Gout is a painful form of arthritis which is caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints, particularly the joints of the big toe. These crystals cause inflammation, stiffness and sometimes severe pain and, although it was once considered a rich man’s disease, it affects people of all socioeconomic levels. Incidence of gout appear to be on the rise and it is estimated that some 2 to 5 million people in America alone suffer from it.
The pain and inflammation are only part of the issue, though. High levels of uric acid in the body can also lead to problems with diabetes, cardiac dysfunction (due to elevated blood pressure and cholesterol), and kidney disease.
Allopurinol is a prescription medication available for those suffering from gout; the good news, however, is that there are natural ways to treat it as well, such as the ones below.
Reduce or Avoid Sugary Foods
Multiple studies have found a link between sugary foods and beverages and the development of gout: in fact, one study found that men who consume two sugary beverages a day are 85% more likely to have a problem with gout than men who consume one or fewer sugary beverages a month. It is especially important to avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup. Read labels carefully, as sugar and corn syrup is contained in many foods.
Limit Grains in the Diet
The body takes grain and converts it into sugar, which again can cause or seriously exacerbate gout symptoms. If it is too difficult to give up grains entirely, eat them in small amounts and try to choose whole grains over those that are highly refined (for instance, choose brown over white rice).
Drink Alcohol Sparingly
Like grains, alcohol also is quickly converted to sugar in the body, which can lead to a painful gout flare-up. While it may seem restrictive, it really is imperative to a gout-friendly diet that anything which turns to sugar be eliminated or severely reduced. Gout is, after all, basically an inflammatory process and sugar is one of the most inflammatory foods there is.
Being overweight or obese is linked to having gout while weight loss is associated with easing of gout symptoms. So be sure to include some exercise daily and to get a variety of exercises, such as strength training and cardiovascular exercise worked into the daily schedule. The great thing is, there will be many other benefits to regular exercise apart from an easing of gout symptoms.
Eat Cherries and Strawberries Daily
Including fresh, organic strawberries and/or cherries in the diet is another great, natural way to treat gout. These berries are rich in anthocyanins and bioflavonoids which have been shown to greatly reduce inflammation and help prevent arthritis flare-ups.
While some of the suggestions above may seem extreme, they will also help to avoid the inflammatory process which sets off an exacerbation of gout. Many people find, in fact, that rather than resorting to medications, they are largely able to control their gout through these dietary restrictions and have few day-to-day problems with management of their condition.
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