Gout is a disease which can occur from deposits of sodium urate crystals that pile in the joints due to high blood levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia) and can cause arthritis, especially in the bones and joints of the feet and, infrequently, the joints of the spine, hips, and shoulders.
Over time, residual uric acid crystalizes in cooler parts of the body like the ankles, knees, wrists, and elbows.
It is a condition which more frequently occurs in middle-aged men and, occasionally in women. When it occurs in women, it is probably with women after menopause.
Although it is said that gout is inherited, it often comes as the result of an individual’s diet, so if you want to find the culprit for this painful disease, you might as well look in your refrigerator.
If you fail to give it a timely treatment, it could start appearing more frequently and spread to your other joints. Most people tend to neglect treating gout, but if it spirals out of control, it can result in acute joint damage and deformity.
Below you can find some natural remedies that can help you treat gout and alleviate its symptoms.
What causes gout?
Gout usually occurs either because the liver creates an excess of uric acid, or due to excessive consumption of foods rich in protein, such as meat – more than we can eject through urination.
Our bodies transform food components called purine into uric acid, increasing the levels of uric acid, and excess of uric acid in the blood results in the formation of urate crystals in and around the joints.
Along with certain foods, frequent alcohol consumption is another culprit for gout as it increases the production of uric acid, but it also impedes its ejection by the kidneys. So, we can easily say that high amounts of alcohol combined with food rich in protein is a common cause for gout.
Symptoms of gout
Painful gout attacks can very often come out of the blue in one or several joints, and it makes the joint inflamed and sensitive to touch.
A serious attack may lead to fever, chills, and fast heartbeats and, if left untreated, these attack may occur for days to come. And even after this bout ends and the symptoms fade, it can still very likely reappear in the near future.
If you fail to treat gout after several attacks, your joint motion will be impaired and hard crystal lumps will start to form in or around the joints, under the skin around joints, and possibly even the kidneys and other organs.
Diabetics and/or people with high blood pressure who also have gout are more likely to have inadequate kidney function that decreases the excretion of uric acid, which in turn exacerbates the gout condition and may lead to tissue or joint damage.
People who are affected by gout should steer clear of acid-forming foods like processed and refined foods, flour and sugar products (biscuits, pastries, cakes, etc.), oily and fried foods, soft drinks, tobacco, and, naturally, alcohol.
Moreover, if you have gout, avoid bean products like soya milk, bean curds, bean sprouts, bean paste, as this group of foods is packed with purine, which can lead to crystallization of uric acid. But as long as you consume these foods in moderation, you do not have to completely omit them from your diet.
Fruits and vegetables to avoid if you have gout: strawberry, durian (another local favorite!), tomato, tomato products, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, rhubarb and peas.
But we are afraid changes in your diet might not be sufficient in combating gout. You should also try exercising more (at least three times a week for no less than 30 minutes) and drink plenty of water (8 to ten glasses daily).
Include fruits and vegetables in your diet, drink plenty of water, and avoid some of the abovementioned foods and, of course, alcohol.
Below we’ve listed some tips that can help you lower the uric acid crystals in your body:
- Limit your intake of foods high in saturated fats from fatty poultry, high-fat dairy products, and red meats
- Try avoiding alcohol as much as possible
- Avoid foods like such as bread, cakes, and candy
- Avoid drinking drinks sweetened with too much sugar
- Avoid products that are high in fructose corn syrup
- Drink a lot of water, sugar-free herbal teas, and natural juices
- Your intake of proteins from fish, lean meat, and poultry should be moderate (no more than 4 to 6 ounces)
- Reduce stress by doing physical exercises like walking in nature, doing yoga, meditating, listening to music…
- Increase your Vitamin C intake as it helps combat gout.
Below are a few natural drinks that will help alleviate symptoms of gout:
- Drinking a glass of lemon water early each day will help alkalize your body and avert the formation of uric crystals
- Add 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda to your glass of water and the sodium bicarbonate it contains – a strong prophylaxis candidate – will help reduce uric acid levels
- Drink a glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every day before dinner and lunch to alkalize your body and help it eliminate uric acid with the help of the malic acid
Include the following foods in your diet to prevent gout:
- Devil’s Claw’s extract has potent anti-inflammatory effects which have been proven by the University Hospital of Zurich
- Pineapple is packed with bromelain which contains effective analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties
- Grapes, berries, and cherries are fruits rich in anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins which also contain potent anti-inflammatory properties
- Flaxseeds – According to a Federal Fluminense University lab test, flaxseeds lowed serum uric acid
- Turmeric, which has high levels of curcumin, has potent anti-inflammatory attributes and improves the function of the kidneys
- Parsley contains 2 of the 15 flavonoids which lower uric acid in the body, quercetin and kaempferol.
Further tips to treat gout
Apply cold and hot compresses on areas affected by gout for about 15 minutes for a couple of hours to reduce swelling and ease pain. To alleviate inflammation and pain in the big toe, soak it in Epsom salt at least three times a week.