Gout is a complex form of arthritis and is characterized by sudden and severe attacks of pain, redness, tenderness and swelling the in joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe (approximately 50% of cases). Other joints, such as the heels, knees, wrists and fingers, may also be affected. Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. The uric acid crystallizes, and the crystals deposit in joints, causing a lot of pain and inflammation. Men are more likely to get gout, but women become increasingly vulnerable to gout after menopause.
Here are the best natural gout treatments that involve diet and lifestyle changes:
Controlling your weight is essential if you have gout. Results from study published in 2010 at Boston University School of Medicine found that obesity is a major risk factor for gout. About half of all gout sufferers are found to be overweight, and this excess weight worsens the situation. It is therefore evident from this study that losing weight, and maintaining a proper body weight, will greatly improve the chances of further gout attacks.
Increasing water intake helps to flush uric acid from the system and prevents build up of crystallization of uric acid around the joints. So drink plenty of water, about 8 glasses a day, and stay hydrated. You can add to the water the juice of half lemon into an 8-oz. glass of warm water. Drink it in the morning about 30 minutes before breakfast. The lemon water will help you manage your gout, as lemon juice helps prevent the formation of urate crystals and keeps your blood and urine pH slightly alkaline.
Foods to avoid
Avoid foods that are rich sourches of uric acid. These include organ meats and seafoods such as sardines and anchovies. It is also advised to eliminate coffee and all other caffeine sources from your diet, reduce sugar consumption and alcohol.
Foods to eat:
Although there is a need for further scientific evidence to confirm pineapple’s efficacy, it is believed that bromelain, a compound of digestive enzymes, as well as other compounds, can reduce gout and ease pain. If you cannot get fresh pineapples, also canned pineapples or pineapple juice can help ease your pain by consuming it daily to help reduce inflammation.
Adding grapes to your diet can lower uric acid in the blood stream and thus helping to prevent gout.
3. Cherries and berries
Cherries, along with strawberries and other berries, are a rich source of antioxidants and help fight inflammation in the body. Tart cherries and strawberries contain two powerful compounds, anthocyanins and bioflavonoids that help to relieve and prevent arthritis and gout in your body. Other berry types are similarly rich in these kinds of antioxidants. Recent studies have found that eating about 30 pieces of cherries within 48 hours of a gout attack may cut the risk of recurrence of gout pain significantly. Eat tart cherries in all forms – fresh, or as cherry juice, or in the form of tart cherry extract.
4. Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
ACV is packed of nutrients, but the ingredient thought to be most effective in treating and preventing gout is acetic acid. Although ACV tastes acidic, the acetic acid turns alkaline inside the body and creates a pH-balanced environment that gout can’t thrive in. Although further research needs to be done to verify these claims, it is believed that drinking apple cider vinegar can break up uric acid crystals and prevent them from reforming in the joints, helping blood circulation and purification, and reduces inflammation and swelling in the joints, thus allowing for better flexibility of the joints. Take 2-3 tablespoons of undiluted ACV, twice or three times a day. If you cannot manage to consume pure undiluted ACV, mix it in a glass of water.
One of the active ingredients in turmeric is called curcumin, and is used in traditional Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis. Taking turmeric may also help gout, because it has anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is safe for most people but do consult your doctor before taking turmeric supplement to make sure it doesn’t interfere with any medications you take.
Exercise is not recommended while your joints are painful or when it might cause further injury, but once your gout is back under control, exercise increases circulation and normalizes uric acid levels in the body.
Baking soda can help reduce the amount of uric acid. Mix 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in 8 oz. glass of water and drink. If you suffer from acute attack increase the amount to 1 teaspoon of baking soda and drink up to 4 times throughout the day. Be aware that baking soda can increase blood pressure, so consult with your doctor before using it.
Devil’s claw is anti-inflammatory herb that can help ease the pain and is used in arthritis, gout, muscle pain and back pain. It contains chemicals that might decrease inflammation and swelling and resulting pain. If you have diabetes or using a blood thinning medicine don’t take this herb.
Safflower helps relieve gout by neutralizing uric acid and removing toxins and waste from the body. It also works as an anti-inflammatory and helps relieve painful stiff joints.
How to relieve gout pain
1. Try cold packs or cold compresses on the joint to lessen the inflammation and help the pain. Apply it to the joint for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day.
2. Take Epson salt bath to Reduce pain and muscle cramps. Just add 2 cups to your bath water and soak for at least 15 minutes, 3 times a week, to reap the benefits.You can also do hand-foot soak – Add ½ cup of Epsom salt to a large bowl and soak your feet or hands for about 20 minute. Also read here about the most extraordinary uses for Epsom Salt.
3. Rest the joint until the pain decreases (if you have an acute attack, you probably won’t be able to move the joint much anyway). If you can, raise the affected joint on a pillow.
4. Use essential oils to relieve pain – some essential oils have analgesic properties, which means that they have shown to relieve or reduce pain, as well as anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic properties.