Commentary: Heal gout naturally

Commentary: Heal gout naturally
October 26
07:00 2017

By Elisha Covington

There are many different types of arthritis and it is a condition suffered by many. In many cases, shifting your diet and lifestyle can alleviate many arthritic symptoms.

Gout is a result of high uric acid levels in the body. Uric acid is a waste produced by our body after it breaks down food substances. Normally, uric acid is carried in the blood, passed through the kidneys and excreted in urine. However, when levels are abnormally high, a gout flare ensues. Gout usually affects the toes, however, it can also affect kidneys, fingers and tendons.
So, what causes gout? There are many, many factors that contribute to high levels of uric acid. Overeating is a very common cause for a flare, especially when eating too much red meat, sugar, fried food, alcohol, caffeine, and foods rich in purine. Purines are found in most foods, and foods that have a high concentration in purines are organ meats, herring, sardines, anchovies, mushrooms, legumes (especially peanuts), lobsters, oysters, clams, bacon, and asparagus. These foods should definitely be avoided during a flare. The kidneys become overloaded and cannot excrete waste properly, thus causing uric acid to build up.  The overuse of prescription diuretics can cause potassium deficiencies, which compromises the function of a healthy kidney. We need healthy amounts of potassium to help carry out the acids build up. Other factors include hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, obesity and many other pre-existing conditions.

What does gout feel like? Commonly, it’s described as excruciating pain. That pain is caused by red, swollen joints, usually in the foot and big toe, which is sometimes accompanied with fever and chills. Reoccurring flares gradually destroy the joints and the flares last longer and stronger each time it returns. This is what makes treating and preventing gout flares so important.
Gout is caused by dietary factors, so by avoiding food and drink triggers, you potentially avoid gout pain and side effects. In general, following a diet of mostly fresh foods help balance uric acid formation. Drinking water instead of sugar-filled drinks and soda flushes the body. Drinking pure tart cherry juice each day also flushes uric acid but also reduces inflammation, which will alleviate the pain. Eating cherries and other dark fruit can be used as an alternative for some. Note: cherries are a natural diuretic so they are to be consumed with caution for those on prescription diuretics or those who have fluid intake restrictions.

Celery seed extract and celery juice help reduce inflammation. Eating foods rich in potassium help uric acid release, like bananas, cherries, celery, broccoli, green and sea vegetables, and eating a low sodium diet always helps. Aspirin can raise uric acid levels and some hypertension medications cause inorganic crystal formations as well, so talk with your doctor about the connection.

Addressing gout from a natural healing perspective is one of the only ways to success. It involves changing the diet to eliminate high purine foods, caffeine and alcohol. In doing this, you reduce your dietary fat and will support the kidneys to cleanse and normalize uric acid levels in the blood, as nature intended. Many pharmaceutical drugs to treat gout rarely help gout sufferers and come with a load of side effects. Diet and lifestyle changes can manage and end gout, and until these changes happen, gout will always reoccur. As always, consult with your physician to test your uric acid levels and discuss the best treatment for the underlying cause of high uric acid levels.

Elisha Covington is an avid reader and a mother of a vivacious 6 year old. She’s passionate about how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by their environments.

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