Gout is a type of arthritis that is typically characterized by painful, stiff and inflamed joints. When an attack occurs, you may experience debilitating pain.
In most cases, gout symptoms disappear within 3-10 days, and the next attack may not occur for months, or years. However, in some cases, people experience severe and constant attacks that can permanently damage their joints.
It is very important to prevent gout attacks to maintain the quality of your life. A recent study claims that cherries may be very beneficial for reducing gout attacks.
10-12 Cherries a Day Can Reduce Gout Attack Risk
A study that included more than 600 people with gout showed that those who consumed 10-12 cherries a day experienced 35% lower risk of a subsequent gout attack. Participants who ate more cherries, up to 3 servings in 2 days, had 50% lower risk. To obtain the benefits of cherries, you should eat a small amount. In this way, the sugar contribution is small. Moreover, they contain powerful compounds like bioflavonoids and anthocyanins, known for their ability to fight inflammation.
In most cases, gout occurs when the metabolic processes that control the amount of uric acid in the blood do not do their job efficiently. As a result of the excess uric-acid-forming crystals in the joints, you may experience swelling and stiffness. The pain related to this disease is usually caused by the inflammatory response of your body to the crystals.
Fructose and Uric Acid: The Connection
Drinking a 6-ounce glass of orange juice or one soda a day has been associated with a significant increase in gout (74% and 41%). It is believed that this is due to the fructose, which generates uric acid within minutes of ingestion. Fructose is a sugar that is metabolized through very specific pathways that differ from those of glucose. Increased levels of uric acid contribute to gout and other health problems, including kidney disease, obesity, hypertension, and insulin resistance/diabetes.
Latest studies claim that the safest range of uric acid is between 3 and 5.5 milligrams per deciliter. However, two-thirds of the U.S population is overweight. Most of these people have uric acid in levels in excess of 5.5.
The ideal uric acid level is probably around:
- 4 mg/dl for men
- 3.5 mg/dl for women
Tips for Preventing and Managing Gout
It is very important to avoid the excessive consumption of cherries because large amounts of fructose on a regular basis are not good for your health.
In order to maintain good health, it is recommended to limit your fructose intake to below 25 grams a day. This especially applies to those who have gout. For example, if you eat cherries for their therapeutic value, 10 sweet cherries or 1 cup of sour/tart cherries contain about 4 grams of fructose. If the cherries are your only source of fructose, 25 cherries would put you at 10 grams of fructose. To prevent and manage gout attacks, it is very important to limit fructose in your diet. Also, it is very important to avoid soda, fruit drinks and other sweetened drinks, because they are high in fructose.
Make sure to drink a lot of water to remove uric acid from your body. Alcohol (beer specifically), can raise the levels of uric acid in your blood. Hence, make sure to avoid alcohol as well!
Sources and References: Juicing For Health