Gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis, affecting women three times more than men, and our risk triples after age 45. It occurs when uric acid crystallizes in joints before it can be excreted. And as our kidneys age, their ability to flush out uric acid drops. Luckily, Boston University scientists say limiting “trigger foods” like red meat, beer and hard liquor cuts gout risk by up to 67 percent. And these smart gout treatments provide added protection.
Sip a sweet soother.
Drinking 6 oz. of unsweetened tart cherry juice (or snacking on 30 dried, fresh or frozen tart cherries) daily reduces your risk of gout flare-ups by 35 percent in two days. Plus, it eases symptoms in as little as 30 minutes if you’re achy right now. That’s the word from Yale University investigators, who say tart cherry compounds called anthocyanins help block uric acid formation and speed healing of sore, inflamed joints.
Peel a clementine.
A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests shoring up your stores of vitamin C (which helps flush uric acid) with two cups of foods like citrus, bell peppers and leafy greens (or supplementing with 500 mg. of vitamin C) daily cuts gout flare-ups by 69 percent.
Cue up a podcast.
Switch on a podcast or audiobook and take a stroll. Walking for 25 minutes daily reduces the risk of gout f lares by 38 percent, UCLA scientists say. Gentle motion flushes uric acid out of joints before it can crystallize. Tip: Listening to your podcast only when you’re exercising helps you work out 56 percent more often than you previously had.
Taking a diuretic?
This common Rx for high blood pressure tinkers with kidney function, doubling the risk of a gout flare-up, Boston University scientists say. Ask your doctor about switching to a calcium channel blocker or losartan.
Try a soda swap.
Fight gout flare-ups by reaching for the right soda? Yes! Canadian scientists say opting for sugar-free fizzy drinks (Zevia has a stevia-sweetened cola that tastes yum!) lessens the odds of a gout attack by 50 percent in 24 hours. Richard Johnson, M.D., author of The Sugar Fix, says sugary sodas are packed with a sweetener (HFCS) that quickly breaks down to form uric acid.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.