Jan 26, 2013

Cherries An Effective Treatment for Gout?

Gout is a common type of arthritis (inflammation of the joint), caused due to increased concentration of uric acid in the blood.

Uric acid is released by the breakdown of purines. In gout, the uric acid gets deposited in the joints, tendons, kidneys and other tissues, where it causes inflammation and consequent damage.

How Do Cherries Treat Gout?

Cherries are of particular use in the effective and prompt management of gout.

People suffering from gout have abnormally high levels of uric acid in the blood. Under certain specific circumstances, the body either produces too much of uric acid or excretes too little. Consequently, the serum levels of uric acid shoot up. As the uric acid concentration increases, uric acid crystals are formed. These crystals accumulate in the joints and cause pain and swelling.

Cherries are loaded with anthocyanidins. Anthocyanidins are flavanoids that exert strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity. These anthocyanidins inhibit the activity of the enzyme xanthine oxidase that is involved in the production of uric acid.

Clinical trials and laboratory assessments reveal that consuming about 250 grams of cherries per day helps lower the blood uric acid level appreciably and prevents attacks of gout.

Also, the anthocyanidins block the COX 1 and the COX 2 enzymes, and thus act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents, which in turn reduces inflammation, swelling, pain and discomfort associated with the disorder.

Including Cherries in the Daily Diet of a Gout Patient

While selecting cherries, look for those which are cool and moist. The skin should be bright and glossy. The fruit should be firm, but not hard. Avoid those which are soft and squishy, and have cuts and bruises. Brown discoloration is an indication for decay.

Here are some wonderful and delectable ideas to add the fruit to the daily diet to get a minimum of 250 grams of cherries per day:
  • Instead of strawberry shortcake, opt for cherry shortcake. Halve a low fat food cake and layer it with diced sweet cherries and a dollop of vanilla yogurt. It makes a yummy, yet wholesome dessert.
  • Top yogurt with sliced cherries, or blend cherries in a food processor and mix with yogurt to get a delicious and nutritious smoothie.
  • Cherry soup is an excellent way of getting the daily dose of the fruit. Sweet or sour cherries can be used for the soup. Cook the cherries in water. Simmer until they are soft. Then puree them. Add honey as per taste and chill. Serve cold.
In addition to the cherry diet, ensure that the intake of purine rich foods – herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, organ meat, yeast, legumes, mushroom, peas, shellfish and spinach is low. A low-purine, low-fat, low-protein and high-fluid diet promises complete freedom from gout.


Curr Opin Rheumatol, "Gout: Can Management be Improved?", Schlesinger, N., and H. R. Schumacher, Jr., 2001.
Tex Rep Biol Med, "Cherry Diet Control for Gout and Arthritis," Blau, l. W., 1950.


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