Berries and gout: Discover what makes berries such an effective natural gout remedy, including my top 7 berries for relieving the painful symptoms of gout.
Berries and Gout
Berries are highly beneficial for overall health due to their being extremely rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are also some of the lowest calorie fruits around.
But, apart from being excellent for overall health, they’re also very effective as a natural gout remedy, and well worth adding to a well-balanced gout diet.
Here you’ll discover why berries are such an awesome home remedy for gout and the top 7 most effective ones for lowering uric acid and relieving painful inflammation during an attack.
According to Wikipedia…
“Berries have been valuable as a food source for humans since before the start of agriculture and remain among the primary food sources of other primates. They were a seasonal staple for early hunter-gatherers for thousands of years, and wild berry gathering remains a popular activity in Europe and North America today. In time, humans learned to store berries so that they could be used in the winter, and they may be made into fruit preserves, and among Native Americans, mixed with meat and fats as pemmican.
Berries also began to be cultivated in Europe and other countries. Some species of blackberries and raspberries of the genus Rubus have been cultivated since the 17th century, while smooth-skinned blueberries and cranberries of the genus Vaccinium have been cultivated in the United States for over a century. In Japan, between the 10th and 18th centuries, the term “ichibigo” (which later became “ichigo“) referred to many berry crops. The most widely cultivated berry of modern times, however, is the strawberry, which is produced globally at twice the amount of all other berry crops combined.” Source: Wikipedia
Benefits of Berries for Gout
So what is it about berries that make them such an effective natural gout remedy? Three things in particular: anthocyanins, quercetin and vitamin c…
Anthocyanins are plant pigments that help to give plant foods their red, purple, and blue colors. The darker the hue the higher the concentration of anthocyanins.
But the key thing about anthocyanins as far as gout is concerned is that they are powerful antioxidants…
Antioxidants are organic compounds found in plant foods that help to prevent damage to the body’s cells by harmful molecules called ‘free radicals.’ Such cell damage can trigger an inflammatory response that may become chronic, which experts believe to be the basis of many diseases and conditions, including cancers.
However, antioxidants are able to scavenge for and neutralize free radicals. They also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties due to their ability to inhibit inflammatory mediators. This is important for gout where a flare-up is caused by the body’s inflammatory response to the presence of monosodium urate crystals in the joints and surrounding tissue.
And one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants is the flavonoid ‘anthocyanin’ which is found in very high concentrations in berries and which gives them their rich, dark red, purple, and blue colors.
Chokeberries are particularly rich in anthocyanins, along with black raspberries and blueberries. Red raspberries, acai berries, and dark cherries are also very good sources — although cherries aren’t, strictly speaking, berries.
Other good sources are mulberries, elderberries, bilberries, blackberries, black and red currants.
Quercetin is another powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties found in plant foods. Studies have shown that quercetin can also inhibit the production of uric acid.
Elderberries, cranberries, chokeberries, blueberries, bilberries, blackberries, and dark cherries contain substantial concentrations of quercetin.
In addition, it’s an important element in the healing process for tissue damaged by crystals during a gout flare. In fact, vitamin c — ascorbic acid — is a powerful antioxidant in its own right.
Strawberries, raspberries, acerola cherries, black currants, and blackberries, are packed with vitamin c. Blueberries, cranberries, and sweet cherries are also very good sources of vitamin c.
How to Take Berries
At least one cup of fresh, ripe, organic berries should be consumed daily. As berries are seasonal you can also freeze them ready to be consumed out of season. You can add them to smoothies, yogurt, and cereal. Natural berry juice without any additives is OK too.
The ripest berries with the richest, darkest colors have the highest concentrations of antioxidants. So try to stick to them.
And of course those berries, like chokeberries, that are hard to eat raw because of their bitterness can be drunk as a natural juice, but without added sugar.
Note: Be very careful with elderberries: these shout NOT be eaten raw since their seeds contain cyanide. Drink elder berry juice instead.
My Top 7 Berries for Natural Gout Relief
My top 7 berries for gout in terms of their anthocyanins, quercetin and vitamin c content, along with their ease of availability are:
- black / red currants
Stick to these and you can’t go wrong.
Of these, cherries are probably the most studied in terms of their suitability as a gout home remedy. Several studies have shown that they can both relieve inflammation and reduce blood uric acid levels. So not only are they great during a gout flare-up they are also effective in helping to prevent future attacks by first lowering, then maintaining, healthy uric acid levels.
Note: Although cranberries are high in quercetin and vitamin c, on balance, I’d advise against taking these if you have gout. Cranberries appear, in studies, to lower urine pH (making it more acidic) which is bad for gout since it can result in less uric acid being excreted, resulting in higher uric acid levels in the blood.
So there you have it; a daily serving of fresh berries isn’t only very beneficial for overall health, they also make for a very effective natural home remedy for gout.