Once referred to as the “disease of kings,” gout can be a royal pain. Caused by excess amounts of uric acid, this arthritic attack on the joints causes inflammation, discomfort, and is often associated with other health concerns ranging from carrying extra weight to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. The primary strategy for preventing gout attacks is to reduce the body’s burden of uric acid. Drugs will do this, but they are fraught with complications, including the risk of kidney damage, and I don’t suggest them as the first course of action. Instead, I recommend treating gout naturally with the following dietary and supplement approaches.
Natural Gout Treatment #1: Take a Close Look at Diet
One of the easiest ways to treat gout naturally is to examine the types of foods you are eating. Known dietary triggers for gout include red meat and alcohol in excess. Other foods that appear to spur gout attacks include organ meats, beans, shellfish, and beer.
While these traditional dietary factors certainly play a role, new research reveals that a decades-old diet designed to lower blood pressure may be the key to treating gout naturally. Scientists reviewed data on the DASH diet (a focus on plant foods, low-fat dairy, and reduced overall fat intake) and found that subjects who followed this eating plan for three months saw marked reductions in uric acid levels. Anything you can do to lower your uric acid levels helps prevent gout from occurring in the first place.
Fructose has also been linked to gout attacks. Soft drinks, fruit juices, and many processed foods containing high-fructose corn syrup and other sugars (which are also loaded with fructose). Read labels carefully and severely limit your intake or avoid consuming these items altogether.
Natural Gout Treatment #2: Eat Foods That Heal
Several foods have been shown to help treat gout naturally. First and foremost are cherries, which are rich in phytonutrients that have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Boston University researchers found that when people ate a cup and a half of cherries within two days of a gout attack, recurrence was reduced by 35 percent. Fresh cherries are seasonal and pricey, but frozen cherries, tart cherry juice, concentrates, and extracts pack a similar health punch. Other dark-colored berries such as blueberries and blackberries also contain these protective compounds.
Low-fat dairy foods (as noted above) and coffee are also protective. In one study, participants who consumed one serving per day of low-fat milk or yogurt had lower blood levels of uric acid. Other research has linked increasing consumption of coffee with decreasing levels of uric acid. Finally, eat plenty of vegetables. Vegetables are rich in protective phytonutrients, antioxidants, and a host of other compounds that benefit overall health and help prevent all types of disease and illness—including gout.
Natural Gout Treatment # 3: Drink Plenty of Water
We all know that adequate hydration is important for overall wellness, but when it comes to treating gout naturally, water is actually therapeutic. In fact, drinking plenty of water may be the single-most effective natural gout treatment, as it helps flush out excess uric acid and prevent gout attacks.
Aim for a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses per day. (Note: other beverages such as coffee, tea, sparkling water etc., do count toward your daily fluid intake.)
Natural Gout Treatment #4: Use Supplements to Counter Inflammation
On the supplement front, I have handful of recommendations for treating gout naturally. Most of the supplements we use at Whitaker Wellness as part of our natural gout treatment protocol help by countering inflammation, which in turn reduces pain. They include curcumin (500 mg as needed) and fish oil (at least 2,000 mg per day), as well as vitamin C (500 mg two to three times a day) and quercetin, a flavonoid that hinders the production of uric acid (500 mg 2–3 times a day).
Natural Gout Treatment Recap
If you’ve ever had a gout attack, you may be able to relate to this quip from the 1800s: “Screw up the vise as tightly as possible—you have rheumatism; give it another turn, and that is gout.” Fortunately, in this day and age we have a variety of solutions for treating gout naturally. I hope some of these suggestions will help you nip this painful condition in the…toe.
Now it’s your turn: Which of these natural gout treatments have you tried?