Although your diet is only one of several reasons you may have gout, food plays a large role in whether you suffer from frequent, debilitating gout attacks. Several common foods may help reduce the pain and frequency of recurring attacks. Before adding new foods to your diet with the intent of treating a serious disease, consult your health practitioner.
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Causes of Gout
Gout is a painful form of arthritis, caused by the deposit of uric acid crystals in your joints. Many foods are broken down into uric acid, or they contribute to the state known as acidosis, where your body's pH is too acidic. This may lead to various health problems. Certain foods have been shown to cause or aggravate gout. Foods high in purines -- one of the byproducts of protein digestion -- alcoholic beverages, sodas, wheat gluten and nightshade vegetables have all been implicated in contributing to gout. The nightshade vegetable family includes peppers, tomatoes, white potatoes and eggplant. These vegetables contain solanine, a chemical that may trigger joint pain in people who are sensitive. Eliminating these foods from your diet may not be enough to ensure you don't have additional attacks in the future. For long-term control of gout symptoms, add a few of the foods that may help lessen inflammation and alkalize your blood.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a mild acid that helps the body create an alkaline-forming environment, which prevents uric acid from crystallizing in the joints, according to Dr. Robert O. Young and Shelley Redford Young in "The pH Miracle." Apple cider vinegar may be included in your diet in several ways. Sprinkle it on salads, use it in place of other vinegars in recipes and make pickles using this delicious vinegar. Additionally, the authors suggest making a drink by combining 2 to 4 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar in a tall glass of water. They recommend drinking one or two glasses daily until you get your gout under control.
Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is high in anthocyanins, which provide anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce pain and swelling during a gout attack. Add a glass or two of cherry juice to your daily diet to manage your gout pain. “The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies" recommends mixing equal parts of water and tart cherry juice or cherry juice concentrate. As your gout pain subsides, reduce the amount you consume to one glass daily. To add variety to your diet, you can eat cherries instead of drinking the juice. Eight ounces of fresh or canned cherries daily will give you the same amount of beneficial anthocyanins as the juice.
Lemons not only provide vitamin C that helps relieve gout pain, but they also provide potassium. Potassium is necessary for proper kidney function and helps keep your blood and urine pH slightly alkaline, according to Felicia Drury Kliment in her book, "The Acid Alkaline Balance." Lemon juice also helps prevent kidney stones and the formation of urate crystals. One of the best ways to consume lemon juice is by making lemon water. Squeeze the juice of a half or whole lemon into an 8-oz. glass of warm water. Drink it in the morning about 30 minutes before breakfast. The lemon water will not only help you manage your gout, but also it will flush your system of excess waste.