Purine is a naturally occurring substance in both food and in the cells of the human body. Human and plant genetic chemical structure is dependent on purine content. When human cells are recycled, uric acid forms from the breakdown of these cells. Occasionally, uric acid can become too high for the body and uric acid crystals are deposited into various areas of the body such as tendons, kidneys, and joints. This deposit of crystals called gout or gouty arthritis, can be partially relieved by consuming a diet low in purine content. Foods that are high in purine content including anchovies, animal livers, sardines and sweetbreads, should be avoided. Other plant-based foods are high in purine content, but studies have shown that raw vegetables with high purine content do not affect the body in the same way as animal-based cooked foods.
Lima beans are a fresh bean sold typically in its pod. They are available fresh from June until September and are firm and dark green. Occasionally called butter beans, lima beans contain a high to moderately high purine level at approximately five to 100 mg per 3.5 ounce serving.
Navy beans are a white bean also known as a yankee bean. Commonly used as a baked bean dish, navy beans got their name from their use in the navy since the 1800s. White beans contain a moderate amount of uric at an average of 128 mg of uric acid per 100 g of bean.
Kidney beans are a medium sized bean that has a full flavor. Popular in rice dishes, kidney beans are sold canned or dried. Cannellini beans, or white kidney beans, lack the bold flavor of the red kidney bean. Kidney beans contain a high to moderately high purine level at approximately five to 100 mg per 3.5 ounce serving.
Garbanzo beans, also called chickpeas, are beige colored with a firm texture. They have a nutlike flavor and are common in Mediterranean cuisine, as well as salads. They are sold canned or dried, and in few areas fresh. Garbanzo beans contain a moderately high purine level at 109 mg of uric acid per 100 g of bean.
Fava beans are a fresh bean, meaning it is sold fresh and still in the pod. They are tan colored and resemble a lima bean. Although they are fresh, they are sold typically in dried or canned form. Fava beans, also called broad beans or horse beans, contain a moderate level of purine.
References and Resources101 Vegetarian Recipes: Types of Beans
WH Foods: What are purines and in which foods are they found?