Uric acid is a natural waste product in your body. But when too much builds up, it can crystalize. This accumulates in your joints and causes gout. It’s a painful—even crippling—condition. Once you’ve had it, you’ll always be prone to it…
Gout can pop up in your ankle, heel, knee, wrist, toe, and even fingers. But don’t let fear of a flare up stop you from enjoying your summer. Here are five ways to help avoid a gout attack:
1. Steam Your Greens: Leafy greens are among the best things you could possibly eat to help add years to your life. But there’s a little-known problem with these foods… Some of them are high in oxalic acid. It’s a natural defense against predators. Eating too much oxalic acid over time can lead to higher levels of uric acid… And that could mean a gout attack.
But don’t stop eating your greens. Just don’t eat them raw. Gently steaming spinach, kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard is a great way to reduce oxalic acid. This may even help you absorb more of the nutrients in these vegetables. Be sure to drain the veggies and let them dry after steaming. The oxalic acid can actually accumulate in the leftover water. Buying organic veggies may also help reduce inflammation—and chances of an encounter with gout—by lowering your exposure to toxins.
2. Eat Tart Cherries: Preventing inflammation is important for avoiding a gout attack. But don’t rely on NSAIDs to do it. One study found that eating just a half cup serving of tart cherries each day can reduce the frequency of gout attacks by 35%. People who took tart cherry extract instead had even more impressive results. They saw a 45% reduction in gout attacks.
The anthocyanin that gives tart cherries their red color also helps prevent inflammation. It may also lower the amount of uric acid in your blood—another important factor in preventing a gout attack. If you can’t find fresh tart cherries, you can buy organic juice and natural extract online.
3. Eliminate High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): This dangerous food additive may do more than just spike your blood sugar levels… The fructose in HFCS also causes your uric acid levels to rise.1 It may also make it harder for your body to process and eliminate this acid. This causes a major buildup that can lead to a gout attack.
One study found that men who drink two or more soft drinks sweetened with HFCS a day have an 85% higher risk of developing gout.2 But it’s not just soda. Look out for fruit juices—even the “healthy” ones—that use HFCS as one of their main ingredients.
4. Limit Alcohol: We don’t recommend that you drink alcohol in excess to begin with. But here’s yet another reason to limit your intake… It boosts your uric acid levels. One study found that subjects who drank the most beer and liquor raised the uric acid content of their blood by up to 60%.3 In fact, for every 10 grams of alcohol you consume in a day, your gout risk may go up by 17%.4
To put that number in real world terms, there’s about 14 grams of alcohol in a single shot of most liquors.5 Though some studies suggest drinking wine may lower your risk, it’s probably best to avoid it if you’re already prone to gout flare ups.
5. Supplement with Celery Seed: It’s an ancient Indian medicine used to treat colds, flu, and poor digestion. But it may also help prevent a gout attack. Celery seed is a diuretic. It helps your body pass water by increasing urine output.6 This may also help you flush out uric acid and keep it from building up in your joints. And it’s not just uric acid that it helps get rid of. The antioxidant content of these seeds may also help prevent inflammation that can bring on gout.
Your best bet for celery seed is to find a natural extract in supplement form. Try your local health food store. But if you can’t find it near you, it’s also available online.
If you already suffer from gout, these tips can help you prevent a future attack. But if you’ve never had an attack, following these five steps may keep you from ever experiencing one.
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