Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Superfoods for Fighting Gout

This time of year, after all the rich foods of the holiday season, many people who are prone to gout suffer flare ups. If you've ever experienced gout, you know it's no picnic, but by eating the right foods, you can help control the painful symptoms and find relief - without resorting to potentially toxic and often inefficient drugs.
What is Gout?
Structure of uric acid (keto form)
Structure of uric acid (keto form) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gout, also called gouty arthritis, is caused by an accumulation of uric acid in the blood. The disease usually appears in midlife and primarily in males. It can be hereditary or the secondary to some other disease process. The main symptom of gout is severe pain and swelling in joints, but gout usually effects one joint at a time, then may move from one joint to affect another joint.
The kidneys filter uric acid out of the body. But with gout, the body makes excess uric acid or the kidneys fail to function properly, failing to rid the body of the uric acid and it begins to build up in the joints in the form of uric acid crystals. This condition is very painful. The accumulation of these crystals causes severe pain and swelling in the joint. A common site for gout is the big toe joint. But gout can occur in an ankle, knee, elbow, wrist or finger. Typically the onset occurs at night with excruciating pain, swelling and inflammation. Rich food and alcohol may contribute to the rise in uric acid and the increase in the severity of the symptoms.
What Can You Do to Relieve It?
Luckily, there are several superfoods that are easy to incorporate into your everyday diet that may help alleviate the symptoms of gout.
The pectin and vitamin C in apples can help alleviate gout. The vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system and the pectin helps the joints remain flexible.
The Bing cherry owes its development to the Ch...
Cherries are a helpful remedy for gout. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dark cherries or cherry juice are a popular natural remedy for gout. Eat them daily whenever you suffer an onset of symptoms, and this may help clear them up within a day or two.
Onions protect the circulatory system and are a powerful antibiotic. They're good for urinary infections, and their diuretic activity helps with arthritis, rheumatism and gout.
Beets are richer than spinach in iron and other minerals, and the greens are helpful in cases of gout since the iron helps oxygenate and purify the bloodstream.
It’s also important to drink plenty of water to help keep the kidneys filtrating properly and to prevent the formation of kidney stones. 
Avoid foods that are high in purines, as they account for approximately 50 percent of the uric acid produced in the body. Organ meats like liver, sweetbreads, brains, kidney, meat gravies, meat extracts, scallops, wild game, mackerel, herring, anchovies and sardines and cauliflower are all high in purines, so stay away from these during an attack of gout, or even better - avoid them altogether if you are prone to gout.
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