(Natural News) Uric acid is a chemical that your body produces when it metabolizes a naturally occurring substance called purine. Purines can be obtained from your diet and are also produced by your body. Uric acid dissolves in the blood, travels to the kidneys, and is excreted in urine. If your body produces large amounts of uric acid or does not eliminate enough of it, you can develop a condition called hyperuricemia. This condition causes gout.
Gout is a type of arthritis wherein excess uric acid forms crystals in the joints, often in the feet and big toes. This condition causes severe and painful swelling. Many factors can contribute to increased levels of uric acid in the body, and a diet consisting of purine-rich foods is one of the major ones.
Other factors that can elevate the level of uric acid in your blood include:
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
- Renal (kidney) insufficiency
- Tumor lysis syndrome (a rapid release of cells into the blood caused by certain cancers, chemotherapy or radiation therapy)
Here are some natural ways to reduce uric acid levels in your body and prevent gout flare-ups.
Take it easy on the alcohol, sugary foods and drinks and taking meds
Some foods that are high in purine are healthful, so the goal should be limiting your intake of these foods, not eliminating them from your diet altogether. Examples of foods that are high in purines include liver and other organ meats, game meat (venison), anchovies, sardines, tuna, mussels, dried beans and peas, mushrooms, red meat, dairy products and sugary foods.
Avoid heavy consumption of beer and sugary drinks (sodas, sweetened juices) as these beverages have been associated with an increased risk of gout. They also add extra calories to your diet, which can cause weight gain and metabolic issues.
Eating more low-purine foods can help keep uric acid levels in check and prevent gout flare-ups. These foods include low-fat and fat-free dairy products, peanut butter and most nuts, most fruits and vegetables, whole grain rice, bread, potatoes and coffee. (Related: Scientists study soy vinegar as an alternative treatment for uric acid buildup.)
Avoid certain medications that can raise uric acid levels and cause gout flare-ups. These include diuretic drugs (water retention relievers), immune-suppressing drugs and low-dose aspirin.
Maintain a healthy weight and take your vitamins
Obesity increases the risk of gout, so maintaining a healthy weight can prevent flare-ups and keep uric acid levels in check. Take note that rapid weight loss, especially due to fasting, can also elevate uric acid levels. So it’s important to maintain a healthy weight by making long-term sustainable changes to your lifestyle, such as exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet rich in nutritious foods.
Another way to counter hyperuricemia and prevent gout attacks is by taking vitamin C supplements.
Coffee and cherries against gout
When talking about natural ways to reduce the risk of gout, coffee often comes up. Research has shown that coffee consumption is linked to a reduced risk of gout.
Women who consume one to three cups of coffee every day have a 22 percent reduced risk of gout compared with non-drinkers. Meanwhile, women who drink more than four cups of coffee per day have a 57 percent reduced risk.
Another food associated with preventing gout attacks are cherries. One study involving gout patients found that eating cherries for two days lowered the patients’ risk of a gout flare-up by 35 percent. This held true even after other risk factors were considered, such as age, sex, alcohol consumption and use of diuretics or anti-gout medication.
Interested in other natural remedies for gout flare-ups and high uric acid? Visit Remedies.news for more stories and studies.