Gout Remedies to Keep You on Your Toes
Gout Remedies to Keep You on Your Toes. Whenever I hear the term “gout”, I immediately think of King Henry VII. Why, you ask? Because as a child I saw a TV special about that infamous monarch in which it was mentioned that he suffered from gout. The affliction was said to be caused by his rich diet which consisted of mass quantities of meat, gravies, and sauces–as well as gallons of fine wine.
In those days, people recognized this condition as being associated with a rich diet consisting mainly of meat. Since people who could afford to eat a lot of meat were usually rich as well, gout became known as “the rich man’s disease.” Centuries later, it is no longer associated just with the wealthy, which unfortunately means almost anyone may develop the disease under the right circumstances. In order to understand how various gout remedies may bring relief, it is necessary to understand the affliction itself.
What Causes Gout?
Gout is caused by an excess of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid is created when the body metabolizes purines, which are present naturally in many types of foods. It is thought that susceptible people either do not produce enough of the enzyme Uricase–which breaks down uric acid–or simply ingest too much purine-rich food. As is the case with many disorders, some people will be able to gorge themselves on foods rich in purine before experiencing any symptoms, while others will have excruciating pain after a brief dalliance with suspect foods.
Gout causes arthritis-like symptoms, usually in the joints of the feet, ankles, and hands. As accumulated uric acid congregates around these joints, sharp crystals form and jab into the tissues, causing pain, inflammation and redness. Because uric acid solidifies at cooler temperatures, the most common joint to be affected is the big toe. Although anyone can develop gout, it is most commonly seen in middle-aged men.
The bad news, in addition to the fact that it is no longer considered a indicator of your lofty financial status, is that untreated gout can cause joint damage over time. Excess uric acid can also damage the kidneys, so it is imperative that you take decisive steps to treat your condition. The good news is that changing your diet and lifestyle can often bring relief.
Home Remedies for Gout
One of the most basic gout home remedies consists of diet manipulation. Examine your current diet to identify those foods that are rich in purines. You can get an extensive list from your doctor, but the most common foods are red meat, organ meat, poultry, and most fish. Alcohol can also be a problem, particularly wine and beer, which also contain yeast -another problem food. Fried foods are also a no no, since they can deplete your stores of vitamin E, causing more uric acid to be released into your bloodstream. Even foods such as asparagus, peas, spinach and dried beans may cause problems.
That’s a pretty extensive list, isn’t it? Well don’t worry too much. Experts aren’t suggesting that you cut these foods from your diet completely, at least not all of them. In fact, restricting your diet too much may actually cause a spike in your blood uric acid levels! Identify which of these foods you eat the most, then try deleting them one by one to see how your body reacts. You may find that cutting out just one or two problem foods may do the trick, or that limiting your intake of many types of foods might bring your symptoms under control. If this sounds like a lot of work it is–but it’s worth it. The easiest way to make these changes is to keep a food diary so that you will know in short order which foods you’ll need to avoid or limit in order to find relief.
Other Natural Gout Remedies
A simple way to treat gout symptoms is to drink plenty of water, thereby diluting the uric acid in your blood. If you are heavy, losing weight is another natural, if not simple, method of controlling symptoms. Vitamin C counteracts the effects of excess uric acid, so make it a habit to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, or take a supplement. Fruit juices work well too, particularly cherry and blueberry.
You may also want to try some herbal remedies for gout. Natural remedies such as juniper, alfalfa, celery seed, devil’s claw, burdock and yucca can all be taken in either capsule, tablet or tincture form, or as a tea. Some of these herbs may have a diuretic effect, however, so be sure to drink plenty of liquids. Talk to your doctor about any prescription drugs you may be taking, such as high blood pressure medications, that made deplete your body of water; you may be able to either adjust the dosage or substitute another medication that won’t have a diuretic effect.