Uric acid is produced from the natural breakdown of your body's cells and from the foods you eat, according to WedMD, and most of it is filtered out by the kidneys and passed out of your body in urine. However, when the body is producing too much uric acid, or the kidneys can't remove it by themselves, the level of uric acid in the blood gets too high.
High levels of uric acid can cause crystals to form within the joints, and this is a common and painful condition called gout. High levels of uric acid may also cause kidney stones or kidney failure. There are a number of medications available to help the body produce less uric acid or excrete it more effectively through the urine, but fortunately there are a number of natural ways to do this, too.
1) Limit your intake of purines. According to the Arthritis Foundation, studies have shown that a diet high in purines leads to higher uric acid levels and a greater potential for gout to occur. Purines are chemical compounds found in food that the body converts to uric acid. Red meat, oily fish and beer are all very high in purines and should be limited in a healthy diet.
2) Avoid fructose. WebMD points out that fructose-sweetened drinks such as fruit juice and soda are culprits for causing excess uric acid production. One study found that men who drank over six servings of high fructose drinks each week had a greater occurrence of gout.
3) Enjoy more dairy. Gout and You explains that dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt increase the excretion of uric acid from the body. In this case it is best to choose low fat dairy options.
4) Drink plenty of water. This helps your body stabilize uric acid to a normal level, and dilutes the acid, stimulating the kidneys to eliminate it more effectively.
5) Put down the glass of wine. Beer has long been known to increase the risk of gout, according to Arthritis Foundation, but wine is worse. A study showed that drinking more than one serving of beer or liquor in a 24 hour period increased the risk of a gout attack by 36%, and that risk rises with every drink consumed thereafter. Wine, on the other hand, more than doubles the risk even after just one or two servings.
6) Reduce inflammation the delicious way. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends adding cherries, blueberries and strawberries to your diet. Cherries and dark berries contain chemicals that help reduce uric acid levels, and purple and blue-colored berries contain flavonoids called anthocyanins that help lower uric acid and reduce inflammation and stiffness, according to Livestrong. Pineapple and celery also both have anti-inflammatory properties.
7) Cook with olive oil. Most vegetable oils turn into rancid fats when heated or processed, Top 10 Home Remedies explains, and these fats destroy vitamin E in our body, which is vital for controlling uric acid levels. Olive oil, on the other hand, contains monounsaturated fats which remain stable when at high temperatures. Olive oil is high in Vitamin E and has both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
8) Remember your Vitamin C. Studies have indicated that Vitamin C increases the body's ability to excrete uric acid, according to News Medical. You can take supplements or increase your intake through your diet. Foods like oranges, lemons, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli are all naturally very high in Vitamin C.
9) Keep your weight down. There's another reason to avoid fructose and alcohol - obesity is in itself a risk for gout, as people who are overweight produce more uric acid and their kidneys don’t remove it as quickly, according to The Arthritis Foundation. Studies have shown that the risk of gout is almost doubled in those who are obese, and it happens sooner in life.
High levels of uric acid can be caused by a number of factors, but simple dietary and lifestyle changes can help you to start reducing it immediately. Gout is a painful condition, so it's best to intervene naturally before you get to that point. If you are already experiencing pain and swelling in your joints - particularly the big toe, ankle or knee - see your doctor. There are simple tests to measure your levels of uric acid.