Gout is a form of arthritis caused by accumulation of uric acid crystals in the blood. Normally, the condition affects the big toe but the pain is usually distributed to other joints. Uric acid occurs naturally in the bloodstream, however when it exceeds certain levels, it crystallizes. These crystals gather together in the big toe which result in debilitating pain.
To help you understand how to treat gout using tart cherries, you need to know how the condition starts. While genetics are known to make people vulnerable to gout, lifestyle factors are usually responsible for most gout cases. Gout usually occurs when people make poor dietary choices and consume foods that contain high amounts of purines. In addition, lifestyle choices such as consuming alcohol interferes with the removal of uric acid.
Uric acid is produced in the body when purines-chemical compounds found in foods such as meat-are broken down. Ordinarily, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and eliminated from the body through the kidneys. But if you eat foods that contain too much purine or the kidneys are unable to eliminate enough uric acid, these crystal are formed and they trigger gout attacks.
How cherries help fight gout
Just as some of the foods you eat are broken down to form purines, tart cherries are broken down to form anthocyanins and bioflavonoids. These are the compounds that fight inflammation and reduce the amount of uric acid in the blood. Less uric acid in your blood stream means less work for your kidneys. When uric acid levels are low, there are less sharp crystals to cause gout.
If you have been suffering from gout, you may need about 2 servings of cherries daily to get your uric acid down to eliminate the attacks. When you keep eating cherries over a long period of time, you help to regulate uric acid levels in the bloodstream and eliminate symptoms of the condition. In addition, you need to make lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol consumption in order to keep off gout attacks in the long term.