Gout is a painful yet common condition that affects a large global population. Research shows that cases of gout are on the upsurge. Furthermore, most gout cases are either undiagnosed or untreated.
As a result, patients suffering from gout experience a diminished quality of life and increased mortality rates. With this background, many patients are left to look for alternative means of treating gout.
Some patients have taken to tart cherry juice for gout treatment, and the results couldn’t be more pleasing. It’s crucial to know what gout is to understand how tart cherry juice works to alleviate the condition.
What is Gout?
Gout is a complex form of arthritis that causes extremely sharp pains in your joints. Swelling of the joints and redness are common symptoms associated with gout. Typically, you are likely to experience these symptoms during the night and wake up to them, but not always.
Gout is a result of elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid is a natural by-product of purines, a derivative of some foods. However, the body naturally produces up to two-thirds of the purines in your blood.
The kidneys are responsible for processing uric acid and passing it out as urine. Therefore, when your kidneys fail to handle enough uric acid, there is a buildup in the bloodstream.
The excess uric acid forms sharp crystals that lodge themselves in reserve centers like the big toe. These deposits are what cause the inflammation, which leads to further pain.
Tart Cherries and Gout
For a long time, experts have touted the role of antioxidants in fighting inflammation. Most fruits contain antioxidants. Tart cherry juice for gout treatment wasn’t a viable option until an accidental discovery encouraged more in-depth research.
Dr. Ludwig Blau was tired of dealing with gout pains (and we know the feeling!). It was after he ate a whole bowl of tart cherries that he discovered that he no longer felt pain in his large toe. He also noted that when he stopped eating the delicious fruit, he experienced the pains again.
This development warranted a deeper introspection into the role of tart cherries for gout.
What Make Tart Cherries Ideal
Cherries contain up to 15% of the recommended intake of Vitamin C. They also contain a lot of antioxidants that play a huge role in overall health. Due to their availability, many people at risk of gout use cherries to curb the painful symptoms of the condition.
Tart cherries are full of vitamin C. The vitamin is a crucial ingredient for improving kidney function. When kidneys are working at full capacity, they can break down more uric acid.
Tart cherries nourish the kidneys. In turn, the organs help to control the accumulation of excessive uric acid in the body.
Tart cherries also have plenty of potassium. The element plays a vital role in the management of gout. It maintains balance in the bloodstream, therefore lowering blood pressure.
Lower blood pressure means less workload on the kidney. This enables the kidneys to filter waste efficiently, getting rid of more uric acid.
Your chances of developing high blood pressure increase when there are lots of sodium deposits in your blood. Potassium has shown tremendous results in sodium excretion in urine.
Tart cherries combine Vitamin C and Potassium to reduce blood pressure and improve kidney function. These two factors are significant contributors to gout relief.
Don’t Downplay the Effectiveness
At a glance, it might be easy to downplay the effectiveness of tart cherries. When you have a big toe giving you sleepless nights, a cup full of cherries might will surprise you.
The red pigment in cherries is a substance known as anthocyanins-flavonoids. Depending on the concentration, anthocyanins give a plant red, blue, or purple pigmentation.
In addition to inflammation, anthocyanins help in fighting free radicals and oxidative stress. Research shows that cherries are so rich in anthocyanins and Vitamin C such that a cup of cherries can reduce the resurgence of gout pains by up to 30%.
Studies have proved that tart cherries drastically reduce uric acid levels in the blood. In one study, researchers gave participants bowls of bing cherries. The candidates abstained from other antioxidant-rich foods for up to 48 hours before the study.
Results indicated that the cherries helped reduce urate from urine in less than 5 hours after taking the cherries.
Tart Cherries versus Bing Cherries
There are some factors that make tart cherry juice for gout a great option. Bing cherries are high in fructose. High-fructose foods increase blood sugar levels, which contribute to an increase in uric acid.
Tart cherries, on the other hand, have a slightly sour taste. They have less fructose, making them a prime candidate for treating gout.
In addition to having less fructose, tart cherries are a great resource against gout because you need less. You would need to eat a lot more bing cherries to reap full anti-inflammatory benefits. Tart cherries have a higher concentration of anthocyanins.
Regular intake of tart cherries, even at smaller portions, would be beneficial for gout management.
It is also vital to note that tart cherry juice for gout is better due to the availability of that variety.
Cherries are in full blossom mostly during the summer months. However, tart cherries are available throughout the year in many forms including fresh juice or in supplement form. (We also have our own tart cherry supplement, you should give it a try!)
How to Take Tart Cherries
Due to the pain patients are likely to experience, it might be helpful to up their tart cherry intake. Despite this fact, tart cherries to some people are an acquired taste. Unlike their sweet counterparts, eating capfuls of tart cherry juice for gout may not seem like the most pleasant idea.
You can opt to take them in the form of juice. Taking tart cherry juice for gout will result in a direct intake of vitamins A and C plus the fiber from the cherry pulp.
Alternatively, pies, trail mix, and jams are all options that allow you to get the most out of tart cherries. Still, tart cherries have some fructose, albeit less than bing cherries. It is therefore advisable to check how much you take for gout.
You can also freeze dry your tart cherries for gout. Freeze drying maintains cellular integrity and retains the cherry’s nutritional value. The downside of this is it may cost you more than fresh tart cherries. Freeze dried cherries are common in supplements.
Most supplements have higher concentrations of the active ingredients in tart cherries. These make them fast-acting alternatives to fresh tart cherries. Two capsules can have similar benefits to a serving of up to 5 glasses of pure cherry juice. We have our own tart cherry supplement here.
Since your cherry intake is limited, you can explore other avenues to help maintain a proper alkaline environment. Hydration is one of the most overlooked self-care solutions to most conditions. Water helps the kidney to eliminate impurities. DRINK MORE WATER!
Combined with tart cherries, hydration can decrease your chance of frequent gout flare-ups. Water may also help break down the crystalline structure of the uric molecule, therefore reducing pain.
So far, the evidence backing tart cherry juice for gout management is strong. The big question is, does it work during an active attack?
Data shows that taking about 115 grams of tart cherries with equal parts water every two hours decreases the pain substantially during a gout flare up. This quick effect may be because vitamin C and potassium are both water-soluble.
These fast-acting properties of tart cherries make them an efficient supplement for pain management if conventional medication is unavailable.
Tips For Gout Prevention
The following tips can assist you to lower your chances of developing gout.
- Avoid or limit your intake of high-purine foods, which increase uric levels in the blood.
- Avoid alcohol
- Limit your sugar intake as sugar tends to increase uric acid.
- Increasing consumption of vegetables may not directly help in reducing uric acid (depending on what vegetable). It can, however, make your urine more alkaline. Alkaline urine helps in getting rid of the acid.
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure helps your kidney function better. Taking up activities that help keep your blood pressure neutral can help you avoid later problems with gout.
Gout continues to plague many people worldwide. With age, the risk of gout increases. Taking up healthy habits helps in keeping gout symptoms at bay. If it is left unchecked, gout can develop into severe conditions such as chronic gout and tophi.
However, regular intake of tart cherry juice for gout may put you at a better position to fight off the effects of the painful condition.
Keeping up a tart cherry juice routine is easy and healthy for any age group. You can also use tart cherry supplements for quick results against gout, which are much easier to manage on a daily basis, and on the go.
Keep on reading our blog for more health information on gout.