Cherries: A Gout Sufferer’s Favorite Fruit
I love cherries, it is one of my favorite fruits, I can have an entire bowl of them and I usually have to control my portions cause sometimes I can’t seem to stop and not because I have gout; but for my passionate desire and deep love of cherries! Thank God they are actually good for us gout sufferers! So what is so special about this fruit? Cherry nutritional facts and health benefits point to the fact that the cherry is very high in vitamins both C and A. All cherries contain Vitamin C and fiber. Studies show that consistent intake of Vitamin C may help reduce uric acid levels by up to 50 percent, and control inflammation of gout-ravaged joints, which is a primary cause of severe gout pain.
The cherry is also a very low calorie fruit, only 63 calories for 100g, pigment rich food that have powerful anti-oxidant properties and anti-inflammatory agents helping reduce heart disease risk. In addition, cherries may help the human body to fight against cancers, aging, jet lag and neurological diseases and may even calm down the nervous system which helps relieve neurosis, insomnia, headache conditions even depression. Furthermore, they don’t only help us gout sufferers but may also help people with fibromyalgia, a painful muscle condition and sports injuries.
What is The Correlation Between Cherries and Gout?
Now to the evidence that it helps us gout sufferers, the first study on cherries for gout appeared in medical literature in 1950 (Texas Reports on Biology and Medicine). A study published in 2003 in the Journal of Nutrition found that among 10 healthy women eating two servings of Bing cherries, uric acid fell by 15%. A Journal of Nutrition study from 2006 found that 18 healthy adults who ate 280 grams of Bing cherries each day for a month had a significant reduction in blood levels of substances associated with inflammation and immune cell activity.
A Journal Arthritis & Rheumatism study of 633 patients with confirmed gout and followed for 1 year, found that patients with gout who consumed cherries (1/2 cup serving or the equivalent of 10-12 cherries) or cherry based extract for 2 days were less likely of a subsequent gout attack by 35%. Those patients who ate more cherries, up to three servings in two days, had an even lower, 50 percent reduction in risk. Even more, the risk for gout attacks may have decreased by nearly 75% when cherry intake was combined with allopurinol use.
Health Benefits of Cherries for Gout
Aside from fighting gout symptoms, cherries are also good for many other things. Here are just some of them.
Cherries are high in antioxidants
As mentioned earlier, antioxidants play a big role in why cherry is so effective at treating gout. These same antioxidants are also able to help slow down the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals cause cell damage which later on make you more susceptible to cancer and diabetes. If you take an antioxidant such as cherries everyday, you help yourself to avoid these deadly diseases.
Cherries help you recover from a workout
Exercise is important for gout patients since it helps with mobility and improves their joints. Thankfully, there’s cherries that can help you recover from such strenuous activity. When you exercise, you might have some inflammation in your airways. By taking cherries, you can avoid this symptom and get better for another day of physical activity.
Cherries are also high in potassium, a mineral which helps with muscle recovery, heart rate, hydration, digestion, and blood pressure.
Cherries help improve your sleep
Did you know that stress can trigger a gout attack? This is one of the lesser known facts about gout. But now that you know, it’s essential that you take enough rest at night so you are able to handle the challenges of tomorrow.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as closing one’s eyes and counting sheep. Insomnia is a real thing and some people find it hard to fall asleep at night. Cherry juice might just help as it can increase the amount of melatonin in the body. The best part about it is that you don’t have to take any artificial sleep aids. Consuming cherry is natural and it will let your body produce what it needs for you to get some good night’s sleep.
Cherries can lessen osteoarthritis symptoms
If you suffer from another form of arthritis called osteoarthritis, cherries can also help. Like gout, cherries can help reduce the pain and inflammation you feel from having this condition. In one study, they found that patients who drank cherry juice for three weeks had reduced their pain symptoms and they also experienced less inflammation.
How Does a Gout Sufferer Consume Cherries?
Eating cherries in their many forms and varieties, like canned, frozen, raw, cooked, tart, pill, sweet and black are thought of been beneficial to help control gout. Consuming dried cherries, fresh or juiced are all good. Eating about 25 cherries are ten times stronger than aspirin and other ordinary pain-relievers it is claimed. But if you get a gout attack or flare up, how many cherries should you eat? Some suggest that 30 to 40 every 4 hours is advisable during a gout attack and the same amount daily for prevention reasons; or simply eat minimum a cup of fresh or dried cherries after each meal, which may be very effective for the pain treatment.
About 20 cherries equal 25 milligrams of anthocyanins, the daily dose that should be taken, either in juice or eating the fruit for preventative measures. You may even drink a cup of cherry juice, black cherry juice or tart cherry juice twice a day or 2 tablespoons of concentrated cherry powder with one cup of water.
You can easily find cherry juice in your local health food store or online. You’ll want one that is unsweetened without the additives. Of course, this is easier said than done. Most fruit juice products are very high in sugar and it might actually make your gout symptoms worse. These products often come labeled as “from concentrate” or “not from concentrate”. You’ll want to pick one that is from concentrate with no added sugar. What manufacturers do is pulp the cherries and remove the water. The water is then frozen for transportation. They then put the water back in before it’s displayed on shelves.
You have the option of making your own cherry juice at home. Just follow these steps:
- First, remove the stems of your cherries before washing them
- Throw in a cup of cherries in a food processor and add a quarter cup of water. You can do more if you want, just follow the same ratio of 1 cup of cherries to a quarter cup of water.
- Blend until the cherries are separated from the pits.
- To store, just pour into a jar. Consume the juice within five days.
It might seem strange that cherries would help control your gout, as this condition is often associated with sugar, fructose and fruit juice consumption. But you may only need to eat a small amount of cherries to get the benefit, meaning the sugar contribution is small. 10 sweet cherries or 1 cup of sour cherries contain about 4 grams of fructose, 25 cherries would put you at 10 grams of fructose.
Berries, apples, pineapple, oranges, bananas and grapes have way more sugar per 100g than cherries. You would need to eat more than 60 cherries to put you over the limit where the fructose of the cherry might start affecting you negatively and may produce higher uric acid levels. I think eating 12 to 25 cherries daily is ideal. Limiting fructose/sugar in your diet is one of the most important parts of managing and preventing gout attacks.
If you have gout, it’s imperative to restrict your fructose/sugar intake to below 25 grams a day, including from fruit, as fructose/sugar may drive up uric acid levels in your body. Remember treatments vary according to different people; you should adjust the dose accordingly. For example, regular cherry concentrate is very sweet and thick. One tablespoon equals to about 45 to 60 cherries.
On a side note, whenever looking for cherry-based products it would be better if made of tart cherries, because they are the ones more effective among all other cherries to fight arthritis, working better in the prevention and treatment of this painful condition, by reducing the levels of uric acid and breaking up the crystals that are responsible for the joint pain. Generally, tart cherries have been found to have higher concentrations of phenolics and anthocyanins than sweet cherries. Tart cherries are also slightly lower in sugar.
There you have it folks, make sure to add the cherry in your daily diet in whatever form and/or method you prefer, it is a must for the gout sufferer. Until next time!
What has your experience been like taking cherries for gout? Did it help? Did it not? In what form did you take it? Share your stories in the comments below.