Overview of Gout
Gout is one of the oldest diseases known to man. It has been plaguing mankind since time immemorial. We now know that gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood.
When present in excessive amounts, this acid crystallizes and the crystals are deposited within the joints, most commonly the big toe, but also the knee, elbow, ankle, wrist, and hand.
Gout is extremely painful, and can cause swelling, warmth, inflammation, and redness.
Attacks of gout are sudden and acute, and the aftereffects of an attack can last for days. There are many treatments for gout, ranging from modern prescription drugs to all-natural remedies.
Gout and Cherries
One very effective natural cure for gout is consuming cherries or drinking cherry juice. This treatment of gout has been around for hundreds of years, and is remarkably effective. Cherries have been shown to:
- Lower uric acid levels in the blood
- Contain anthocyanins, special compounds which: Are what give cherries their bright color, have strong anti-inflammatory properties, may help reduce the risk of colon cancer and lower risk of heart attack and stroke
What kinds of cherries should I eat?
Any type of cherry will do. Tart cherries, black cherries, and other varieties all have similar amounts of beneficial anthocyanins. Preparation methods that preserve the health benefits of cherries include:
- Fresh cherries: These are delicious all on their own, or add them to a bowl of low-fat frozen yogurt. Dip them in melted dark chocolate (enjoy in moderation)
- Cherry juice: Try drinking it plain or freezing it on a stick for a tasty treat
- Dried cherries: Add dried cherries to baked goods like cakes, cookies, or scones. Add dried cherries to your cereal. Mix them into a bag of homemade granola. Add them to pork-based dishes. Just eat them!
- Frozen cherries. Add to baked goods. Enjoy plain or mixed into yogurt
Other methods of treatment
Unfortunately, cherries on their own will not provide a magic cure for gout, although they do help! It is important to avoid certain foods if they trigger an attack of gout for you. Some common trigger foods for gout are:
- Red meat
- Refined foods
Avoid these foods if they tend to cause your gout to flare up.
- It's also important to drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration can exacerbate gout by concentrating uric acid in the blood, so be sure to drink eight glasses of water per day.
There are also many herbal remedies available that can help reduce your gout symptoms. These remedies are all natural and have no negative side effects. A combination of treatment types is most effective. A change in diet is most important, but if that proves ineffective other remedies can be tried, also.
Photo Credit: D H Wright