Cherry juice is generally considered to be a very effective treatment for gout, but a lot depends on how much juice a person consumes, what other foods they’re eating, and how serious their condition is to start with. Most experts agree that there is no true cure for gout, which is a type of inflammatory arthritis. Some of the chemical compounds in cherries can help decrease the symptoms and severity of attacks, though. Juice made from sour cherries is usually believed to be the most effective, but people should be careful to take note of added sugars since anything that contains a lot of sweeteners can often actually make gout symptoms worse
Why It Works
Naturopathic experts have prescribed cherry juice for gout for years, and it remains one of the more popular home remedies for the condition. A number of studies have been done to determine what, if any, correlation there is between the two, and most have concluded that the phytochemicals in cherries can dramatically decrease gout symptoms in many cases.
”Phytochemicals” are a wide range of plant-based chemical compounds, many of which are helpful for human health, too. Antioxidants, flavonoids, and isoflavones are all examples of phytochemicals that occur in most varieties of cherry, and when these are consumed in high concentrations they can impact cellular regeneration and inflammation. Gout happens when uric acid builds up and crystallizes around major joints. A regular presence of phytochemicals in the blood can keep this crystallization — and the inflammation, swelling, and pain that goes with it — to a minimum. Most cherry juice is made up of many more crushed fruit pieces than a person would regularly consume if eating the fruits raw, which makes juice a good vehicle for delivering the right amount of nutrients quickly.
How to Get the Most Benefits
Cherries come in many varieties, ranging from the sweet to the very tart. In most cases, the darker and tarter the cherry the better, since the chemicals responsible for gout reduction tend to be highest in these fruits. It’s also important for gout patients to pay attention to purity. Many manufacturers blend cherry with other juices, particularly apple and grape, both to soften the tartness and to reduce the overall cost. Extracting juice from cherries can be expensive, but in order for arthritis patients to see results they usually need to drink juice that is pure or at least nearly pure cherry.
Sugar content is another important consideration. Tart cherry juice is, as its name implies, often quite bitter, which leads some producers to add a lot of sugar, corn syrup, or other sweeteners. A number of studies have linked high sugar consumption with increased gout flare-ups, however, which can mean that, in some cases, cherry juice for gout might actually be a bad idea if the juice has been heavily sweetened. As a result, unsweetened or lightly sweetened options are usually the best. People who are concerned about added sugar can often replicate the results of cherry juice by taking cherry extract supplements or powders.
Understanding the Difference Between a Treatment and a Cure
Anyone contemplating using cherry juice for gout should be aware that, while it may help reduce symptoms, it is not itself a cure. Treating a problem is really different from solving it. Many medical professionals recommend cherry juice as a part of a more dynamic treatment plan for people suffering from gout flare-ups and pain, but it should not be viewed as a way of eliminating the problem.
Cherries are only one of many helpful substances gout patients can use to improve their quality of life. Avoiding foods that are acid-forming, including many artificial sweeteners, carbonated soft drinks, and vinegar, is one common tactic; adopting a diet that is low in protein and high in complex carbohydrates like whole grains is also usually recommended. In general, no more than 30 percent of a gout patient’s daily calories should come from fat, and no more than 10 percent of that fat intake should be from animal fats. Cherry juice can be a part of this gout-friendly diet, and it usually works best in patients who use it as just one of many tools.
Importance of Medical Care
Even when the juice is very effective, healthcare professionals don’t usually recommend that patients use it in place of other prescribed medications, or drink it as a means of avoiding regular medical care and diagnosis. Gout can be a very serious condition, and anyone who suffers from it should seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner before beginning any treatment, natural or not.