Shellfish is at the top of the list of bad foods for a gout diet. But why?
The terms fish, shellfish, and seafood are often used interchangeably, but here’s how I’ll use them. The term “fish” refers to animals with bones on the inside (a skeleton); “shellfish” refers to those with bones on the outside (a shell); and “seafood” refers to both of them collectively.
All fish and shellfish are high in purines, but the gout risk lies in the specific type of purines they contain. Two types of purines are known to raise uric acid levels more than others — hypoxanthine and adenine. Fish are high in hypoxanthine, and shellfish are high in adenine.
High Purine Fish and Shellfish
Seafood classified as having a high level of purines include:
- Fish — Anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, and fish roe (eggs).
- Shellfish — Mussels and scallops.
Moderate Purine Fish and Shellfish
Seafood classified as having a moderate (or medium) level of purines include:
- Fish — Tuna, salmon, halibut, snapper, cod, trout, perch, carp, eel, octopus and squid.
- Shellfish — Shrimp, lobster, crab, oysters, and clams.
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Thank you!!!! Not a single gout attack since following your advice!!!!!!! I would never have believed it, Bert!!!! Thank God for you!!!! ~ Chuck
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How to Reduce Purine Levels
Studies have found that cooking or freezing fish results in variations in purine content.
Boiling fish in water reduces purine content the most, by as much as 60%. Steaming fish produces some purine reduction, but less than boiling, while microwaving fish results in no reduction in purine. Freezing fish below 0 °F for 10 weeks reduces the purine content only slightly.
How Much Seafood Can I Eat?
- If you are in the midst of an active gout attack, do not eat any fish or shellfish.
- If you are in-between gout attacks and working on gout prevention, you may enjoy seafood with a moderate purine level a few times per week.
- If you have taken the steps to make your body totally gout-proof, you may enjoy seafood with a high purine level a few times per month.
☆ Bottom Line: You should steer clear of all fish and shellfish when recovering from a gout attack, but you can enjoy them occasionally once you learn how to gain control over the root cause of gout!
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