain moderate amounts of purines include asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower and spinach. Legumes, such as kidney beans, lentils and lima beans, are also moderately high in purines.
Purines are present in all foods, but some foods contain a higher concentration. Purines break down into uric acid, and an excessive amount of uric acid can form crystals that accumulate in the joints and cause gout. Doctors advise people with gout to limit consumption of purines to reduce the risk of a gout attack.
Foods that are low in purines include eggs, fruits, green vegetables and tomatoes. Breads and cereals not made from whole grains are also low in purines as are chocolate, cocoa, peanut butter and nuts. Beverages that are low in purines include coffee, tea and carbonated beverages. Low-fat diary products appear to lower the risk of gout. Drinking plenty of water and other nonalcoholic fluids helps flush uric acid from the body.