Goodbye Gout — Ways to Avoid and Subdue It Naturally
Gout is a form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream. It can cause intense pain, swelling and stiffness in the joint, often in the feet and big toes. Men are more susceptible to gout, but women too are prone especially after menopause.
Majority of gout cases are treated with medicine, but lifestyle changes can make a difference too. That said, it’s best to consult a doctor to ascertain the best prevention methods for you. Below is a curated list on natural ways to lower uric acid levels.
Natural remedies for gout
Olive leaf extract
Scientist-driven research has discovered that a unique molecule named oleuropein is the agent that grants olive oil its numerous health benefits. Through some processing methods, the olive leaf extract is produced, robust in virgin oleuropein. Practiced in Mediterranean folk medicine for hundreds of years, the olive leaf is proven effective in reducing gout symptoms and attacks. How do you consume an olive leaf extract? Simple — brew the leaves in a tea and add some honey to counter the bitterness. Alternatively, you can purchase natural olive leaf extract supplements.
Cherries or tart cherry juice
Cherries — whether sour, sweet, red, black, in extract form, as a juice, or raw — are possibly the best-known natural remedy for gout. Rich in antioxidants known as anthocyanins and bioflavonoids, this fruit can help reduce inflammation and bring down uric acid levels. To support this claim, a study found just two days of consuming cherries or cherry extract resulted in a 35% reduction in gout attacks in over 600 people. The ideal serving of any cherry form is three servings over a two-day period, which was considered the most effective.
Magnesium is a dietary mineral found in leafy green vegetables, nuts and whole grains. It’s said to be beneficial in treating gout using its alkaline nature to decrease uric acid formation. If you lack magnesium in your body, it can worsen chronic inflammatory stress in the body, leaving you susceptible to gout. There are no studies to prove this, however. A different study showed that adequate magnesium is associated with lower and healthier levels of uric acid, thus potentially lowering gout risk. This applied to men but not women within the study. It’s a good idea to eat magnesium-rich foods daily or take magnesium supplements, but read label directions closely.
Ginger is probably one of the most underrated and overlooked herbs in our kitchen. It has been known to subdue inflammatory conditions and its ability to help gout is well-documented. One research showcased that topical ginger could reduce pain related to uric acid in gout. Another study proved that ginger reduced the uric acid levels in subjects with high levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia). It should be noted that the subjects were rats and ginger was ingested rather than applied topically. One way to take ginger is to incorporate it into your cooking.
To make a ginger paste, boil water with one tablespoon of fresh, grated ginger root. Soak a washcloth in the mixture and when cool, apply the washcloth to the joints where you’re experiencing pain at least once per day for 15 to 30 minutes. There could be a chance of skin irritation, so it would be best to do a patch test first. Skin irritation is possible, so it would best to do a test on a small patch of skin first.
To ingest ginger, boil some water and steep two teaspoons of ginger root for 10 minutes. Enjoy three cups per day. If you’re having doubts, it’s best to consult with your doctor before taking large amounts of ginger.
Warm water with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and turmeric
Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and turmeric concoction are each recommended anecdotally for gout. Lemon juice is believed to confer an alkaline quality to our urine which encourages uric acid discharge. Cucurmin on the other hand, the active ingredient in turmeric is anti-inflammatory and can reduce uric acid. While there aren’t research supporting apple cider vinegar for gout, studies show it may support the kidneys. Making this concoction is quite simple — just squeeze and mix the juice from half a lemon into warm water. Add two teaspoons of turmeric and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Adjust to taste and drink two to three times per day.
Celery or celery seeds
The fibrous celery, rich in potassium and other minerals is low on the glycemic index. It's traditionally used to treat urinary issues. For gout, extract and seeds of the vegetable have become popular home remedies. Luteolin, a property in celery, may reduce uric acid levels while beta-selinene exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There are some experiments of celery on gout, though scientific research is inadequate. Consume celery in forms of raw celery sticks, juice, extract, or seeds throughout the day. Be sure to follow label directions to the T if you are purchasing an extract or supplement.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. It has been a staple in herbal medicine since ancient times to treat arthritis and joint aches. It can be used to subdue the effects of uric acid and lower histamine levels which can contribute to gout. Its traditional use is frequently cited in studies, though there is no research directly proving its viability. To try this tea, boil some water and steep one to two teaspoons of dried nettle per cup of water. You can drink up to three cups per day.
Not only is it beautiful to look at, hibiscus is potent with medicinal properties, traditional herbal remedy. Hibiscus is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help lower uric acid levels in gout patients, evident in a study performed on rats. You can reap the benefits of hibiscus in the form of a supplement, tea, or extract.
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away; this might just work for gout because some natural health sites recommend apples to lower uric acid. However, there is no science-backed evidence that can support this claim. Another thing to consider is that apples contain fructose, which could trigger hyperuricemia, leading to gout flare-ups.
Bananas are good for gout because they’re low in purines, high in vitamin C and potassium-rich, which helps the tissue and organs in the body to function properly. Bananas also comprise fructose sugars which can be a gout trigger. The rule of the thumb is to reduce purine-rich food, so, if banana doesn’t do it for you, dark leafy greens and avocados are also potassium rich, with lower sugar content.
Also known as magnesium sulphate, Epsom salts are rich in magnesium which may lower gout risk. However, studies show that magnesium can’t be adequately absorbed through skin to confer any health benefits. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath can be quite relaxing. To give it a go, mix one to two cups in your bath and just soak your entire body or specific joints for symptom relief.
Limit purine-rich foods
Purines are compounds found in the cells of all living things, including humans, animals and plants naturally in some food. Uric acid is the byproduct of the body breaking down the purine compounds. So, when you consume purine-rich food, the body goes into overdrive to metabolise this compound, causing the overproduction of uric acid which leads to gout. Some foods that are high in purines are good sources of nutrients so instead of avoiding it altogether, practice moderation.
- wild game, such as deer (venison)
- trout, tuna, haddock, sardines, anchovies, mussels, and herring
- excess alcohol, including beer and liquor
- high-fat foods, such as bacon, dairy products, and red meat (including veal)
- organ meats, for example, liver and sweetbreads
- sugary foods and beverages
Food with moderate purine content includes:
- deli meats
- most other meat, including ham and beef
- oyster, shrimp, crab, and lobster
As your blood is filtered through your kidneys, uric acid can build up and form urate crystals. By drinking plenty of water, you’re keeping the kidney function optimal and in result, preventing reducing uric acid crystal buildup and gout attacks. However, no studies show it can replace gout treatments.
Get plenty of rest
When joints are inflamed, it can inhibit movement and mobility. You should refrain from exercising, lifting heavy weights and any movements that use joints excessively as it can exacerbate the pain and duration of a flare-up. The best remedy in this instance is to stay put and relax.