6 Natural Remedies for Treating and Preventing Gout
Ouch. If you suffer from gout, you don’t need me to tell you that it’s uncomfortable, painful and frustrating. Gout causes stiffness in your joints, most commonly your toes, and it can be made worse by lifestyle habits. It is also often inherited, which means that reducing flare ups and dealing with symptoms is key for most gout sufferers. So here is a list of the best natural remedies to help reduce flare ups and to ease the pain and swelling caused by gout.
The good news is that there is an easy and tasty solution to help prevent gout attacks from occurring. A study found that people with gout had fewer attacks when consuming cherries over just two days. A cherry serving was 10 to 12 cherries, and gout attacks in participants decreased when they ate more cherries – to a point. The effect ended at three servings of cherries over two days, which means you don’t have to keep up a high intake of the fruit to reduce gout flare ups. If you can, buy them in season and source them locally, for example from a ‘pick your own’ farm. If you grow tired of munching on raw cherries, bake them in a pie, cake or cookies, or make them into a juice or jam, and you should get the full health benefits so long as you are eating at least six cherries a day.
Ginger has been found to have a range of health benefits, including reducing the swelling that is typical of gout. According to a study, ginger has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and can be used as an effective natural remedy for gout. Try adding fresh ginger to your food, grating it on top of meals if you like the taste, and brewing chunks of the root in hot water to drink as a tea. There are many ways in which ginger helps to maintain good health, so if you can develop a love of this natural medicine, it’s worth the time and effort. If you can’t, try it as a tea with mint instead, to lighten the taste of the ginger.
Chicory was traditionally was used as a medicinal remedy to treat gout, rheumatism and other health complaints. There are no studies to prove that chicory is effective in treating or preventing gout, but coffee made of chicory is a common drink across the globe and is especially popular in the US state of New Orleans. Since it hasn’t done them any harm, it’s worth giving it a go, especially if you are already a fan of coffee.
In the 17th century a popular herbalist recommended thyme for treating various ailments including gout. Although no studies have been done to support his theory, there is no harm in upping your intake of thyme to seeing if the herb works for you. Thyme has been found helpful in treating other ailments and it also tastes nice. I recommend drinking it as a tea, as strong as you can manage it, once or twice a day.
5. Drink More Water
Gout occurs when there is too much uric acid around the joints, and a study has found that this acid build-up can be reduced if you stay hydrated. It’s possible that getting dehydrated triggers gout flare ups, and a general rule of thumb is that if you feel thirsty then you’re probably already dehydrated. Try keeping a glass or bottle of water with you at all times, and in your sight so that you are more likely to remember to drink it. Five to eight glasses of water a day is the recommended amount, but juice can be substituted for one or two glasses. If you can drink cherry juice, you’ll give your body and joints a real treat.
6. Change Your Diet
Uric acid is created during the digestion and breakdown of purines. Reducing the foods that increase these purines has been found to reduce attacks of gout. The high-purine foods to avoid are: anchovies, asparagus, dried beans and peas, herring, mackerel, sardines, scallops, mushrooms, game meats and organ meats (such as livers and kidneys). I suggest writing a list of these foods and pinning it in your kitchen where you can easily look at it before making a shopping list or cooking dinner. There are plenty of healthy alternatives to the foods that you need to avoid, and it’s definitely worth changing your eating habits to reduce those gout flare ups. There is also an abundance of fruits and vegetables that might help to further reduce the symptoms of gout, so feel free to pig out on the fresh foods that aren’t listed here. Your body will thank you for it.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed doctor or herbalist. Please consult a doctor or medical provider for medical issues and before self-remedying, especially if you are taking prescription medication.