Gout or gouty arthritis is a type of arthritis, characterized by swelling of the joints, inflammation, pain and limited mobility.
Gout is mainly caused by the accumulation of crystals of uric acid. Uric acid is the product of the breakdown of purines. If the levels of this acid in the blood are too high, the crystals start collecting in the joints and causing the inflammation, which leads to arthritis symptoms.
This condition comes in attacks or bouts, which last from seven to ten days. During that time, most people use anti-inflammatory medications and pain killers, but it is good to know that there are natural alternatives too, which can reduce the symptoms and prevent or delay new gout attacks.
Vitamin C for gout
Many experts believe that increasing the intake of vitamin C is one of the bets ways to cope with gout. One double-blind study used vitamin C supplements on one group of gout sufferers and placebo on the other group. Those who took 500 milligrams of vitamin C each day had significantly reduced levels of uric acid in their blood, which, naturally, reduces the gout symptoms too. However, more studies are needed to confirm this.
Vitamin C is always beneficial for the overall health, not just for the gout attacks, but people who have kidney problems should consult their doctor before taking increased amounts of this vitamin.
Cherries for gout
Another popular natural remedy for gout are cherries. The recommended amount ranges between half a cup and one pound per day. They can be eaten fresh and whole or blended and diluted with water to make cherry juice. Store-brought cherry juice is good too, as long as it is 100% pure and free of conservatives and other artificial additives. Cherry extract is also available.
Even though cherries can help with gout in some patients, there is really no significant scientific evidence that would confirm their benefits for this particular medical condition.
Certain dietary changes are also needed in order to relieve and prevent gout attacks. Since uric acid is the result of the breakdown or naturally occurring purine, it is recommended to cut down on foods that contain this compound. Those foods include meat, especially organs like liver and kidneys, as well as seafood. On the other hand, vegetables containing purine are not harmful when it comes to gout and they can be consumed normally.
Dairy products seem to reduce the levels of uric acid, which is why people who have gout should drink more milk and yogurt, eat cheeses and other dairy products.