Home Remedies for Gout
Gout is a very unusual condition that is most commonly characterized as an acute attack of inflammatory arthritis, and results in hot, swollen, and painful joints. It most commonly affects the feet, due to slower blood flow in the extremities, particularly in the big toe. It can appear in other forms as well, including kidney stones, tophi (accumulated crystal formation in the joints or bones), or urate nephropathy, which is a significant decrease in kidney function. There are a number of home remedies to decrease the severity of the appearance of this uncomfortable affliction, but before we explain how to solve the problem, we should first examine the causes and the details of the condition itself.
Simply put, gout is an accumulation of uric acid crystals in various parts of the body, and when they begin to gather and cease to move through the body, they tend to end up in the joints. This is why the symptoms are so similar to acute inflammatory arthritis, because the accumulation of these crystals in the joints can make them inflamed, reduce the movement range, and cause intense pain.
Cases of gout have increased greatly in recent years, and much of that is suspected to be due to changes in diet and lifestyle in the modern world, as well as the preservatives, chemicals, and artificial sugars that are added to so many foods. Gout used to be called the “rich man’s disease” or the “disease of kings” because it is commonly associated with eating a very rich diet that was high in fat, sugar, meat, seafood, and alcohol.
Now, with a broad middle class across much of the world, those types of foods, combined with a sedentary lifestyle of the modern business world and societal infrastructure, gout is appearing much more frequently. Aside from lifestyle and diet, there are also genetic predispositions that can lead to gout, as well as various medical conditions that increase your chances of developing it, including hypertension, obesity, and insulin resistance/diabetes.
The condition may present itself in a number of ways, and if you begin to feel unusual joint pain, or hardened areas that feel like callouses or cysts on elbows, knees, or toe joints, you may be developing early stages of tophi or crystallized deposits. Also, slight malfunctions in kidney function, difficult or painful urination, unusual amounts of fatigue, or a high fever can be signs that gout is developing! There are a number of behavioral changes you can make to eliminate gout, and there are many home remedies. Let’s examine the behavioral changes first.
Behavioral Solutions for Gout
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Crash diets and frequent fluctuations in weight can lead to gout, so if you are trying to lose weight, do it in a healthy and responsible manner, so you don’t have the rebound weight gain that can slow down the metabolism, reduce detoxification in the body, and leave uric acid deposits in your joint fluid. Try diets that are high in protein and low in fat for optimal results.
Stay Hydrated: Drinking water is the best way to flush out the body and eliminate excess toxins. When the body isn’t hydrated properly, joint fluid is more likely to become clogged with uric acid and other toxins that normally would be cleaned out by enough fluid in the body. Also, being dehydrated makes you lethargic and sedentary, and it means that you aren’t stimulated to urinate. Urination empties the kidneys of toxins, which will otherwise stay in the kidneys or circulate the body again. Furthermore, urine contains approximately 4% fat, so it can help reduce weight as well, further boosting your resistance to gout.
Alcohol Consumption: If you are at high risk for gout, or you feel that you may already be developing the condition, avoid excess alcohol. Alcohol helps the body retain urate, which is what forms the crystals in tophi and kidney stones. Beer and liquor is specifically dangerous, while wine shows less of an effect on the retention of urate.
Wear Comfortable Shoes: Since gout so frequently attacks the feet and toes, specialists recommend that you wear comfortable shoes that don’t overly constrict blood flow or cause any sort of unnatural bending or twisting of the joints. By keeping blood flow normal, you can reduce the chances of uric acid becoming clogged up in your toe’s joints. Also, if you are already suffering from gout, tight or uncomfortable shoes can exacerbate the pain and cause the uric crystals to grind against nerves and other joints.
Joint Movement: If you have already developed gout, then there are a number of things you should do to keep the pain from becoming overwhelming while you attempt to cure the condition through natural home remedies or prescription medicine. First of all, make sure to elevate the joint, which will reduce the blood flow to the affected area and keep the pressure down. Put as little pressure on the affected joint as possible, and try not to move it. Using a split for your toe, elbow, or other affected joint can help to immobilize it.
Finally, avoid heat treatments, which will stimulate blood flow and make the condition worse in the long run, even though it may initially be soothing. Ice treatments can be used, but it should not be directly on the affected area. Wrap the ice in a towel, and avoid direct skin contact. Excess cold can cause the uric acid crystals to harden even further, making it difficult to break them apart and cure the condition, but the cold temperature does reduce inflammation and pain. That duality is why ice treatment is a controversial solution for gout.
Home Remedies for Gout
Baking Soda: If you choose not to use modern prescription medicine for the treatment of your condition, then alternatives with similar effects are recommended. Baking soda is one of those solutions, and it is shown to reduce the levels of uric acid in the body and promote its elimination through urination. The recommended dose is half a teaspoon in a glass of water; during particularly bad flare-ups of gout symptoms, you can repeat this up to four times a day, but do not consume more than that amount.
Lemon Juice: If you want to prevent or reduce the signs of gout in your body, then you need to keep body tissues strong, and the body must be properly alkalized. Lemon juice is an ideal neutralizer for uric acid that also acts as an antioxidant, boosting the strength of joints and tissues that makes them less susceptible to uric acid accumulation. You can mix the lemon juice with baking soda in water to increase the effects. All natural treatments can benefit from high levels of vitamin-C, but lemon juice in particular can boost your defense against inflammatory arthritis and gout.
Apples: Apples have a unique acid that is not found in many fruits called malic acid. It specifically neutralized uric acid and reduces its ability to bind and join with other crystals. Eating an apple every day, or drinking 2-3 glasses of apple juice each day can seriously reduce your chances of developing gout.
Cherries: Although the exact mechanism of its impact on gout is not clearly known, multiple studies have shown cherries to be a very valuable defense against recurrent gout attacks. Regular intake of cherries, even as few as 10 per day, can reduce gout flare-ups by 35%. If you don’t like to eat cherries, you can drink cherry juice instead, since cherry extract is actually the beneficial element for gout, and it is included in almost all cherry-derived products and foods.
Activated Charcoal: This may seem like an unusual solution for someone who has never taken a charcoal bath, but studies have shown that activated charcoal actually absorbs uric acid, making it harmless in the body. Taking a charcoal bath two or three times a week can greatly reduce the effects of ankle and toe-based gout because the activated charcoal will be absorbed into the skin and will begin to absorb uric acid directly in those locations. For other parts of the body, like elbows and knees, a charcoal paste is suggested that is made from a half cup of charcoal powder and water, which is stirred into a paste. That is the same paste you make before adding it to a tub of water and adding more water once the paste is made. You can also take charcoal supplements to put the charcoal directly into your body for similarly beneficial effects.
Bananas: It seems like fruit and natural vitamins and minerals are some of the best ways to reduce gout, and bananas are yet another strong defensive tool. The high levels of potassium in bananas have a unique effect on uric acid; it actually returns uric acid back to its liquid form after it has crystallized. This can break down the accumulations of uric acid crystals in the joints and bones, thereby eliminating the signs of gout and relieving your pain and discomfort.
Ginger: Ginger root is often praised for its anti-inflammatory properties, and ginger has a multitude of uses in the prevention and treatment of gout. You can consume small pieces of ginger every day, or mix the root in boiling water and drink it once a day. Also, you can create a ginger paste out of ginger root and a small amount of water and apply it directly to the affected areas of the body. However you end up using ginger root, just know that it will get the job done!
The Last Word on Gout: There is a good chance that cases of gout will continue to increase, unless a serious overhaul of global diet and lifestyle changes, so actively preventing the likelihood of developing it is very important. Eat healthy, stay active, and maintain healthy blood flow and fluid intake in your body. Gout can become quite serious, and even result in complications to other conditions that can result in death. It must be taken seriously, and these simple treatments outlines above will help to keep your joints safe, along with all of the other health benefits that they will provide!