Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis characterized by sudden pain and discomfort often in the joints. A person with who have experienced a gout attack knows the pain can be excruciating, as it causes hot, red and painful swelling and tenderness on the joints. Oftentimes, it affects the large joint in the big toe, but it can also occur in the ankles, feet, and knees; sometimes on the hands and wrists. Once it happens in the big toe, it can make wearing shoes impossible, as even the light fabric of a sock can be aggravating.
This condition is caused by the accumulation of too much uric acid, which is a by-product of the breakdown of purines found in foods. Making dietary changes can help reduce purine levels and the likelihood of a gout attack. Prescription medications remain as the primary treatments for gout since this condition is also often linked to a more serious health problem. It is important to seek proper medical treatment for gout, but using home remedies can help alleviate the symptoms, reduce attacks, and lead to a healthier lifestyle.
If you have gout, the most crucial natural treatment you can undergo is simply reducing or avoiding the food offenders that can cause gout, as well as having a healthier diet. Here are some of the natural gout treatments to try:
Staying hydrated is important if you are suffering from gout pain, swelling, and inflammation. Water can reduce swelling as it helps flush out the excess uric acid from your body to keep your gout under control. Increasing water consumption can kick-start the kidneys and cause them to release excess fluids. Other clear fluids like herbal teas and broths are also good choices if you can’t take drinking so much water. But as you increase your water intake, you will get used to it eventually.
However, if you have kidney disease or congestive heart failure, you must talk to the doctor first before increasing fluid intake.
Eat more cherries and drink more cherry juice
Cherries is the best fruit and the best home remedy for gout. It has antioxidant properties and can help reduce inflammation and gout flare-ups. The antioxidants can help or prevent repair damage done to your body by free radicals. Tart cherries contain powerful compounds: anthocyanin and bioflavonoids. Both these compounds help relieve and prevent arthritis and gout in your body. These anti-inflammatory compounds can be found in whole cherries or cherry juice.
Try eating a bowl of 15 to 20 cherries a day. If fresh cherries are out of season, you can try concentrated cherry juice. An ounce of a cherry juice concentrate can contain about 55 to 60 tart cherries, so you can get all the health benefits without eating lots of cherries and without all the sugar. Just make sure that you buy organic, unpasteurized juice with no added sugars or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
You can also purchase canned or frozen tart cherries, but make it as your last option. These products often have residual pesticides and additives, along with sugars and sweeteners.
Try to lose weight if necessary
Obesity or excessive weight gain is another risk factor for gout. A lot of gout sufferers are overweight, and their excess weight worsens gout because the irritated nerve endings are further irritated and pressured by having to support the extra weight. Obesity can worsen any type of arthritis. Being overweight can also increase uric acid levels, which you need to decrease.
Start eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and organic meats, and lessen your intake of fast food, processed meats, sweets, and sugars. Sometimes, simply eliminating all the extra and all the unhealthy foods in your diet can help you to lose weight. Try to lessen your calorie intake gradually. Complement it with regular exercise.
Switch to a low-purine diet
One of the most effective ways to reduce uric acid levels is to follow a low-purine diet. Purines, when broken down, turn into uric acid. Avoid meats that contain high levels of purines, such as:
- Organ meats
Limiting these foods will also benefit your heart health, and people with gout have a higher risk of heart disease. As much as possible, stay away from these foods, but you can gradually limit your intake of these foods if you can’t avoid them altogether at once.
Drink lemon juice
Lemon juice can help alkalize the body and reduce the amount of acid. A 2015 study found out that a juice containing two freshly squeezed lemons mixed with two liters of water can reduce uric acid in people with gout. Another option is to mix juice from one lemon with half a teaspoon of baking soda. Let it fizz, and once the fizzing stops, drink it immediately.
Take vitamin C
Vitamin C can help reduce uric acid levels. This is why taking vitamin C supplements can help people who are experiencing gout. Vitamin C supplements can help raise blood levels of acetaminophen and aspirin, which can both bring pain relief. However, people with kidney disease must first consult their doctor before taking vitamin C supplements.
Apply ice or cold water for pain relief
Applying an ice pack covered in cloth or small towel to the aching joint can help reduce gout-related inflammation. Apply it for 10-15 minutes at a time to help relieve the pain. But if the gout attack is on your toes and feet, better yet soak the affected area in cold water for pain relief rather than using ice.
Exercising is not on your mind if your joints are in pain – you probably can’t and won’t want to do it, and it will cause further injury. But when your gout is under control, exercise is necessary to reduce levels of uric acid in the body by normalizing insulin levels. It can help prevent further attacks by increasing insulation, and it can help reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups.
Having an exercise routine is advantageous as it helps release your happy hormones to prevent depression. It strengthens your immune system to fight off diseases and improve insulin resistance. Start with low-impact exercises to make sure you won’t experience injuries. High-impact exercises may worsen your joint pain.
Limit alcohol intake, or avoid it altogether
According to the Arthritis Foundation, drinking more than two beers or two liquor drinks per day increases a person’s risk for gout. Gout is often associated with hypertension, coronary artery disease, and excessive alcohol consumption, so alcohol is a strong risk factor for this disease. Alcohol dehydrates, causing uric acid levels in the bloodstream to rise. It can even initiate a gout attack. Beer is especially high in purine, so you need to avoid that if you want to recover from gout.
Reduce sugar/fructose intake
Though high-purine foods are more commonly blamed for gout, high-fructose corn syrup and sugar are also clear culprits. Countless health problems are already linked to the consumption of HFCS, and one of which is gout. Fructose is known to inhibit the excretion of uric acid, and it also reduces the affinity of insulin for its receptor. HFCS also elevates blood cholesterol levels and inhibits the action of white blood cells in the immune system.
If you have gout, avoid sugary soft drinks, and limit your consumption of sweets. Consuming fruits like oranges and apples, although healthy, must also be limited because of their high fructose content.