A rather peculiar disease, gout these days evokes thoughts of old Henry VIII and medieval medical treatments. But it does still exist today, and people who suffer from it can testify to how incredibly painful it is. A severe form of arthritis, gout is caused by an excess of uric acid, which creates crystals around joints, the Mayo Clinic says.
"Crystals" may not sound like that big a deal — but they are no joke. Uric acid buildups are mostly caused by high levels of purine, which in turn are brought about by what some people would call a lavish lifestyle. Here are a few ways to counteract high intakes of purine.
1. Watch what you eat — and drink
Meats, refined carbs, fructose, and yeast are all responsible for high purine intakes, LiveStrong indicates. As such, consumption of sodas and fruit juices should be limited, and so should beer. "Organ meats," such as liver and kidneys, should be avoided as well, Mayo Clinic recommends — seafood too, such as sardines, anchovies and mussels.
2. Mix healthier foods into your diet
Top 10 Home Remedies suggests a number of natural foods that you can take to counteract the effects of gout. Cherries rank highly among them, thanks to their high levels in antioxidants and anthocyanins, which help reduce inflammation. Apples and bananas are also recommended, as they both contain compounds capable of getting rid of uric acid: Malic acid in apples neutralizes uric acid, while the potassium contents in bananas will liquefy the crystals and flush them out.
3. Try these alternative remedies
In addition to eating these healthy foods, there are a few other methods you can try. Watered-down apple cider vinegar can relieve pain with its acidity, Top 10 Home Remedies suggests, while ginger root (in powdered or liquid form) prevents inflammation.
Baking soda and activated charcoal can both reduce uric acid: The former by mixing half a teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of water, and the latter by applying paste made from charcoal and water to your gout-infected areas, either in the form of a lotion or a bath.
Finally, water is a great last resort. LiveStrong recommends solid hydration to allow your kidneys to process the uric acid and pass it through urine. For quick pain relief, immersing painful body parts in cold water can help — but Top 10 Home Remedies warns not to abuse cold treatment, as it could also promote the crystallization of uric acid and make things worse.
Naturally, it is strongly recommended to see a doctor regularly when you're dealing with gout, as you will get a better idea of exactly how to adapt your diet to your own specific circumstances.
Know of any other home remedies for the disease? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to pass this article around.