Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects not only joints, but other organs as well (kidneys may be heavily affected by gout). The joint at the base of the big toe is affected in more than 50% of all cases. The explanation for this is quite interesting and simple. Gout is a condition in which there is a high level of uremic acid in the blood. Uremic acid has a tendency to make crystals if a sufficient amount is present. Since the joints do not have a blood circulation of their own, nutrients “leak” in the joint, that way making the right conditions for uremic acid crystallization. Since the big toe joint is the lowest joint in our body, and the uremic acid is quite heavy (compared to water and other body fluids), it stays in there and tiny crystals begin to form, damaging the cartilage of the joint which is extremely painful. Patients often say “even if a fly lands on my toe, I can feel it and it hurts”. That is how tender the joints may be in gout.
To make things easier, these few key points in treatment are essential:
– Reducing uremic acid concentration in the blood
– Reducing inflammation in joints
– Reducing the pain
There is a number of studies conducted on gout patients after years of patient’s reports that, somehow, eating cherries reduces the frequency and intensity of gout attacks. So, what the numbers say?
– 1 cup of cherries in the last 48h was associated with 50% lower risk of another attack.
– Cherry extract used in any amount in the last 48h reduced the risk of gout attack for 40%.
– 1 cup of cherries combined with allopurinol therapy reduced the risk of another flare up to 75%.
What is it about cherries that makes gout flare ups go away?
No one really knows exactly how, but there is a theory that offers a satisfactory explanation. Anthocyanin, the antioxidant pigment in red fruit and veggies took the credit for the beneficial effect of cherries. It stabilizes free radicals, which cause inflammation response. Although cherries are not the only fruit that has anthocyanin, the level of it is highest in cherries.
How much cherries to eat per day?
If you have gout, it is really important to keep the sugar intake below 25 grams per day. Sugar from fruit still counts as a sugar. There is no universal dose that will help everyone, so experimenting a little bit is a must, but do not exceed 25 grams of sugar per day. There are 12 grams of sugar in 100 grams of cherries, so the maximum amount of cherries per day should not exceed 200 grams, with all other sugars are excluded.
Gout is a disease that requires a carefully designed diet plan, since the diet only in some patients can make the difference between rare flare ups and constant suffer with rare painless periods.