What is gout?
Gout is an inflammatory arthritic condition that affects several million of people in the USA alone.
Abnormally high levels of uric acid in the blood lead to the accumulation of urate crystals in joints and tissues. This causes inflammation, pain and swelling. Big toes, feet, ankles, hands and wrists are the most affected areas of the body. At the advanced stage gout may lead to the deformation of joints, kidney stones and kidney damage, and can be lead to heart disease.
Uric acid is a natural byproduct formed by the breakdown of purines that are found in many foods. When the human body cannot process the uric acid, gout becomes a chronic condition.
A gout attack is usually very rapid. It is characterized by a very sharp pain. The affected toe is swollen and purple, and can feel warm to the touch. Extreme tenderness and sometimes even fever may accompany the attack.
A gout attack lasts a few hours, but may extend to a couple of days. It usually affect one joint at a time.
More than 75% gout sufferers report recurrent attack. For many gout becomes a chronic and progressive condition that permanently destroys joints.
Meat and alcohol consumption, obesity, and the frequent use of diuretics are considered to be the dominant factors leading to the development of this painful disease. Genetic predisposition may be responsible for the tendency to develop gout, but diet appears to be the most important factor. Consumption of foods containing high levels of purines as well as foods rich in protein are considered to trigger the condition.
Natural remedies for gout
Tart (sour) cherries which contain natural anti-inflammatory agents are very effective in reducing gout symptoms. They also inhibit an enzyme called xanthine oxidase which is responsible for the formation of uric acid. Cherries and the cherry extract have no side effects and are good for the heart as well. They detoxify the kidneys and prevent cancer. People with recurrent bouts of gout should add cherries to their diet or consider supplementation with the cherry extract. This will help them reduce the frequency of gout attacks. Cherries are very helpful in preventing an attack, but may not be very effective in treating an existing one.
The gout preventing diet
In order to avoid gout attacks it is important to reduce consumption of foods that are high in purines and protein. These foods include:
- organ meats such as brains, liver, kidneys
- sardines, herrings and anchovies
- alcohol especially beer
- lentils, peas and beans
- high fructose syrup
It is important to drink plenty of water in order to prevent dehydration and to eat complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruit and vegetables.
Several natural supplements have been used to cure gout with a high degree of success. They can be taken to lessen a current bout or to prevent future gout attacks:
- vitamin C
- cherry extract
- cat's claw
- flax seed oil
Gout is a degenerative disease and should be taken seriously. However, the sufferers have the power to reduce the frequency of the attacks by simply following the nutritional guidance, maintaining optimal weight and preventing dehydration.
By Dominique Allmon
*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.
Natural Gout Relief by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.