This page about cauliflower for gout was last reviewed or updated on 2 February 2019
Does cauliflower cause gout? This is a puzzle. It sometimes gets mentioned as a food gouty folk suspect has caused their gout flare. Some doctors think so too and that must come from listening to gout patients over the years.
So they think cauliflower should be avoided - it can make existing gout condition worse or maybe even trigger a gout attack. But its detractors may have confused it with something else as a cause of gout.
But the puzzle is that there isn’t much evidence that cauliflower causes gout. It is not exceptionally high in purines, although some website pages claim it is high purine. On one uric acid/purines table It holds 51 mg of uric acid/100 grams, which just gets it into the medium purines category. On another table, 45 mg of uric acid and 19 mg of purines, also from 100 grams of cauliflower.
This is higher than fellow brassicas such as kale, cabbage, and broccoli, which are not considered gout causing, and about the same as spinach (57mg/100 grams).
Two studies (1) and (2) report that of the four purines’ bases (the purines' breakdown into their four constituent bases), two, xanthine and hypoxanthine, are not present in cauliflower. Xanthine does not create uric acid, (or not much) but hypoxanthine does. Of the other two present in cauliflower, adenine and guanine, adenine creates uric acid, but guanine does not, or only a little.
If cauliflower was high purine you would expect it to have some hypoxanthine. But these two studies say it does not, The adenine alone produces purines of 45 mg or 51 mg. All per 100 grams of cauli. That is not a lot.
One of these studies (2) also found that if you boil cauliflower in water for about 10 minutes you would reduce its purines by 10-14%. Not much, but useful.
So is Cauliflower bad for gout?
As well as not being especially high in purines there isn’t a study showing the link between cauliflower and gout. If a study could find cauliflower “guilty,” we would be somewhat clearer about it. But there isn't. The best we have are results from Purine rich foods, dairy and protein intake and the risk of gout in men, reported in the March 2004 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. It found there was no increased risk of gout from eating purine rich vegetables, which included cauliflower. You can read this report here, courtesy of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Fellow brassica spinach was also included in the study’s tested vegetables which were also - peas, beans, lentils, and mushrooms. So it's likely not enough cauliflower was examined. But the study did find the usual suspects (seafood, red meat) moderately culpable.
Is cauliflower good for gout?
Many of the foods with about the same capacity to create uric acid do not have a reputation for causing gout. Close to cauliflower (51 mg/100 grams) are foods such as black pudding (51), whole grain wheat (51), sweet corn (52), green peppers (55) spinach (57), bananas (57), parsley (57). Of these only spinach has been thought to raise uric acid. It may be the case that cauliflower is only a problem if you eat a lot of it, and you already have a high uric acid level.
Vegetables contain flavonoids which are believed to lower uric acid. Cauliflower has them too, but not in large enough amounts to make a noticeable difference - kaempferol 0.36 mg/100 g; and quercetin 0.54 mg/100 grams. Compare that with the best source of quercetin, red onions, 39.2 mg/100 grams.
But it is also good for diets. Cauliflower is low in calories (25 kcals) and carbohydrates (3 net carbs). If it wasn't for the gouty rumblings about cauliflower I'd be singing the praises unreservedly that cauliflower is good for gout. It has plenty of good vitamins and minerals, although slightly fewer than broccoli, kale, and cabbage.
Best cauliflower tip
Based on the word of mouth stuff, it is just to be careful of it if you suffer gout. You can probably eat cauliflower if you exercise, are not over weight, have reduced your meat and seafood consumption, and your uric acid has fallen. And you take gout meds regularly. So if you have gout, eat cauliflower if you are doing what you should be to get your uric acid down to 6.0 mg/dl or lower.
If you are being careful, don’t have a portion of cauliflower head larger than 100 grams (3½ ounces). Or you could cut that to 2 ounces which would be around 25 mg of uric acid.
Here are the nutrients in cauliflower:
100 grams raw cauliflower
Calcium mg 22
Iron mg 0.42
Magnesium mg 15
Phosphorus mg 44
Potassium mg 299
Sodium mg 30
Zinc mg 0.27
Vitamin C mg 48.2
Thiamin mg 0.050
Riboflavin mg 0.060
Niacin mg 0.507
Vitamin B-6 mg 0.184
Folate, DFE µg 57
Vitamin B-12 µg 0.00
Vitamin A RAE µg 0
Vitamin A IU 0
Vitamin E mg 0.08
Vitamin D µg 0.0
Vitamin D IU 0
Vitamin K µg 15.5
Source National Nutrient database. USDA
CAULIFLOWER FOR GOUT RELATED PAGES
What do readers say about cauliflower ?
D.A. United States messaged "Just experiencing a flare up of gout and couldn't figure out why at first. Then realized the only thing in my diet the last two days that was new or unusual was cauliflower. I normally don't eat it at all, but had two meals in a row where that was the main ingredient."
CAN YOU HELP US WITH CAULIFLOWER FOR GOUT ?
Can you help with the cauliflower for gout puzzle. Have you eaten a lot and not had an attack ? Or raised your uric acid. Or have you thought cauliflower caused a flare ? If so please use the contact form on this page.
Cauliflower for gout study references
(1) Kiyoko Kaneko, Yasuo Aoyagi, Tomoko Fukuuchi, Katsunori
Inazawa, Noriko Yamaoka Total purine and purine base content of common
foodstuffs for facilitating nutritional therapy for gout and hyperuricemia Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2014.
(2) Takako Shinoda, Yasuo Aoyagi, Tatsuyuki Sugahara Purine Base Content in Foods and Effects of Cooking Methods 1982.
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